XF 1.3 E-mail Bounceback

Floyd R Turbo

Well-known member
I'm wondering if I have something set up wrong...because I have never, not once, received a bounce-back e-mail from a notification generated by my site/forum.

I have, however, been experiencing problems with my outgoing e-mails (from a different address, same host) getting blocked - not even bounced back, just never going though at all. this is another issue I believe, I found a few threads on here that I'm looking into to explain this, but this issue in particular is now bugging me.

I have the Default E-mail Address set to "webmaster@..." but that particular e-mail address is not set up, I have another e-mail address that is the catch-all, and that catch-all does work because messages make it to my catch-all when sent to webmaster.

I just now noticed that I had an alternate gmail address in place for my bounced e-mails (I don't recall why I set it up that way), but I have never received anything on that either.

I halfway wonder if I had it spelled incorrectly or something stupid like that, but I blanked that field out and now I don't know. So on a side note, if I look through a recent database backup, where would I look to find that entry? At least then I'll know if I was just stupid, or if I'm missing something else.

Floyd R Turbo

Well-known member
Well I checked an old version of my database (just opened up in notepad and searched) and I had the right e-mail address.

Now my site is not really huge or anything, 3000+ messages, 250+ users, but literally not one bounce-back, even on site registrations.

I have added a webmaster e-mail and forwarded that to the account I use.

I also checked the -f option for return path, although I really have no idea what checking or unchecking that box does (newbie) so maybe someone can explain that to me as well

Floyd R Turbo

Well-known member
So, does anyone have any suggestion for what I have set incorrectly, or may have had set?

Does leaving the -f parameter unchecked explain why I would have never received a bounce-back e-mail?

Does populating the bounce-back field with a different e-mail address (with the -f parameter unchecked) do anything?

Currently, I have the -f parameter checked, and I have set the bounced address to the same as the default address.


XenForo developer
Staff member
Does leaving the -f parameter unchecked explain why I would have never received a bounce-back e-mail?
The short answer is most likely. Look at the "Return-Path" value in an email you receive from your site (you will need to view the raw message). That is where bounce messages will be sent to.

Floyd R Turbo

Well-known member
Thank you mike for your reply

The issue was that I never had received a bounced e-mail so I couldn't see what was getting bounced back. Now I can see it and it is correct so I think this will help

I tested it out with a dummy account logged into a separate browser.

If I didn't have the -f parameter checked, I would never receive a bounce message, no matter what I had entered in the bounced email address field.

With it checked, I received it. If it was a gmail address, it went to the spam folder. If it was the default address, I received it normally (no spam filter).

So in conclusion, if anyone is having a similar issue, you gotta check the -f parameter. Not sure how I missed this one over the course of a year. Being a newbie to xF and forum admin management in general, the function of this option wasn't very clear or maybe I just haven't read enough of the "help" threads to figure it out.

In a related topic, I think this may explain part of my past issues with my e-mail account which is connected to my forum being hooked as spam and blacklisted


Which I noticed mentioned here


A few months back, I had my new host work something up that eventually solved the issue I had been having, but I still have been having trouble getting e-mail through to certain users.

So now I wonder if this is worth considering:

SMTP Server

It has also been suggested that using the default mail server is itself a red flag for spam filters, and that setting up a SMTP server for your forum can help the problem. If you have access to a SMTP server through your host or ISP then you can enter that information in your:
Since I have e-mail with my hosting, doesn't it make sense to just use the SMTP transport method instead of the default method, in order to avoid any potential red flags? I guess I'm confused as to why anyone would use the default method at all if they had the ability to configure the SMTP, is there any advantage to the default setting?