Mail servers down, Yahoo denies all
April 25, 2002 12:11 PM   Subscribe

Mail servers down, Yahoo denies all All my buddies have bouncing Yahoo mail and no one knows what's going on. This, unfortunately for Yahoo, coincides with the launching of their pay for mail service. Does anyone have a scoop on this?
posted by djacobs (48 comments total)
scroll down a page or so to get the full scoop...
posted by djacobs at 12:17 PM on April 25, 2002

Even worse, Yahoo has been sending out bounce messages saying not that they're having problems and please try again later, or that mailboxes are full. Instead they're sending these bounces:

Sorry, your message to cannot be delivered. This account has been disabled or discontinued.

So mailing lists are just throwing off Yahoo users like old garbage, and personal acquaintances are thinking you just deleted your account and disappeared into the night.

And most Yahoo Mail users aren't even aware they've been cut off, unless they get really large amounts of incoming mail and noticed that it had suddenly stopped coming.

Best of all, this is the same week that they're switching to their outrageous $30/yr charge for the "privilege" of occasionally using a .forward file or using a POP3 email program instead of their deadly-slow web interface.

posted by aaron at 12:23 PM on April 25, 2002

lycos mail went down for a few hours this afternoon, too. at first it kept telling me my password was wrong, then it just gave me an "unrecoverable error" message. i came back an hour later and a notice saying the site would be down for maintenance from 10 am until midnight PST today was posted; then 20 minutes later everything was back to normal.

lycos' service has been spotty as hell lately, but this was the strangest i've seen yet.

but you were talking about yahoo. sorry.
posted by damn yankee at 12:29 PM on April 25, 2002

Right now, mail to my yahoo account makes it in fine. However people are telling me that they got the bounce message YESTERDAY (the 24th) when mailing me. Hmm. Will continue to test.
posted by luriete at 12:35 PM on April 25, 2002

If you want reliable service, you will have to pay for it. Very little is free anymore. I've been paying for my Internet services for some time now, and am happy forking over the money if the service stays up.

I use Yahoo Mail for some very specific things but I refuse to rely on it for mission-critical email, since I know that it is a "free service".
posted by camworld at 12:36 PM on April 25, 2002

But, as the administrator of a high-volume mailing list, I have been inundated with bounced messages from Yahoo for the past few days. It sucks, but there's not much we can do about it except to start paying for services.
posted by camworld at 12:37 PM on April 25, 2002

Does anyone have recommendations for a web-based mail account - useful when traveling etc.? I'd prefer free but I dont mind paying money. I just dont want to give that money to Yahoo.
posted by vacapinta at 12:37 PM on April 25, 2002

It's not the being down part that bothers me; things go wrong, I undstand that (in fact, the worse email outage I ever had was through a $30/mo ISP). It's the lying and covering up part that's the problem.
posted by aaron at 12:38 PM on April 25, 2002

camworld: If you want reliable service, you will have to pay for it. Very little is free anymore. I've been paying for my Internet services for some time now, and am happy forking over the money if the service stays up.

Uh, but I do pay for yahoo mail. As I noted yesterday -although my outage only lasted a few hours - this problem has been underway for some users since yesterday.
posted by Sinner at 12:40 PM on April 25, 2002

I've found that eudoramail (which is Lycos) is acceptable. However it really isn't useful for "mission critical" as stated above, even the best of free web services will be spotty, slow, etc. Check your isp, a lot of providers actually offer a web only access, sometimes they just don't advertise it so well.
posted by jeremias at 12:42 PM on April 25, 2002

If you're looking for a temporary/traveling mail solution, I'd so go for a tiny provider, I like evil email, just so I can send email from my or address.
posted by malphigian at 12:44 PM on April 25, 2002

The problem here remains that yahoo is no longer a free service, so far as I'm concerned. That excuse doesn't suffice any more.
posted by Sinner at 12:45 PM on April 25, 2002

What I really wish is that I could get a Unix shell account from an ISP again like in the Good Old Days and just use PINE. No waiting for entire web pages to redraw just to read a two-line text message, no waiting for rendering of 75k HTML emails ... you could zip through 100 emails in five minutes with PINE. (Yes, I know there are some free public-access Unix shell telnet services out there, but like camworld said, you get what you pay for. I want something that stays up.)

Actually, what I REALLY want is for my mega-assed cable company is to give me a static IP and let me run a mail server off my own machine, and eliminate the middleman entirely. But God forbid the consumer ever be allowed to control his own email.
posted by aaron at 12:50 PM on April 25, 2002

I don't think God forbids it, Aaron, but the free market might.
posted by sudama at 12:53 PM on April 25, 2002

Incidentally, Apple just unveiled webmail, with a very nice interface and a good feature set. I love my IMAP account, and this web access is the icing on the cake.
posted by sudama at 12:57 PM on April 25, 2002

Here's what my friend said about it:
"Yahoo experienced a denial of service attack yesterday
-- that's why all of our e-mails were bouncing. From
what I can tell today, everything's back to normal.

