E-Mail Spam Blacklist: How To Find Out If You’re On One, And How To Get Off It

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Spam filter buttonWhat’s potentially worse than getting lots of spam in our inbox? Possibly when email systems think you’re the spammer! And as a result, you are hearing from recipients that they are not receiving your emails.

This can be a huge problem for small businesses that are sending out everything from invoices to requests for proposals via email. The good news is the solution is typically fairly straightforwards – our experts explain.

Article Overview

What Is A Spam Blacklist?

Spam blacklists are lists of IP addresses used to keep track of servers that have been known to send out large amounts of spam (unsolicited email). These IP’s could come from your ISP (Internet Service Provider), since they typically offer email accounts and/or websites with their service plans.

It’s therefore not uncommon for spammers to take advantage of these accounts. Large ISP’s especially are more likely to harbor spammers simply due to the large number of subscribers.

IP Addresses On Blacklists

It’s important to know if the IP address (an address locator to identify your internet, web, or email location) you are sending mail from is on a blacklist, because it will impact how many people receive your emails. If you’re sending an important email to someone, you want to make sure it arrives and doesn’t end up in junk folder after junk folder.


If you’re running your own web server, you especially want to make sure your IP is not on a blacklist because you don’t want your customers getting spam blocked. This will hurt your email service reputation.


If you’re a casual user with a free email address such as Hotmail, Yahoo, or Gmail, you also want to make sure you received an IP block that hasn’t been blacklisted. While educational (.edu) and government (.gov) email accounts are less susceptible to being blacklisted (because their registration is restricted, so spammers have difficulty getting access to them), no one is immune. Regardless of the origin of your email account, you want to make sure you haven’t been blacklisted.

How Can I Tell If I’m On A Blacklist?

Visit the MX Toolbox Blacklist Check page and enter the IP address of your server to see if it’s been blacklisted. How do you find the IP address of your mail server? Ask your email service provider. If you’re having trouble finding out who this is, you can ask us in the comments below – just make sure not to include personal details.

Business Owners: Are You Hosting Emails?

If you’re a web designer or hosting provider and want to host your own emails, without having to deal with the headache of providing tech support to email clients that are facing blacklist issues, consider signing up for Rackspace Email. You can get it for as little as $2 per user per month. They offer 24/7/365 phone support, white-listed email servers, spam filtering using the Cloudmark system, and more.

Take the headache of having to stand by the phone and answer the same question over and over again, and offer your clients reliable email service. You’ll recognize the Rackspace name – the same company known for its high level, fully managed hosting packages. They bought the email specialist company Mailtrust a couple of years back and enhanced their service offerings with dedicated Rackspace support personnel.

Stop spam signGetting Too Much Spam In Your Inbox?

We’ve reviewed several spam fighting solutions in our experts’ guide. We cover solutions for all the major operating systems and mobile devices, free solutions as well as paid professional solutions for those with mission critical business email.

Worried your email is not getting delivered?

About The Author:

Alex has been involved on the business side of the internet since the early 2000's. He holds both a Management Science degree from the University of California at San Diego as well as a Computer Science degree from NJIT.

We Rock Your Web had its roots back in 2004 as the tech blog for a web design and development company Alex founded that has grown and evolved into the parent company of We Rock Your Web.

While his foundation is rooted in web development, his expertise today lies in content and digital marketing, SEO, organic and paid search, analytics, and publishing. Alex is an avid tennis player, nature enthusiast, and hiker, and enjoys spending time with his wife, friends, and dogs.

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This is not a good idea when everything can be a “source” of good money.

I must admit, I do receive lots of spam each day and sometimes I’d like to report their IP’s but I never do. Mail today offers a lot of filters and other options so we can get our spam in the spam folder so we don’t have to see it everyday.


Mathew Farney

There are so many anti-spam utilities out there – is Spam Bully really the best? What do you guys think?

Ahhh, what a pain! Someone hacked into my Hotmail account – okay, it’s probably my own fault, considering my password was easy to guess. But immediately spam emails were sent out to everyone in my address book, and now I’m afraid my email address may have been blacklisted. In fact, I received a notice from one of the servers the spam went to saying I had been blacklisted. What can I do about this?

ISP’s (Internet Service Providers) have understandings with the major public email providers – ie. Hotmail, Yahoo, Gmail, etc. that puts them on a special filtered list, so in most cases emails are not blacklisted. Why is this done? Because the public (free) email providers wouldn’t get much business if their clients couldn’t send any mails out – ie. if they never arrive.

Most likely your emails will still receive their destination. However, this doesn’t mean they won’t end up in your recipient’s junk box. In most cases, emails from free email domains (those listed above) are automatically categorized as junk, because of the high likelihood of spam mail originating from them.

great blog, very interesting information.