Why Your Email Problems Might Be Your Host’s Fault
Published on 11 Jan 2015 | Last updated on 5 May 2015
Has this happened to you: your emails seem to be shooting off into the netherworld, never to be heard from again. That is, they’re not getting any responses. Days go by and you realize there’s a growing list of people you’re still waiting to hear back from…such a strange coincidence, they should all ignore you at once.
But come to find out you’ve been blacklisted! Rather, your email server has been blacklisted. It’s been identified as a vehicle for spam, and there you were sending your important business emails to important clients, none the wiser.
What Are Email Blacklists?
There are public lists of mail servers that are blacklisted, which means any mail server can check that list before accepting email from that server. If it doesn’t like what it sees, email from the blacklisted server will never go through.
What’s more, if your web host doesn’t alert you that their/your mail server is blacklisted, you may not even know about it. Being blacklisted can simply mean your emails don’t go through, even though your site is still fine. In fact, many people everyday send out emails that don’t reach their destinations, totally ignorant of the fact that their own mail server is blacklisted.
How does blacklisting happen?
Your Email Problems Might Be Your Host’s Fault
Your website can suffer from blacklisting when your email server gets blacklisted. Mail servers get blacklisted when spammy-looking email gets transmitted from them.
Hosting accounts where you share a mail server with the host’s other customers are the types commonly found in blacklists. If you have this kind of shared hosting, then it’s possible your email could have issues reaching its destinations.
Not sure about your plan? Contact your host and ask. Not sure whether your server is blacklisted? Try a blacklist checker tool such as MXToolbox.
What a Good Host Will Do
Does your host have an anti-spam email policy? What happens if it’s violated? Do they allow their customers to send large amount of spam-identified email through their servers? Those are the same email servers you might be using, so it has an impact on your account, too. Like we mentioned above, being on the same IP address as someone who spams will eventually get you blacklisted. Again, you might not know it until you discover some emails aren’t getting through.
It might take even longer to discover if most of your emails do get through, but those with attachments don’t. Or sometimes only emails sent to Gmail accounts will get denied, for example. There are several ways a blacklist can affect your email account.
I Know, It’s Not Your Fault!
The unfortunate side of this sort of blacklisting is that your website may become an innocent bystander. Your host may let email spam happen, and if you’re on the same mail server, you’d be blacklisted along with the actual culprit. It’s because you’re sharing the same IP, and blacklists work on IP addresses.
Ask Your Web Host
In the end, you can shore up your website against hackers, but unless your web host is on board with security, assistance and regular policing of the mail server, you can still get blacklisted. Always research your hosting company before committing!