Typical, the most important email you have to send this week is undelivered, it’s returned with a robot typed message a few days later telling you you’re on a blacklist, or worse still, you receive no notification!

This is becoming a regular occurrence for many email users as the battle against spam senders and spam prevention gears up another level. The question is ‘can anything be done to improve your email reliability?’ and to save those moments where you have to apologise for yet another non-delivered email to that important client.

Let’s look first at why this happens and why it’s happening more frequently to innocent mail users. No one likes spam and recent figures show *85% of all daily email is spam, so the good guys decided to build some systems that fully automate the process of identifying spam senders or more accurately the mail servers they use to perform the deed.

This is a great idea, block emails sent from the mail server… or is it? Most email users don’t own or operate their own mail server. They share as part of a hosting package, which is also cheaper as all users share the cost. But guess what happens if one of your fellow sharers sends spam, or their computer has a virus which sends out spam, or their site is hacked and that sends out spam? The mail server is now known as a spam sending source and this affects everyone else who shares it.

Once a mail server’s IP address is on a blacklist commonly called DNSBL or RBL and marked as a potential spam sender, any ISP, domain, or service that checks with a blacklist service may not accept mail from you or anyone else sharing the blacklisted mail server.

To get removed usually takes a process of requesting a de-listing from the blacklist maintainer. Some blacklist maintainers allow you to do this and some require your hosting provider to do this and in our experience this process takes a minimum of 24 hours.

As an immediate solution to getting your emails sent, you can send emails through another account like Gmail or Yahoo although business emails sent from personal accounts can look unprofessional and isn’t a permanent solution. Resolution clients also have access to a webmail facility which allows you to send/receive your business emails and this uses a different mail server to the domain so can provide an interim solution while waiting to be removed from a blacklist.

To check if your mail server is blacklisted you can visit the following websites:
http://mxtoolbox.com/blacklists.aspx
http://whatismyipaddress.com/blacklist-check

Not all shared hosting is the same and some providers put their mail clients first and monitor the levels of mail sent from an account and also offer some level of measuring legitimate mail prior to sending the mail out. Shared hosts can always do more in this progressively changing environment, however these two actions alone vastly reduce the potential of spam mail being sent from your mail server and the pain of being blacklisted.

If you are interested in finding out more about your current email setup and the level of protection you have from being blacklisted, contact Resolution and we can discuss this with you and advise you on the best available options.

*sources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Email_spam#Statistics_and_estimates

Written by. Matt Groom

Matt Groom