27.5. Troubleshooting

27.5.1. Why do I have to use the FQDN for hosts on my site?
27.5.2. How can I run a mail server on a dial-up PPP host?


Why do I have to use the FQDN for hosts on my site?

The host may actually be in a different domain. For example, in order for a host in foo.bar.edu to reach a host called mumble in the bar.edu domain, refer to it by the Fully-Qualified Domain Name FQDN, mumble.bar.edu, instead of just mumble.

This is because the version of BIND which ships with FreeBSD no longer provides default abbreviations for non-FQDNs other than the local domain. An unqualified host such as mumble must either be found as mumble.foo.bar.edu, or it will be searched for in the root domain.

In older versions of BIND, the search continued across mumble.bar.edu, and mumble.edu. RFC 1535 details why this is considered bad practice or even a security hole.

As a good workaround, place the line:

search foo.bar.edu bar.edu

instead of the previous:

domain foo.bar.edu

into /etc/resolv.conf. However, make sure that the search order does not go beyond the boundary between local and public administration, as RFC 1535 calls it.


How can I run a mail server on a dial-up PPP host?

Connect to a FreeBSD mail gateway on the LAN. The PPP connection is non-dedicated.

One way to do this is to get a full-time Internet server to provide secondary MX services for the domain. In this example, the domain is example.com and the ISP has configured example.net to provide secondary MX services to the domain:

example.com.          MX        10      example.com.
                      MX        20      example.net.

Only one host should be specified as the final recipient. For Sendmail, add Cw example.com in /etc/mail/sendmail.cf on example.com.

When the sending MTA attempts to deliver mail, it will try to connect to the system, example.com, over the PPP link. This will time out if the destination is offline. The MTA will automatically deliver it to the secondary MX site at the Internet Service Provider (ISP), example.net. The secondary MX site will periodically try to connect to the primary MX host, example.com.

Use something like this as a login script:

# Put me in /usr/local/bin/pppmyisp
( sleep 60 ; /usr/sbin/sendmail -q ) &
/usr/sbin/ppp -direct pppmyisp

When creating a separate login script for users, instead use sendmail -qRexample.com in the script above. This will force all mail in the queue for example.com to be processed immediately.

A further refinement of the situation can be seen from this example from the FreeBSD Internet service provider's mailing list:

> we provide the secondary MX for a customer. The customer connects to
> our services several times a day automatically to get the mails to
> his primary MX (We do not call his site when a mail for his domains
> arrived). Our sendmail sends the mailqueue every 30 minutes. At the
> moment he has to stay 30 minutes online to be sure that all mail is
> gone to the primary MX.
> Is there a command that would initiate sendmail to send all the mails
> now? The user has not root-privileges on our machine of course.

In the privacy flags section of sendmail.cf, there is a
definition Opgoaway,restrictqrun

Remove restrictqrun to allow non-root users to start the queue processing.
You might also like to rearrange the MXs. We are the 1st MX for our
customers like this, and we have defined:

# If we are the best MX for a host, try directly instead of generating
# local config error.

That way a remote site will deliver straight to you, without trying
the customer connection.  You then send to your customer.  Only works for
hosts, so you need to get your customer to name their mail
machine customer.com as well as
hostname.customer.com in the DNS.  Just put an A record in
the DNS for customer.com.

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