Category Archives: How to Make the Most of MxToolbox

How can I make full use of my MxToolbox account? Part 11, Add Premium Monitors

In this installment of our series on getting the most from your MxToolbox account, we’ll discuss our premium monitoring options and how they can save you time and money.

Consider Premium Monitoring Options

MxToolbox is constantly striving to develop tools and monitors that save time for IT professionals.  Most of our tools and monitors are included in our MxWatch monitoring packages, but a few are more complicated or require more infrastructure to support.  These are premium monitors that require an extra charge.

Domain Health Monitoring

As an online business, you have a domain; that pesky “.com” thing you run use as your online presence.  This domain has value to you:  It’s your name online.  It’s the location everyone uses to access your services.  It’s how people find you now that the Yellow Pages are a historical curiosity.  Since it’s so valuable, wouldn’t you like a regular report card on your domain that tells you how it’s doing?  That’s our Domain Health Monitor.

Domain Health analyzes your domain and automatically creates the monitors you need for your domain, including: Blacklist, DNS, SMTP and HTTPS monitors.  These monitors scan your domain frequently and report on any potential issues.  You get peace of mind your domain is accessible to your customers and prospects.

Mailflow Monitoring

If you’re running your own mail server, you probably have to deal with users complaining of missing messages, delays or messages not arriving at their destinations.  How mail is processed through your network and servers is important and can affect everything from customer satisfaction to actual sales.  An unanticipated outage could cost you money, time and customers, not to mention a few hours of work and the ire of everyone at the company.  That’s why we developed our Mailflow Monitor.  

MxToolbox Mailflow monitoring is an end-to-end monitor for how email flows through your mfgraphlarge_smallservers.  Every 5 minutes, we send you an email that is forwarded back to our servers.  We analyze the round-trip time and the headers to understand how the email flowed through your servers.  We give you a complete analysis and alert you when our messages reach certain performance thresholds.  You even get reports you can use for management.

DNS Zone Protect Monitoring

If you own a domain, you registered it at a domain registrar and then configured DNS records so that everyone on the Internet could find your website and send you email. Those records are vitally important for your domain to work properly.  DNS Zone Protect is a service from MxToolbox that monitors all of your DNS records for a domain, in real time, to make sure you know for certain that your DNS is working and that all of the information is correct.

DZPChangeSummaryDNS Zone Protect gives you two very powerful features in one simple service. If anyone, using any method, modifies any of your DNS records, you will know about it. This includes possibilities like a compromised DNS login, an attack against your DNS provider, or other possible security vulnerabilities on the DNS Servers. The method of attack doesn’t matter. If your records change, DNS Zone Protect will make sure you will know about it.

The other benefit DNS Zone Protect provides is a comprehensive change history of all your DNS records. This automatic communication is vital so that everyone on your team knows exactly what is being done, in real time. We also keep a histoDZPStatusrical account of changes which allows you to go back and see what your DNS records were at any point in time in the past.  DNS Zone Protect gives you peace of mind about all your DNS for that domain, not just the records you know about.

In the next in our series we will discuss use cases, specifically, how to verify setup of an email server using MxToolbox.

How can I make full use of my MxToolbox account? Part 10, Configuring Paid Monitoring

In this installment in our series on making the most of your MxToolbox account we discuss some best practices for configuring your paid monitors and introduce you to Quickwatch monitors.

Configure Paid Monitoring Options

With an MxWatch account you receive access to the MxToolbox Professional toolset and a number of a la carte monitors that you can use for Blacklists (including Domain blacklists), DNS, Mail, HTTP, or other TCP ports.  You can mix and match the types of monitors you use.  With these monitors, you also get an enhanced interface for managing the monitors that includes:

  • Add users to the account – Maybe you have a small team or a colleague with which you work.  Now you can share a single account and access and control your monitors.  The filters_exampleaccount owner can delegate or retain authority to edit or view monitoring information.
  • Use Tags – Have a large number of monitors or maybe monitors for specific groups within your organization?  Tags enable you to logically group monitors without renaming the monitor.
  • Create Custom Filters – Combined with tags, custom filters enable you to group monitors together in your view.
  • Setup Notification Policies – Once you’ve added users and tags, you might want to control how certain monitors alert you and your team.  Notification policies are highly granular ways of controlling how alerts notify you.