I read about it yesterday on but I can't
find the link for the life of me."

...I couldn't find the link either. Anyone care to cry cover-up?
posted by bradlauster at 12:59 PM on April 25, 2002

I don't think God forbids it, Aaron, but the free market might.

When there's only one cable company in town, there's no free market.

I could switch to DSL, but that's twice the price for half the speed.
posted by aaron at 1:00 PM on April 25, 2002

Anyone use services like That might be an answer, Aaron. I have some students who use it to run a web server on a dynamic IP setup (using as a domain) and it works fine as far as I can tell.
posted by rodii at 1:01 PM on April 25, 2002

Aaron, Illuminati Online offers a unix shell account for about $10 a month.
posted by jammer at 1:08 PM on April 25, 2002

Rodii, I'm not sure how that works, but I'll ask you off-MF.
posted by aaron at 1:09 PM on April 25, 2002

aaron, why don't you just get a shell account at so you can PINE again, like the rest of us. ;-)

though I must say, internet caf├ęs aint what they used to be, telnet access, what are you a weirdo, "we dont have telnet". Right. Bring your laptop.
posted by dabitch at 1:09 PM on April 25, 2002

Wow, IO still exists? Cool. Thanks Jammer, I'll give it a look-see.
posted by aaron at 1:12 PM on April 25, 2002

Man, all these suggestions! More multiple thanks!
posted by aaron at 1:13 PM on April 25, 2002

There's also, which is not only the world's first ISP (in the sense that they were the first to sell 'Net access to non-high-tech/college types), they have something like 1,500 dial-up numbers across the U.S. And they have shell access as part of their $19.89 (guess when they started?) monthly fee.
posted by agaffin at 1:19 PM on April 25, 2002

I had an account on the world, ten years ago. They were great; they were the first to offer majordomo mailing lists t the public as well, which I also took advantage of. I used to telnet in from NYC because I was using NYU's systems for net access, and they were ... suboptimal at the time. Once NYC starting getting its own ISPs and double-billed me one month for something I didn't do, I dropped them. But it's nice to know they're still around. (I even remember you from there, agaffin.)
posted by aaron at 1:30 PM on April 25, 2002

Drizzle is a small company here in Seattle with $5/mo. POP/telnet email accounts. They also host sites, have an online salon and other stuff like that. My boyfriend has used Drizzle as his ISP for both work and home for years and they're not only affordable, they're extremely reliable and quick to fix problems. Oh, and did I mention really nice?
posted by gutenberg at 1:31 PM on April 25, 2002

Oooh, $5/mo! THAT my little unemployed heart likes muchly.
posted by aaron at 1:35 PM on April 25, 2002

a while ago someone mentioned and i think it's excellent. i think it's $30 a year.
posted by dobbs at 1:45 PM on April 25, 2002

You want cheap and reliable shell? in Toronto offers shell and 50Mb of online storage for $12 a month or $120 a year -- that's in *Canadian dollars*, sweeties. Scroll down their services page for details. That price includes web hosting and an array of nifty tools.

(Ooh, and Drizzle is really nice, eh? Hah! Vex proudly calls itself "The Unfriendly ISP" but they're just putting up a blustery front. The few times I've had to contact them about service problems they were prompt, polite and very helpful).
posted by maudlin at 1:47 PM on April 25, 2002

Re:, does anyone use them to host a webserver or a mail server via cable modem? I'd love to host my own mail server but don't want to be shut down by The Man.
posted by Tacodog at 1:52 PM on April 25, 2002

I;ve been using for about 3 months now... they have not had any downtime problmes, and allow you to access via POP, IMAP, or Web access, which I find very useful :-)

posted by niteHawk at 1:54 PM on April 25, 2002

I used to run a mail server using Instead of having the server open I had my firewall block all access except for connections from a machine I had my mail forwarded from. Using dyndns works like a charm. The only problem is your cable company deciding to block ports.
posted by @homer at 2:20 PM on April 25, 2002

My web host gives my unlimited POP accounts that I can access with the web or whatever POP friendly reader is handy.

I know ISPs are still stingy on the email addresses, but it seems if you have a separate web host, it's easy to give all your friends email accounts (which I have done) that are separate.

C'mon Matt, now! (I don't even wanna know what that would lead to.....) {shudder}
posted by Salmonberry at 2:26 PM on April 25, 2002

Hosting your own servers (mail or web) on most cable providers is a violation of your user agreement, just so you know -- so even if you do use a dynamic DNS service to make it possible, they might shut you down if they start analyzing traffic.

