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Finding a replacement for my ISP's smtp server

I've known for a long while that there was something
strange about sending mail via my ISP. They have made
it clear in that they do not require or use TLS. It
occurs to me that perhaps my computer does not have
installed the appropriate certs to function with TLS.
How would I ever have known they were missing if they
were not being used? So maybe their goofyness has allowed me to miss something that I was doing something wrong from way back when I first got started
in Debian in about Y2K. Certs are used for https and
these must be on the computer because it manages to
connect to my banks (2) , but maybe the ones needed to do SMTP are some different? How can I check. I have found some instructions for using gmail as a smart host and I'm trying to follow them, but things are not
working. When I press the 'y' key in mutt to send an
email, the message 'sending...' displays in the bottom
line, but it stays there for many minutes when it once would accept an email is just a few seconds. How can I
find out what is happening during that time? Is there
some debug tool?

Thoughts or suggestions?


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