A combination of these items gives you everything you need to simplify notification of specific teams or team members in the event of an outage.

Setup Quickwatch Monitors

Have you ever made a change to DNS and then needed to know when it was finished propagating?  Have you ever needed to know when a VM image was finished loading and new services were available?  With our Quickwatch Monitors you can do that and more.  Quickwatch enables you to set a short-term (1 to 3 day) monitor that automatically expires.  During that time if the monitor detects a change, we alert you.  Since the monitor automatically expires, there’s no need for you to login and deactivate or delete the monitor, it stops tracking on its own.  Since Quickwatch Monitors are light and flexible, you get a larger number of them as part of your paid subscription. Use the on anything that is likely to transition quickly and it’ll save you time rerunning queries on the site.

In our next installment we will discuss premium monitoring options to make your job even easier.

How can I make full use of my MxToolbox account? Part 9, Paid Subscriptions

The latest in our series on getting the most out of your MxToolbox account discusses some of the benefits of a paid subscription.

Get a Paid Subscription

While most of our customers use MxToolbox for free (and we encourage that!), many of our customers need more monitors and monitoring options to make their work even easier.  MxToolbox offers affordable monthly subscription packages that include a flexible number of monitors (IP and Domain Blacklists, SMTP, TCP, DNS, HTTP/S) combined with advanced tools.

Advanced Tools

MxToolbox is committed to making life easier for Network, Email and Systems Administrators, people who work on IT infrastructure on a daily basis.  As part of that, we are constantly looking to add new tools that simplify repetitive work. (We hate doing the same thing every day too!)  Some of these tools may require a paid subscription, but we will never make our free tools paid.

Try DNS Batch Tool

The DNS Batch Tool is the first in our new line of premium tools, tools included with a paid DNSBatch_resultssubscription and featured in the Professional interface.  This tool enables you to input unstructured text and run batch DNS queries on the IP addresses contained therein.  This is particularly useful for someone analyzing an event log, say from an intrusion, or network routing tables.  The DNS Batch Tool saves you time pulling all the relevant IP addresses, sifting through them and then running multiple queries to determine what IP could be the problem.  We do it all in batch and even send you an email of the results, if you would like.

In our next installment, we will discuss the benefits of the additional monitoring options you receive with a paid account.

How can I make full use of my MxToolbox account? Part 8, Free Monitors

This is another in our series on getting the most from your MxToolbox account.  Today we discuss adding a free monitor.

Add your Free Monitor

When you register with MxToolbox, we give you a free monitor.  You can use this free monitor to monitor IP blacklists, SMTP, TCP ports, or HTTP/HTTPS.   Simply go to the Add Monitor page, and select the type of monitor you would like to add.


Note:  You may see options for Domain Blacklists, DNS, Mailflow and Domain Health monitors listed on this page.  These monitors require a paid subscription.

MxToolbox monitors constantly check the status of your servers and report any issue that might compromise your service.  There’s no need to periodically run lookups, we’ll let you know if something changes.  You can relax knowing that MxToolbox has your back.  We highly recommend that all free users register and setup a free monitor on whatever server they find the most important, troubling or time-consuming.

The best candidates for monitors are lookups that you perform often or are mission critical.  If you find yourself checking your email server daily for SMTP setup, then create a monitor.  If you are concerned about a blacklisting event stopping your business, add a monitor.

In the next installment, we will discuss the benefits of paid monitoring accounts.

How can I make full use of my MxToolbox account? Part 7, Network Tools

This is another installment in our series on getting the most from your MxToolbox account.  Today we discuss a few useful network tools.

Network Tools

There are times when you just need to check your network from outside.   Is this server detectable?  Did I leave the right port open on that firewall?  Is the service up and running?

More advanced setups, complex server or network configurations may require different tools.  MxToolbox has a suite of tools for testing servers on your network.

  • Ping – Use it to see if a server is accessible and “alive” to traffic from outside your firewall.
  • Traceroute – Check the number of hops and delay to your server from
  • TCP – Check a port on a server to see if a service is running.
  • Port Scan – Scan your server to see if various common ports are open to outside traffic.

MxToolbox has many more tools for network administrators but these listed above will get you started.

