Email Aliases vs. Email Accounts

What is an email alias

All elected local group and regional officers, or at least all the ones MAG knows about, have been set up with an email alias of the form:

"Local Group Name"-"position"@mag-uk.org

eg. lower-bogsworthy-web@mag-uk.org

This alias is not an email account. It cannot work as it should if the member does not have their own private email account. The way it works is that the sender ships their mail and it goes straight to the MAG server, as dictated by the @mag-uk.org domain part. When it gets to the server, it is immediately repackaged and shipped out again to the alias holder's own private email address.

What is an email account

A number of members also have full MAG server secure email accounts. These are quite different. In order to fetch their mail, the user connects their mail reader program (typically Mozilla Thunderbird) to the MAG server and reads their mail direct from the server, via an encrypted link. Although members with MAG email accounts do typically have their own private email addresses, they don't need one to be able to read their MAG email account. In this case, the sender ships their email and, again, it goes straight to the MAG server as dictated by the @mag-uk.org domain part. However, this time the mail is directed to their MAG inbox, and goes no further.

How do I send mail as xxxxxx@mag-uk.org

The question asked by a great many people who have been given email aliases is "How do I send mails as coming from this address?". The answer is quite straightforward, you can't send mails as coming from any @mag-uk.org address unless you do so from a MAG email account. You will need to get one set up for you on the MAG server and you will need to set up a suitable email program with the settings given elsewhere on this site.

Why can't I just send mails from my private account as xxxxx@mag-uk.org

One of the spamming communities favourite tricks is to send their rubbish from addresses that do not lead back to them. More often than not these days, those "spoofed" addresses are real. They lead back to genuine mail users, totally unconnected with their organisation, or even the organisation their spam is "advertising". This means that not only do their own mail servers not have to bother about bounces and angry recipients hitting reply, but any bounces get a second bite at find their way to a genuine inbox. This trick is called "Address Spoofing". Under recent UK legislation it is actually a criminal offence. Sadly sending spam was legitimised under this same legislation, so we didn't get as much out of it as we hoped. Suffice to say that MAG, along with any other domain holder, has a big problem with spammers spoofing our domain. We currently have but one defence against it. Those of a techincal bent will know about SPF (http://www.openspf.org/) which is a way of declaring to the internet just exactly which servers are allowed to send mails for that domain. More and more these days big mail server shops are using SPF to filter out spoofed spams. MAG has published an SPF record that gives the MAG server as the only server allowed to ship xxx@mag-uk.org emails.

The short form is that if you ship a mail ending @mag-uk.org but don't use the MAG server to do so, you are not only breaking the law, but more increasingly, your mail will be blacklisted as being an illegally spoofed spam. Which is the exact opposite of what you intended.