Email Header Analyzer

Purpose: Standalone Excel (VBA) download the can be used to analyze email headers and show transfer times between mails servers.

Download: Ubergiek’s Email Header Analyzer

Hey folks! This past weekend, while working a pretty large storage cutover, I noticed email seemed to be very delayed. This reminded me of a program I wrote some time back, and decided to see if it still worked. I previously wrote a stand-alone Email header analyzer that would take an email header, and would,…well, analyze it. For those who aren’t familiar with the way email travels from one service to another, here is the basic process.

When you draft an email and click ‘Send’, the message is saved on a server controlled by your email service provider (Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc….). The email provider then sends the messages through the various servers that may be between the original server and the edge mail server closest to the ‘Internet’.

Once the email message reaches this point, the edge email server determines the email recipient’s email domain by querying the DNS (Domain Name System) for a MS (mail server) record. Once a valid server is located, the message is sent from the sender’s edge server to the recipient’s edge server. Like before, there may be a few servers between the recipient’s edge and the server that finally sends the message to the recipient.

The reason I wrote the email header analyzer is that for a human, this can be terribly difficult to decipher. It was the complicated nature of analyzing headers that pushed me to write this application. There are other web based applications that perform similar functions, but nothing that was stand alone and free.

Sample Email Header Analyzer’s output:

header_analyzer_output

Notes about the Email Header Analyzer

1. Stand alone.

2. Written in Excel (VBA) since this platform was available on 99% of the systems my org used for support systems.

3. Exports Email detail/hop information into a .HTML formatted file.

4. Based on RFC822.

Thanks!

Martin (Ubergiek)

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