Plesk rblsmtpd and smtp authentication

On Debian with Plesk-8.2 installed, /etc/inetd.conf show up with:

smtp stream tcp nowait.1000 root /var/qmail/bin/tcp-env tcp-env  /usr/sbin/rblsmtpd  -r -r /var/qmail/bin/relaylock /var/qmail/bin/qmail-smtpd /var/qmail/bin/smtp_auth /var/qmail/bin/true /var/qmail/bin/cmd5checkpw /var/qmail/bin/true

Essentially, when the SMTP connection is made, rblsmtpd is handed the connection and does its DNSBL checking. It’s then responsible for either executing the next program (relaylock) if there’s no match, or handles the connection itself if it does find a match. Thus smtp authentication never takes place if your IP is listed in PBL.

On checking Parallels Forum, I came across this post, which suggested:

If you use an dnsrbl in Plesk that lists the IP of someone trying to connect to your server to send email then they will not be able to use your server for smtp on port 25. The dnsrbl will block their attempts. This is normal and expected behaviour in Plesk.

The instructions you read about using authenticated smtp to get around the problem do not apply to the default installation of Plesk (and other similar setups). The idea of the instructions you read is that by using authenticated smtp you will bypass the dnsrbl, and therefore will not be blocked. This does not happen with the default installation of Plesk so the instructions won't work (they are rather simplistic).

The solution in Plesk 8.4 is a simple one. Enable the "submission" option in Plesk, ask your customers to change to port 587 from port 25 in their email clients and require them to use smtp authentication (remember to open up your firewall for port 587 too). This basically creates a second smtp instance listening on port 587 instead of port 25, does not have any dnsrbl blocking and REQUIRES users to use smtp authentication in order to be able to use it. No spam will come via that port because a) server to server email transfer happens on port 25 and b) it requires authentication.

(A similar solution will work in earlier versions of Plesk but rather than ticking a box in the control panel to get it to happen you have to copy a single file and edit two lines in it, but it works just as well and basically does the same thing)

The other option you can go for is to install spamdyke (search the forum for step by step instructions) which does bypass all dnsrbls when smtp authentication takes place. Note that when you use spamdyke you will not be able to use pop-before-relay authentication, and that you set up dnsrbls within spamdyke's configuration files, not via Plesk. spamdyke does add a whole plethora of additional anti-spam measures, however, and it is well worth installing if you don't need pop-before-relay.

Since version of Plesk is older, I put in the below lines in /etc/inetd.conf and restarted inetd.

# Submission port 587 without dnsblcheck
submission stream tcp nowait.1000 root /var/qmail/bin/tcp-env tcp-env  /var/qmail/bin/relaylock /var/qmail/bin/qmail-smtpd /var/qmail/bin/smtp_auth /var/qmail/bin/true /var/qmail/bin/cmd5checkpw /var/qmail/bin/true

Now on using the port 587 instead of port 25, users are able to autheticate and send email via the SMTP/Submission server.

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