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- URLs mysteriously altered in HTML email
February 12, 2008, 11:57 am
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small emailing group (about 150) as part of a CMS for a customer.
I did argue against HTML emails but the customer is always right eh?
The email contains an image of the customer's logo (housed on the domain
a couple of URLs. One to the latest edition of their publication (limited to
on the domain server and one to the subscription page (for unsubscribing,
changing details etc.)
Apart from that it's simple HTML layout in the organisation's colors. no
So far so good. I thoroughly tested the php mailing script and it worked
Test emails delivered from the server (UK based Linux-Apache, PHP4.x)) to
both UK email addresses
and Holland (customer's location) were OK.
However, when the script (on the UK server) is operated from my customer's
location (ie. Holland) the URLs in the
received emails are transformed from absolute (
http://www.clientdomain.com/logo.jpg) to relative (../logo.jpg)
and obviouly don't function as required. Logo missing, links broken.
I have tested - as far as a non-expert can - the ISP routing for cacheing
problems, browser settings (IE 7),
no-cache headers etc., checked with our Server managers for explanations,
and run various tests
to try and figure out why what looks like such a precise and targeted
re-write of the URLs is occuring
under these particular circumstances.
Apart from discovering that the traceroute goes Holland, Berlin, Dublin,
Manchester, London nothing was revealed.
My favoured conclusion is that my customer (or someone!) is using some
security application that's actually re-writing the data.
I have of course asked if this is the case and am told that McAffe internet
security is running on his PC and that he can 'swich it off'
for testing purposes. I have my doubts. Of course my customer thinks I'm
making this all up and that really, the script doesn't work...
and I didn't test it properly.
So, I am re-writing the script to try and reduce two way communication
between client and server (ie. forget editing )
to prevent what I percieve as meddling with my carefully crafted data
somewhere along the line. I hope that will do the trick,
but meanwhile I must confess am rather obsessed with trying to work out what
the hell is going on.
Is it possible that McAffe is doing this - or can it be something else?
Re: URLs mysteriously altered in HTML email
Afaik, no email- or securityapplication will convert URL's in a mail to
relative URLs. They may block them, break them, strip them, but no
relative rewrites, for obvious reasons.
Impossible to tell without knowing what the mechanism is you use to create
one of its settings (this is for instance configurable with TinyMCE). If
content before it's mailed. If that differs, check the versions of
different libraries you may be using.