ISP for responsible "power user"?

Discussion in 'Computer Information' started by ldfishel, Apr 16, 2014.

  1. ldfishel

    ldfishel Guest

    Forgive me if this is not an appropriate group...

    I will try to stifle the torrent of rants I have built up[ and try to keep this under 100 pages:

    I would not call myself an "expert" on networking, but I am a programmer who generally prefers to do most things in Linux. I can do a reasonable job of administering a network and I own my own domain name.

    I've stuck with my local phone company as an ISP for many years as they've gone further and further down the road of catering to the lowest common denominator, because they have the manpower to get out and fix things quickly when there's a problem they didn't cause intentionally.

    Now it's gotten to where they block port 25, both directions (been that wayfor a while, I'm loath to even try to explain to their techs why I might want it open, let alone try to get them to actually do it), their supported modems have removed any port forwarding configuration ability, and to activate my new modem when the old one fried itself (this failure was insignificant in itself) and they gave me a new modem for free within hours). Their web site made me use the latest-and-greatest Internet Explorer (ack! Windows, couldn't it with Linux OR Mac) just to type in a couple of text fields. Icould have done that with a friggin' TRS-80 for phlegm's sake!

    So, I'm hoping some of those who still remember that Usenet exists, can recommend an ISP (I'm in Miami, FL by the way) that can just stay out of my way (within reason). I don't need 50 MB/sec, but decent speed would be nice. I run a web server (non-commercial), so upload speed matters, but is not paramount. I know not to leave my mail server as an open relay. (I don't, at this very moment know exactly how to ensure that, since I haven't been ableto run one in years, bu will refresh before exposing one). I know I promised not to rant, but yahoo mail, which was the reason I was able to live without my own mail server for so long, is becoming impossible to use...

    I'm not interested in satellite internet, as I have experience with light-speed latency (sometimes 300 ms matters, whether it's 50 MB/sec or 300 baud.)

    I'm not a spammer and need very little help if I don't have to work around my own ISP.

    I do use a fair amount of download bandwidth, but I'd forgo much of that tohave a sane provider...

    ....So...what ya got?
    ldfishel, Apr 16, 2014
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  2. ldfishel

    Paul Guest

    Operating a web server (with exceptions), goes against
    the terms of service of a typical "home" Internet account.
    ADSL is asymmetric, on the assumption a home user is a
    "consumer" of content, not a "source" (upload) of content.
    That's why the upload bandwidth on my home account is so low.

    You would need a commercial account of some sort, to have
    symmetric bandwidth. This would be more expensive.


    Someone who uses my ISP, did some tests on doing an email relay.

    Our ISP uses a Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) box. Every packet
    sent is analyzed by the box. The box automatically detects port 25
    activity and stops it. But, it gets worse than that. The box doesn't
    dumbly just match the port number, it watches the *protocol*. If
    you move the email relay to another port than port 25, it instantly
    recognizes the attempt, and closes that port number on your ADSL
    service. The port remains closed for 15 minutes. If no further
    attempts to do an email relay show on that port, the port magically
    opens again (in the hope you'll be running some "regular" protocol
    on there). The DPI box is "fully automated" - no human at the
    phone company, needs to lift a finger, to drop your email relay
    in its tracks. I suppose they could check the log at the
    end of the month, and send you a "naughty-gram" about your
    persistent activity. But really, the DPI box will stop all of it.

    And the neat thing is, the verboten nature of email relay,
    isn't even listed in the Terms Of Service. Everyone is
    supposed to intrinsically know they're not supposed to
    be running a relay.


    You could rent a server in a colo, and run your server
    stuff there. And the prices are probably reasonable.
    You'll be given a static IP. If you mis-behave, the
    hosting company can drop you like a hot rock. Or,
    the various DNS blocking setups could list your
    static IP as something to be blocked.

    And every user "listens to someone else's rules".
    Take Netflix for example. They now pay extortion money,
    to get their video content to you. Even a company like that,
    has to deal with idiots in suits.

    Paul, Apr 16, 2014
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  3. ldfishel

    ldfishel Guest

    Thanks for the reply. My "brief" question was turning into a novel, so I left out some detail.

    I know what and why) DSL is. When I said upload (outgoing) speed was important, I meant that it couldn't be TOO slow, not that I needed it to be FAST.ADSL speed is sufficient, (but I wouldn't argue with more.)

    My ISP's terms of service are clear enough (whether intentionally or not) that web servers are allowed (it even says they will "support" them, but oddly not IPv6), though with ADSL, you wouldn't want to run a commercial server, and I'm not.) Of all the ports they block, 80 and 443 are open.