The very reason I went with DSL, yes, my 1500/384 isn't quite cable speed downstream, but my isp is happy have me hosting my own mail server (they even spool on a backup server for me), web servers, and whatever else.

I only bring this up because it looks to me like cable providers, Time Warner at least, really hate some fundemental principals of the internet (a network of peers, clients and servers, etc).
posted by malphigian at 3:26 PM on April 25, 2002

For web-based email, I swear by Seven bucks a month, and I get not only email, but a toll-free direct phone no. (through which I can access messages via the web or by calling the no. and entering an access code), the ability to fax or receive faxed documents, and one of the easiest file-storage interfaces I've ever used.

I've been using Ureach since its free days, but I happily ponied up the dough when they went pay a year ago.
posted by suemoss at 3:41 PM on April 25, 2002

In other news, the assholes at have ruined the for everyone by posting it on their frontpage. It has ads now. boo hoo. sniff.
posted by dr_emory at 4:55 PM on April 25, 2002

What I really wish is that I could get a Unix shell account from an ISP again like in the Good Old Days and just use PINE.

I have an ISP that does all that and more. pretty inexpensive, technerds, and no 24 hour support but they have never lost a piece of my data or email and I've been with them for six years. they do hosting too. there are no refunds so you pretty much need to be sure they're who you want, but I've been happy with them.

Speakeasy are also quality people, but I've known them to lose data with no backups [back in the hippie days, I hope] and, as a former employee, I'm just not as happy with their customer service.
posted by jessamyn at 5:01 PM on April 25, 2002

Surprisingly, hotmail's webAPI thingy is still free... Sure, you're limited to using MS products if you go this route

I've been using pop3hot for about 6 months now. It runs in your system tray and lets you get your hotmail from any email client.
posted by gd779 at 5:23 PM on April 25, 2002

If you have a mail account with your ISP, but you need webmail for travel or whatnot, you could give pandamail a shot (or the slightly more commercial mail2web).
posted by D at 7:30 PM on April 25, 2002

Reading this thread, you'd think you were on slashdot.
posted by gsteff at 7:38 PM on April 25, 2002

- My friend has a Stanford CS alumni account, and he's still using PINE today. I wish my alma mater was so generous, but then I wasn't in the CS dept.

- was "exposed" on slashdot quite a while ago.

- I've migrated everything to my backup myrealbox account. I should have done it a long time ago, the lack of ads is so refreshing. And it's FREE.

- I've been using Eprompter to check and delete the spam on my old Yahoo account. You might also look into the not-free Web2Pop, if you want to keep using Yahoo or some other webmail that doesn't offer free POP.
posted by curiousg at 8:24 PM on April 25, 2002

anyone out there who wants to pay to have email on a reliable server should drop me a line. I'll do plain webmail for $5/mo if you want pine w/procmail, etc., then $7/mo.
If you want a website on the server $15/mo (which includes php/mysql/etc). Domain parking/hosting same as above with a one time $15 fee.(you'll have to register it yourself, though)

Heh. perhaps I should take out a textad, eh?

My servers have only seen one outage in the last year, and that was when we had to move them from one facility to another. Before the move, the email server had been up for 400 days straight - no reboots. no crashes. no rootings.

I currently own,, and While poorrabbit is never ever going anywhere, I can't guarantee the same for the others...
posted by jaded at 9:13 PM on April 25, 2002

Thanks to MeFi for reminding me to delete my Yahoo everything today. Long ago I realised that a free email address without forwarding or POP3 access was a waste of time. I used to have accounts at Excite, Yahoo, GeoCities (I was there when Yahoo and GeoCities were separate) and also and Now I use Sneakemail and Spamcop to filter through to whatever account my ISP de jour gives me. Yes I pay for Spamcop. It was worth paying for when I could use it to filter all the spam from my Yahoo account, but now I've dropped Yahoo and I'm masking my address I haven't received a single peice of spam in weeks.

I thought I had solved the problem with, but they suddenly went all expensive and non-international on me. These days I don't expect any given email address to be valid for more than 6 months...
posted by krisjohn at 1:02 AM on April 26, 2002

On an unrelated (?) note, has anyone started having trouble logging into Yahoo Mail with Opera this week?
posted by jedro at 6:08 AM on April 26, 2002

I'm logged in right now with Opera 6.0B2 for Linux.
posted by jaden at 10:37 AM on April 26, 2002

And I'm logged in with Opera 6.01 for Windows.
posted by gd779 at 11:29 AM on April 26, 2002

Weird. Hushmail was down all day today too. Or at least I couldn't log in. I can now though.

This just underlines the importance of getting my own pop address somewhere.
posted by ODiV at 4:13 PM on April 26, 2002

i've had problems logging in with opera for the past month.
posted by lotsofno at 5:39 PM on April 26, 2002

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