My problems with Earthlink email. Or, Vadesecure sucks.


Earthlink hired (I assume) an outfit called Vadesecure to filter all incoming email. I noticed this because emails from the Federal Register stopped arriving.

I subscribed to the daily table of contents almost twenty years ago and had no trouble till now. I complained and after way too much work was told that the emails were being bounced because they came from an unregistered domain. That seemed unlikely. Mail is sent from A whois search on that fails (of course) but a search on is successful. (Many months later, the emails began arriving again. No clue as to why.)

The emails anouncing new strips from the web comic Jesus 'N Mo stopped arriving as well. No clue as to why but the smart money is on Vadesecure. I dusted off an old and never used email account at Yahoo. Emails from both problem sources arrive there with no trouble.

Emails from the family of list servers is a problem. Some get held up because Vadesecure refuses a connection for the claimed reason of "SPAM ratio". Although they sometimes just refuse delivery period. Mostly they tag some emails from as SPAM. For example:

    X-VadeSecure-Status: Spam
    X-VadeSecure-Verdict: spam:medium
    X-VadeSecure-Malware: Clean

The Earthlink SPAM system then routes these to a known SPAM folder. Accessible only via the web interface so it requires a special effort to recover these. Changing settings there (managed domains, white list, etc.) has no effect. Anything marked as SPAM by Vadesecure gets routed to the SPAM folder. Even emails that I sent to the list server. I began collecting these in a Thunderbird folder in February 2022.

The worst problem is that Vadesecure is blocking incoming email without telling me about it. Or allowing me to tell them when they screw up. The only way I can know something is blocked is if it is something I am expecting or the source gives me some access to bounce messages. Both are a rarity.

I have of course complained to both Earthlink and Vadesecure. The latter is nearly pointless because while they will filter my emails, I am not their customer. So they don't care. (This puts an interesting spin on their claims to fantastical accuracy.)

Just up and switching to a different email provider sounds good on the surface but is a hassle. I have no idea how many web sites I have login credentials at that use my Earthlink address as a backup. Without it those accounts die. Then there is the problem with the TI forums. I discovered that it will not work if you use an email address for a free email service.

SMTP for outgoing email

In a seeming never ending quest to provide almost no service at all, Earthlink tore down their SMTP servers and now use Vadesecure for outgoing email. I discovered this when it refused to deliver email to one particular list server. The claimed reason was a DNS error but ping works every time. I expect the POP servers to follow.

March 2023

Vadesecure has been holding up emails from again since about 17 Feb. I complain and complain but nothing is done. Things are so bad that I just saw where a message exceeded the retry limit at Message sent on 20 February and considered bounced on 3 March. Which seems reason enough to put this rant up on my web pages.

8 March 2023

The log jam appeared to clear today with many (but by no means all) messages from the LTSpice list (at arriving. A surprising number flagged by Vadesecure as "spam:low" which at least didn't get them routed to the SPAM folder. Although there were several of those. Then a surprise: put my accounts into bounce status. Easily cleared but since I had received far more messages today than I had in the last week, a big surprise.

It will take a while for the backlog to clear depending on when the server decides to retry each message.