    They have a business connection, which has higher outgoing speed (which would be fine), but much lower incoming speed which is less fine, but not a deal breaker. However some of the other rants I skipped, because I don't wantto risk getting sued or cut off just yet, are about the same company (including parts that they pretend are a different company so they can blame eachother for certain problems) and give me little confidence that another division will not be run by even worse suits.

    Relying on outside sources (partially because they don't want to cop to it or have to argue about it), they absolutely block port 25 before it gets tomy box, probably so they can use cheaper modems, but possibly because people like me figured out you could unblock and port-forward with the old ones..

    And yeah, if it were as simple as running my mail server on a different port, I could do that in my sleep, but that would make it a little tough to communicate this other, non-encumbered servers, which is what I need. If I wanted to build a network of invisible mail servers with friends, I'm pretty sure it would get through my ISP, but why?

    I'm not a huge fan of the off-site server idea, partially because I developfor my web site on the same machine (which is it's main purpose) that runsthe site, which speeds up that process, and partially because that gives THEM even more control (I have absolutely no problem with the idea of them shutting me down if I misbehave or if, as happened once before (at least 15 years ago), someone hacks my system and starts spewing spam or bot probes. It also, used to be more expensive than I could justify, but I might have to look into it again. Thanks.
    ldfishel, Apr 16, 2014
  4. ldfishel

    Paul Guest

    This is wise thinking :)

    The guy who runs the AIOE free news server, he got
    kicked from his hosting site, all for making a disparaging
    remark in the support newsgroup about the hosting service.
    Apparently, that company has people who run a Google every day,
    to see if anyone has said something bad.

    Because he was subject to Italian law, he has no recourse
    at all. His worst mistake, was not having backed up the
    source files for the web site (which had information pages
    on it). He was never able to reproduce those pages exactly,
    once he set up the news server on another hosting site.

    So yes indeed, being temperate with your remarks, until
    parting company, is the best advice. And always keep a copy
    of any useful files used to build the site, on your
    home computer.

    Paul, Apr 17, 2014
  5. ldfishel

    ldfishel Guest

    Google groups ate my followup reply to you (skipping another rant)...

    (As best I can recall it.)

    I have indeed found that colocation services have come down into the reasonable price range for me, however, since I need access to that server from home, I would have to ADD that price to my home DSL cost, which turns out tobe less than I realized (part of a package deal).

    ....some other point I'm not digging up...

    Meanwhile, after a little research, I'm finding how out-of-date my knowledge is... Last time I really looked into mail serves, SMTPS and ESMTP were still wishful thinking. After putting up a dummy listener on my machine, I find that those ports are open, so I may be in business, as is.

    I also have a recommendation from a friend of a cable-internet provider that serves my area, and leaves most ports open by default, so I have a fallback option if I need it.

    Thanks again.
    ldfishel, Apr 17, 2014
  6. ldfishel

    ldfishel Guest

    Ack! After more research, I see that SMTPS met it's maker long ago, and ESMPT is not supported by many servers, so the solution I thought I had may be out...

    I don't think I thought to mention that my domain name provider offers mail hosting now for 1/10 of what it was the last time I looked.

    Also,it looks like there may be public relays available on alternate ports, which is another possible option if I want the server in-house, but i haven't gone very far in researching that.
    ldfishel, Apr 17, 2014
  7. ldfishel

    ldfishel Guest


    After reading many posts (mostly old), by users of my ISP saying that they had eventually reached a tech, higher up the food chain who was able to unblock port 25 for them, I decided to give it a shot and was told by a lower level tech who allegedly spoke with higher-ups, that they no longer do thisfor residential customers and that I would have to upgrade to a business account with a static IP (about $30 a month more) to have this done.
    I wasn't in the mood to argue, or to give them any more money, so I went with my next best plan, which was email hosting through my domain registrar ($10 a YEAR) and after a quick call to their tech support to find out that the instructions on their web site were wrong, and so there WAS a way to make it work with my dynamic dns without losing the entry for my home machine,I was up and running on their webmail pretty quickly. I still haven't gotten the settings straight in thunderbird, but once I do, I'll be good to go.
    ldfishel, Apr 18, 2014
  8. ldfishel

    ldfishel Guest

    Further update:

    Not that anyone is reading this, but...

    After no small amount of flailing about, I found (surmised) that when I initially set up Thunderbird, I used the proper (but non-standard ports, to get around ISP's like mine) but later realized that I needed to use my registrar's mail server address rather than my domain name (their default instructions were for users who did not have their domain name pointed at their home, machines and could point it at theirs). I think when I changed the server address, Thunderbird set one of my ports back to the default and I didn't notice. After fixing that, I'm up.

    Thanks for the suggestions, even if I ended going a different way...
    ldfishel, Apr 25, 2014
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