Webone blocking port 25??

andrew at bishop.dropbear.id.au andrew at bishop.dropbear.id.au
Fri Jul 26 18:06:53 EST 2002

Being a webone customer, you'd think I should know something about this
port 25 blocking thingy.  When I signed up, I rang them, said, "I want a
plan that gives me a permanent IP address."  When they asked why, if I'd
be running any servers or anything, I said, "yes."  After checking that I
wasn't expecting to send much traffic (much in this instance being defined
as more than I receive, since I pay for receiving but not sending), they
signed me up for a standard residential plan, and that's the rate I've
been paying them at ever since.

However, it has become clear that they told their system to treat me like
a business plan customer.  A few weeks after I joined, they started
charging extra for permanent IP addresses (they didn't have separate
business plans for transact customers when I signed up), but my IP remains
constant, and port 25 has never been blocked for me, in or out.

So, I guess all I can add to the conversation is, "I don't know what
webone charge for their business plans, but I've never had a problem with
the service on them."  As far as I can tell, the only interfering they do
with any connections between my machines and the big bad internet is to
"transparently" redirect outgoing port 80 connections to their proxy.

Just one comment on the AUP...

On Thu, 25 Jul 2002, Rasjid Wilcox wrote:

> To be fair to Webone, their AUP says -
> You must NOT carry out any actions which:
> #  run programs on the WebOne Network which are intended to open sockets or
> ports and keep them open waiting for data
> So they are in fact within their rights to block incoming access to port 25.
> That does not mean I'm pleased about it.

I has a flick through the AUP while I was on the phone to them, setting up
my account.  I noticed the point you quoted, and asked them about that
(the wording seems to forbid doing anything that accepts incoming
connections, which would include an awful lot of things your standard ISP
customer would want to do, such as run ICQ, MSN, IRC, napsterclone, etc.).
The guy ummed and arred, then said, "That must refer to our web hosting -
you can't run scripts on our servers that listen on ports."

Sounded to me like a "The lawyers wrote that AUP, not us, and we don't
care what you do, so long as it doesn't use up too much bandwidth or get
us put on anyone's blacklist" answer, but they specifically told me that I
was allowed to run my webserver and mailserver before I paid them
anything, and I've never had a problem doing just that.

The simple fact is, even if all you want is a pipe to the internet, that's
not what ISP's are in the business of providing.  They're in the business
of selling connections to windows users (mostly), and so they block off
ports they don't expect their users to use, but they provide additional
services such as website hosting, email accounts, etc.  We could argue for
weeks about what they "should" do, but please, let's not - it's not going
to change things anyway.  ISPs will provide what (they think) most people
want, and that, for most people, means you tell outlook to use their smtp
server for sending, and their pop server for receiving, and that's that.

If you're looking for an ISP that will let you do stuff most people won't
want to do (such as getting a permanent IP, running a small webserver,
accepting and sending email directly, etc.), I suggest that you ask them
to tell you which of their plans are appropriate.  That way, they are
trying to quote you the lowest price they can, and you have their word
that whatever they give you will be suitable.  Either that, or they say,
"we can't do that," straight up, so you don't have to waste any more time.
And, if problems arise later on, you have a solid argument to at least get
a refund and walk away - the plan they sold you was not suitable for the
purpose for which it was purchased.  Maybe they'll even do for you what
webone did for me - push you up to a business plan at no extra charge.


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