Recently I did some long overdue changes to my Domino infrastucture. Many years ago, when I initially setup my Domino server, I put it in the domain /Martinsson, since my domain at that time was martinsson.com (as well as martinsson.net). The server was just for practice and fun initially, but I ended up doing more and more.
In 2013, when my wife Christina and I started a small business, I added additional internet domains to the server. Our business Demand Better Solutions strated getting some traction, and I changed my email address from firstname.lastname@example.org to email@example.com. But I kept having issues with the outgoing email. Often people did not get my emails since they ended up in their spam folder. I figured that it had something to do with the domain
It was time to bite the bullet and do something. I decided earlier this year that I would setup a server from scratch, on a new hosting service. I arranged hosting with Prominic, a company specializing in high quality Domino hosting. The account was setup in no time and the Domino server was ready to be configured. My new Domino domain would from now on be /DBS.
I am not a stranger to installing and configuring Domino servers, but I decided have a real administrator set up it up for me, to get everything perfect..This way I would hopefully also learn something. Another reason I wanted some help had to do with setting up cross-certifications with my old server in the old domain. My plan was as follows:
- Set up the new server
- Cross-certify the two servers and admin accounts
- Replicate over all databases from the old server to the new
- Update the ACL on all databases and remove references to the old server
- Delete the old server and all data files
- Install a second Domino server in the new /DBS domain
- Set up replication between the two servers (on different hosts)
I was lucky enough to get help from one of the best, Lifetime IBM Champion Gabriella Davis from The Turtle Partnership. If you need high quality admin help or advice, with Domino or IBM Connections, Gab is outsanding.
Gab helped me set everything up on the new server, I replicated everything, fixed the ACL settings and deleted the old server. The build of the secondary new server went off without any issues, which is not surprising when you consider the stability and maturity of the Domino server platform.
I updated all DNS settings, replicated all databases to the second server, and I was ready to rock’n’roll.
Everything worked well for a while, until I noticed that some email services still categorized a number of my emails (but not all of them) as spam. I did some research and realized that I never changed the SPF record for my domain to point to the correct mail server.
SPF is a email validation system, it works similar to a DNS lookup. When a mail from my domain arrives at a mail server, it performs a lookup to get my SPF record. This record, which is just a plain text string, describes which server(s) are allowed to send mail on behalf of my domain. If the server connecting to the mail server is listed in the SPF record, the email is accepted.
I updated the SPF record, and everything now works perfectly.
This is just another example of how powerful but still easy to use IBM Domino is as a server. The only issues I had were external ones, not related to Domino. Kudos to IBM (as well as the original developers at Iris) for building such a robust and still easy to use platform.