In our next installment, we will discuss free monitoring options.

How can I make full use of my MxToolbox account? Part 6, Domain Health

In this installment of our series on getting the most of your MxToolbox account we discuss the Domain Health Check.

Domain Health Check

Email, Web and DNS cover the majority of setup issues that a typical small business mayhave.  But, most small businesses don’t have the time, experience or interest to check every setup variable.  That’s why we created the Domain Health Check.

Domain Health for google.comThe MxToolbox Domain Health Check is an automated check of the most common setup issues for a domain.  We automatically scan your domain for DNS, Blacklists, Email and Website issues and give you a complete report of the results so you can prioritize configuration changes.

You can use the Domain Health Check as often as you want.  If you find it valuable, you can create a Domain Health monitor as a paid user to give you constant feedback on your domain.

In our next part of this series, we will discuss the various monitors we provide free to registered customers.

How can I make full use of my MxToolbox account? Part 5, Website

This is the 5 part in our series on getting the most out of your MxToolbox account.  In this installment we will discuss website lookups that help you check your web configuration.


If you’re running a website, either as a business presence, lead generator or an e-commerce platform, you need to periodically check your website’s operation.  Fortunately, MxToolbox provides a highly granular method to check the proper behavior of your website, both https_exampleunsecure and secure, including:

  • HTTP Connect – Checks to ensure that your HTTP server is up and accepting connections.
  • HTTP Filter – HTTP filter provides granular control over HTTP traffic.  This check looks for the presence of this filter mechanism.
  • HTTP Delay Check – Checks the delay of an HTTP response.  Long delays compromise customer experience.
  • HTTPS Certificate Check – Verifies the secure certificate on your website.
  • HTTPS Certificate Expiration – Checks the secure certificate for expiration dates and warns.

Whether you are checking the configuration of an existing web server or setting up a new one, checking the configuration from an external site like MxToolbox is the only way to ensure that you are up and running for your customers.

In our next installment, we’ll discuss Domain Health, a comprehensive domain report card.

How can I make full use of my MxToolbox account? Part 4, DNS

This is the fourth in our series of making the most of your MxToolbox account.  Today, we’ll discuss DNS tools that make it easy to see your DNS configuration.


DNS is the backbone of the internet.  If your DNS is not setup properly, no one will find you dns_exampleonline, send you email or be able to access your online store.  Checking DNS is incredibly important, so MxToolbox has created a number of lookups dedicated to checking your DNS configuration.  All of these are accessible from our SuperTool interface.

  • DNS (Name servers) – Check your DNS name servers for configuration issues.
  • DNS Propagation – Check DNS records across your name servers to verify they are propagating when updated.  DNS Propagation has its own page.
  • A, MX, CNAME, TXT, etc – Check individual record types to ensure they are setup and responding correctly.

If you want to know more about DNS, there are many resources on our blog.

Our next installment in this series will go over Website lookups for HTTP/HTTPS.

How can I make full use of my MxToolbox account? Part 3, Email

This is the third in our series on making the most of your MxToolbox account.  Today we’ll talk a little about email troubleshooting and what results you can receive from MxToolbox email lookups.


As our name implies, MXToolbox started as a company dedicated to helping customers with email.  We continue that with our large number of email related tools and lookups.  There are several things you can do with our tools:

Test your Email Server’s DNS Setup

To receive email, you need to have MX records setup for a domain.  These can be setup to point to your ISP’s email services, a third-party email service like Gmail or or even an email server sitting in a backroom at your office.  Regardless, you need to make sure your MX records are properly setup or no email will find it’s way to you.   You can test you MX records with the MxToolbox SuperTool.

Test if your Email Server is ready to accept emailsmtp_example

Once your email server is online, you need to test it to see if it is accepting email.  Our SMTP test gives you multiple subtests to on your email server, including:

  • Open Relay – Whether or not your server is an open relay.  It should not be.
  • Reverse DNS Mismatch – DNS matches the IP address and there is PTR record pointing back from the IP address to the domain.
  • Valid Hostname – Checks that reverse DNS is a valid hostname for the DNS.
  • Banner Check – Checks that reverse DNS matches the SMTP Banner.
  • TLS – Checks that the server supports TLS encryption.
  • Connection Time – Checks connection time.
  • Transaction Time – Checks total transaction time.

