This is a very serious issue that shop owners have little or no knowledge or concern for. Imagine that many/all of your shoppers are not receiving that new customer coupon, receipts and shipment communications…. Scary huh?

Email Deliver-Ability


Scary or not, it is very true and many of you are affected already and don’t even realize it. You see, your Zen Cart sends mail from the software. In many cases software generated email is less deliverable to begin with… add some bad hosting and Zen Cart configurations… and boom, very low deliver-ability.

There are several tools to check your email protocol and server/DNS setup, and we will get to those in a minute. But, for now, lets run a simple test that will identify one of the hardest mail networks to deliver software generated email to…

Go to Yahoo and create a brand new email account using a non-domain based email as the backup email address. Next go to your Zen Cart and create and account and order something using the new Yahoo email address. Now check your new mailbox to see if the account creation and confirmation emails were delivered. Most of you will find Yahoo sent these directly to spam.

Why would they do that?

Some time ago, Yahoo, who is owned my SBC (ATT) decided that they would do a “better job” of filtering email spam. In doing so they went over the edge and in a few days time blocked about have of the email addresses on the planet. In order to be unblocked from Yahoo, SBC, ATT and a few other small ones, you have to provide answers and requests on a laborious form. The level of questions on this form made it so hosting company would likely have to complete it for you.

Having screwed up so severely, they were then unable to keep up with the “unblocking” requests and mandated that every IP could only submit so many requests in a certain time frame. Crazy huh?

Our hosting company did an awesome job of creating proxy IPs to get the submissions done for ourselves and hundreds of hosted clients…. But did you get unblocked and un-spammed?

Email tools provide some insight as to the DNS and server configuration for your domain based email accounts. These tools provide information regarding blocked/banned/blacklisted hosts and IP addresses…. as well as some metrics necessary in this day and age to ensure your emails are delivered.

Reverse DNS lookup

This method of blocking spam is very server intensive. The receiving email server performs a reverse DNS lookup on the IP address of the incoming mail connection and checks if there is a valid domain name associated to it. While this is not used for most ISPs as a wholly determining factor, AOL and their subsidiaries will refuse your emails without it. Check your rDNS here.

SPF Record

SPF Record or Sender Policy Framework is a method for preventing sender address forgery. Have you gotten those emails appearing to be from someone else, besides who they are really from? Spoofed. Your server’s SPF record can help to prevent this…

An example…

  1. Suppose a spammer forges and tries to email spam you, the sender connects from somewhere other than
  2. When the email is sent, you see MAIL FROM: <>, but you do not have to take his word for it. You can ask if the IP addre