"451 ESMTP MailEnable Service temporarily refused connection" error when connecting to SMTP service


The client or server trying to send email to MailEnable receives the error:

451 ESMTP MailEnable Service temporarily refused connection at 10/19/19 00:01:25 from IP (xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx) because the server is too busy.

The SMTP Debug log shows:

ME-E0125: Connection Refused: (xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx) was refused because the inbound connection limit has been reached.


The SMTP service has a setting which allows the administrator to restrict how many concurrent inbound connections can be made to the SMTP service. The message occurs when this limit has been reached. There may be cases where this limit is being reached because there are lots of connections trying to brute force passwords, which is preventing your real users connecting. 


The server is giving a temporary error to the sender, so servers who receive this message will retry. If you need to increase the number of concurrent connections possible, this can be done through the administration program. The setting can be found in the properties of the SMTP service in the Inbound SMTP tab.  This is accessed by expanding the Servers->localhost->Services and Connectors branch, right clicking on the SMTP icon and selecting Properties from the popup menu. Under the Inbound tab, click the Settings button under the Advanced Settings heading and then you can change the maximum number of concurrent connections.

If you are getting a lot of connections trying to brute force guess passwords, make sure you have enabled abuse detection and prevention. In the administration program expand the Servers branch and right click on the localhost icon. Select Properties from the popup menu and click the "Policies" tab. Then click the "Enable abuse detection and prevention" and then click OK. This will make it so that those brute force attempts are dropped faster, and don't hold up a connection for valid users.



Product:MailEnable (ME-1.X Std-1.X Pro-1.X Ent-1.X)
Class:PRB: Product Problem or Issue
Revised:Thursday, June 25, 2020