Email Deliverability ReportLookup your Email Deliverability Settings

Once your email server is up and running and accepting email, the next question is will your email be accepted by your customers, partners and vendors.  Email delivery can be a challenge for companies, especially small companies getting started.   MxToolbox has several lookups that can give you insight into whether your email is deliverable or if your deliverability configuration is working beyond the basics of “Am I on a blacklist?”.

  • SPF – Check your SPF configuration, which specifies which servers are able to send from your domain.
  • DKIM – Verify that you DomainKeys Identified Mail setup is correct and accessible.
  • DMARC – Check your DMARC configuration to ensure that others can read it and send you rejected email from your servers and validate email coming from you.
  • Email Deliverability – See if your domain is on an email delivery problem list.

Analyze Email Headers

Sometimes email seems to work properly and yet a message takes days to arrive.  Sometimes you need to analyze a message to makes sure your system is processing everything correctly or investigate a suspicious email.  MxToolbox created a handy email header analyzer just for that purpose.   Header Analyzer takes your email headers and runs a complete analysis of hops, delays, and important email delivery information.  Use it to decode email delays!

In next topic of this series, we will discuss using DNS lookups.

This is the second in our series on making the most of your MxToolbox account.  Today we’ll talk a little about blacklisting. 

Blacklist Lookups

An example of blacklist results.

An example of blacklist results.

Blacklist lookups check our extensive list of blacklists (up to 100 for paid subscribers) and operate in two modes: IP address or Domain blacklists.  This is one of those where checking blacklists for IP addresses produces different results than using a domain.  Read more below.

About Blacklists

For email senders, Blacklists might seem to be a nuisance.  Who are they to prevent you from emailing your customers?  Well, they are legitimately used by nearly every email provider on the internet to reduce spam.  Blacklists setup honeypots that receive spam and use this spam in their algorithms to block illegitimate email.  In fact, Blacklists reduce the amount of email your servers process by as much as 90%.  Think about that for a second…  Your server would need to be 10x more powerful to process all the email you receive without using the email filter capability a blacklist provides.  Blacklists benefit everyone (except the spammers) by reducing the overhead of emailing.

Occasionally, legitimate emailers get caught in a honeypot and added to a blacklists.  That’s how MxToolbox, helping legitimate businesses understand the blacklists they are on and how to get off the list.

IP Blacklists

IP Address blacklists should be checked using the IP address of your mail servers or, in some cases, your web servers.  An IP address on a blacklist indicates that spam or malware has originated from that IP address, or potentially there is an email configuration that promotes spamming or is the source of a botnet attack.  Each blacklist specializes in monitoring different types of bad online behavior (spam, malware, botnets, exploitable email configurations, etc), so check the individual blacklist description for more information.

Domain Blacklists

Domain blacklists are a little different.  A domain blacklist lists domains that have been included in links or content of spam emails or those known to house malicious or exploitative software.  If your domain is on a domain blacklist, chances are your reputation or your website is being used for nefarious purposes and you need to correct it immediately.

Blacklist Detail

If you are blacklisted, MxToolbox is often able to provide information around the blacklist you are on.  This may include your reason for listing.  You will find a DETAIL button for each blacklist upon which you are listed.  For example, CBL is primarily for sending spam, probably resulting from a malware or virus attack.  Now you know what to check your server for before approaching the blacklist for delisting!

Delisting Information

An example of delisting information available on

An example of delisting information available on

You’re on a blacklist and you want off.  On each blacklist detail page, MxToolbox provides links and steps for delisting your mail servers from the blacklist.  Each blacklist is a little different.  Some may require more information, others may just require you to fill out a request form.  Regardless, you must fix the problem before you request delisting!  If you don’t you will be relisted and most likely have to jump through bigger hoops or experience longer delays the next time you request delisting.

Note:  Some blacklists ask for donations or payments for express delisting.  It is MxToolbox’s belief that delisting should be free.  We only search blacklists that are legitimately used by companies or organizations to reject email and have free delisting.  It is up to you to choose if you would like to pay for an express delisting or donate to the blacklist.  Contact Us is you feel like a blacklist is unfair or unethical.

The next topic is analyzing email server setups and troubleshooting using MxToolbox.