British Telecom (BT) Bureaucracy Over Reverse DNS Record without MX Record

During a recent installation of an Small Business Server server for a customer whose mail we currently host, I requested the customer arranged for a fixed IP Address with their Internet Service Provider (ISP) who was British Telecom (BT Broadband) and this was quickly and easily implemented.

Once the fixed IP Address had been registered on their Firewall / Router and I had determined it was Blacklist free, I asked my customer to request that BT setup Reverse DNS on the fixed IP Address so that we could move their mail from our servers to their new server. Our customer not being very technical, asked me to send the email request to BT and gave me the email address that BT had given to them to email a request. That email address was I sent my original request to BT on the 7th January, chased them again on the 12th January and then finally sent a 3rd request on the 20th January. Having heard nothing at all and still not having Reverse DNS setup, on the 26th January I asked my customer to give them a call and ask them what the problem was and why do they not even bother to reply to any emails that they are sent.

After lengthy phone calls between my customer and BT, my customer and myself and BT and myself, BT advised me that they can’t or won’t setup Reverse DNS records without first having an MX record pointing to the IP Address. I advised them that there won’t be an MX record pointing to the IP Address until they configure Reverse DNS. This was standard policy for BT and apparently the same with all other ISP’s. I advised them that they were the only ISP that had ever requested anything like this and that I would probably be advising my customer to use a different ISP, one that doesn’t make such ridiculous requests.

So – at a stale-mate situation and after advising BT what I thought of them – something I regularly do when it comes to BT and their ridiculous policies – I asked them if the addition of an additional MX record would meet their needs and allow them to setup Reverse DNS. They advised me (after putting me on hold again for another eternity), that this would unlock their handcuffs and allow the record to be setup.

So, having waited 48 hours for the new MX record to be propagated in DNS, I asked my customer to talk to BT again and request that Reverse DNS is setup.

With any luck – they will have actioned this and I can complete the mail migration from our servers to their own server.

It has only taken 3 weeks to get something simple setup – something that would take out ISP ( about 5 minutes to implement – although I am still checking to see if the record has been configured and as of now (00:52 hrs on the 1st February), still no Reverse DNS record is configured as per the latest request.

I am meant to be seeing my customer today to complete the mail migration – somehow I think I am going to have to postpone it yet again.

So – if you ever want BT to setup Reverse DNS – make sure you have an MX record pointing to the IP Address or you will get incredibly frustrated as I have with them (yet again).

Alternatively, don’t bother using BT Broadband in the first place. Find a decent ISP that can accommodate your simple requests without putting up hurdles for you to jump over.

Once upon a time – when I wanted a fixed IP Address with BT – they asked me for £100 to set it up ad £10 a month. Needless to say I moved ISP’s very quickly after I had picked myself up from the floor and had stopped laughing : )


4 Responses

  1. You must have been in touch with the wrong person. I have routinely gone through this process with BT and they have never quibbled, never needed an MX record and usually actioned it overnight.

    One of my customers doesn’t have his own email system, so no MX record, but there is still a PTR record on his static IP, provided by BT.


    • What – getting through to the wrong person at BT? They make that an art-form. My business partner went round in circles through 5 departments until he got back to the very same person he spoke to the first time and he explained the problem (again) and then they said – Oh – okay – I’ll sort that for you, despite him initially saying that he needed another department in the first place!

      They are great at passing you through to another department before they even know what your problem is. You start to explain and then they hear a word which then triggers the “Oh – I’ll put you through to so-and-so department” and before you know it – you are explaining yourself all over again!

  2. Any ISP requires an (A) record to configure reverse DNS or it will break RFC.

    MX records are unrelated in this case.

    For example:
    For a reverse DNS entry to be made for IP address you need to specify an (A) record that points to it.

  3. This is hilarious. Usually it’s a 5 mins job for any ISP.

    I wonder if they treat their cable/broadband and T1/T3 customers differently ?

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