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Sophos UTM/XG: Defer (-53) SMTP log retry time not reached


Here in this article we will discuss how to troubleshoot the issue when user is getting defer (-53) error under email >> mail logs.

This entry in the smtp.log is no error – it’s just information. If the remote mail server replies with a temporary error (for example because of active greylisting) the mail server of the UTM will retry it again after a specified time – those mail-IDs are then saved in a specific retry-database.

The default values for the retry-time specify retries every 2 minutes for 2 hours, then the retry intervals were increasing, starting at 1 hour and increasing each time by a factor of 1.5, up to 16 hours, then retries every 6 hours until 3 days have passed since the first failed delivery. If the Queue runner now runs the queue and tries to send a mail again that is in the delay-database and has not reached the next retry time this message will appear in the smtp.log Retry-time not reached for any host.


2013:11:12-00:03:32 VMUTM exim-out[11270]: 2013-11-12 00:03:32 1Vfo4v-0001Fe-2F == R=dnslookup T=remote_smtp defer (-53): retry time not reached for any host

* ‘remote_smtp defer (-53)’ – This is the remote station of the corresponding smtp-server. 

Retry-time table:

  • every 2 mins for the first 2 hours,
  • 1-hour x 1.5 until 16 hours are reached,
  • 6 hours until 3 days are reached


First you need to login to the sophos UTM CLI using this article, you can use this article for the same:

To reset the retry time for all emails and to force an immediate retry for all emails, you can delete the retry database:Stop the smtp daemon:

/var/mdw/scripts/smtp stop

Delete the database:

rm -f /var/storage/chroot-smtp/spool/input/db

Start the smtp daemon:

/var/mdw/scripts/smtp start

After performing the above steps, you will be able to send emails.


Login to sophos XG firewall CLI >> device management >> advanced shell

Please execute these two commands

rm /sdisk/spool/output/db/retry*;

exim -qff -v

After performing the above steps, you will able to send emails.

Hope this article helps you.