The email auto reply service will send a pre-written reply to any email that it receives. This is commonly known as a ‘vacation’ or ‘trip note’ service.
To help you set up your account you can watch our walkthrough video below. You can pause and rewind as necessary, and use it along with the notes below.
You can set up auto replies by clicking on the "autoreply" link on your hosted control panel, and then clicking "add autoreply".
Firstly you need to enter the user you wish to set the auto reply up for. This is the part of the email address before the @ symbol. If you have more than one domain registered on your account, you can choose the correct one from the "email domain" drop down box.
There are two types of auto reply possible. The first is "autoresponse", which will send a customised message back to the sender, which is the most useful setting for an out of office message. The second is a "bounce", which will send the email sender a bounce message from the mailer daemon.
The start and end dates are used to select when the auto reply is in force, or alternatively you can select the "run forever" tick box to always leave the auto reply in force.
The "reply interval" drop down box allows you to choose how often an email sender will receive the auto reply if they send more than one email. If this is set to always reply then they will receive the auto reply every time they send an email. If you select one of the options, for example one day, the email sender will only receive the auto reply message once per day, no matter how many emails they send in between.
The "autoreply alias" field allows you to choose who the reply email should appear to have been sent from.
The "autoreply subject" field allows you to create a custom subject field. You can either enter any sort of string, or you may enter "$SUBJECT", in which case the subject of the original message will be inserted. The default is "Re: $SUBJECT", which prepends the text "Re: " to the original subject, as most common email clients do.
If you are creating an "autoresponse" reply then you can also specify a custom message.You can enter what ever you like in here, but there are some special fields you can enter which are substituted at run time (as with the "from" and "subject" fields). The following fields are available:
- $ORIGINALLYTO: which enters the original destination address, as described previously
- $SUBJECT: which enters the original subject, as described previously
- $HEADERS: which will insert the headers of the original message
- $BODY: which will insert the body text of the original message
- $DATE: the current date, in YYYY-MM-DD format
- $TIME: the current time
Once the subdomain is setup (and for many this is already the case) you can add and test auto responder rules instantly. DNS changes will take approximately 6 hours to load in our system, but you may have different values cached which will delay propagation of updates.
In order to complete the setup, you need to also create a mail forwarding rule for the auto reply. To do this "email forwarding" and then click "edit" for the email domain you wish to add the forwarding rule for. Find the user and add user@autoreply to the "destination address field".
We always recommend that you leave the original user@pop3 forward address in place so that you continue to receive email, and to separate the two addresses with a comma, for example:
- user@pop3, user@autoreply
Setting up auto responders without access to the control panel
If you want your users to be able to set up their own auto responders without having access to the control panel this can be done by using our web interface at http://www.gradwell.com/autoreply and logging in with the mailbox username and password.
Advanced configuration and troubleshooting
Our service works under a subdomain of your normal domain name (autoreply.domain.dom). Mail addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org will receive an automatic reply. You can then use mail forwarding rules to forward your usual email address to the auto reply service.
We suggest you add the auto responder in addition to the current destination by entering both email addresses, comma separated, into the forwarding rule destination mail box: i.e. email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org.
However, if you are not using POP3 boxes but are using email@example.com to forward all mail to a mail server, you will need to add a forwarding rule for the user to both auto reply and postmaster, i.e. firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com.
Our auto responder always sends messages from a special mail address that deletes all mail received and it takes care never to reply to messages that look like they come from mailing lists, administrative accounts or other pieces of software.
To use the auto responder two things must be configured on our system. Firstly, you must have mail forwarding rules defined and operational for the domain name. Secondly, you need to ensure that you have the correct DNS setup for the autoreply.domain.dom subdomain. Specifically, you need to ensure that all mail for the subdomain is handled by the host autoreply.gradwell.net.
If you are using the "Default Web Hosting on Red" zone file, then this is already setup for you. If you are using a zone file of your own creation, simply edit that zone file and add the line:
autoreply MX 10 autoreply.gradwell.net.
Please note the trailing full stop