IP Blacklist Removal. What to Do If You Have a Blacklisted IP Address?

Author
Vladislav Podolyako
Published
May 17, 2022
Reading duration
7m

One of the most worrying occurrences in tech today is having your IP address blacklisted. The effects can be devastating, especially if you depend on emailing for your marketing campaigns. It can cause a significant loss of business to your organization, which also translates to the loss of much-needed revenue. The good news is that the situation can be rectified.

What is it to be blacklisted?

If your IP address has been blacklisted, it means it has been put on a virtual list of emailers that are suspected of peddling malicious activity across the web. It may include spamming or sending virus-containing emails. Blacklists are usually compiled by organizations, such as Spamhaus, that work toward combating Internet spam by using spam filters. The major setback of having your IP address put on a blacklist is that it negatively affects your email deliverability. Your messages will no longer be able to reach the intended coverage.

Types of blacklists

Blacklists are mainly put under two classifications. These are namely external and internal. These two categories are described below.

Internal 

An internal blacklist is compiled by email service providers, such as Yahoo or Gmail.

External

An external blacklist is compiled by a third party. Sometimes, email service providers engage the services of an external blacklist. In order for your IP address to get delisted from an external blacklist, one will need to contact the independent party rather than the mailbox service provider. 

Criteria for coming up with a blacklist

It is paramount to note that each blacklisting organization uses different criteria for compiling those lists. They include evidence-based reasons, policy issues, and technical listings.

Evidence-based reasons 

These are due to having both direct and indirect evidence coming into the blacklisting organization’s servers, suggesting that the IP addresses are sending spam messages. Usually, users who receive unsolicited messages report such spam databases to websites. As a result, such IP addresses may find themselves on the blocking lists.

Policy issues

Sometimes, an IP address can be blacklisted because it has made policy violations. For instance, it may be that the recipient does not want to receive emails from particular ISPs or regions. 

Technical listings

Technical issues also make up the list of some reasons IP addresses get blacklisted. These include being in a suspicious range of addresses, erroneous reverse DNS records, and banner greetings.

Reasons why your IP address has been blacklisted

Sometimes, the owner of the IP address might not be familiar with the technical terms that explain why they got blacklisted. The following are some reasons why one ends up on a blacklist.

  • Poor mailing list maintenance: Failing to confirm unsubscribe requests and having a lot of incorrect email addresses can result in your IP address being blacklisted.
  • Security breach: Sometimes, hackers gain access to your account. They may use it for a host of violations, such as sending spam emails or spreading viruses.
  • Bad email list: You could also be blacklisted because the email addresses you bought from a third party feature spam trap email addresses.

IP blacklist removal steps

Yes, we have discussed what a blacklist is and what may cause one to be put there. We now need to focus on what you may actually do if you happen to find yourself on one. Described below are the series of steps you should take if you find your IP has been put on a blacklist.

Relax, do not panic

If your IP address is blacklisted, it is paramount that you should remain calm. Of course, it is probably the first time, but it is crucial to understand that you are not the first one to find yourself in that situation. It is also important to note that there are people whose full-time job is to help in incidents such as these. They will not be rude; they probably spend their entire working hours helping others in the same situations as yours.

Find the address that blacklisted you

The next step is to identify the IP addresses which blacklisted your email address. As highlighted before, there are numerous addresses that are involved in blacklisting email addresses in an attempt to fight spam online. To do this, you can utilize tools such as MultiRBL or MXtoolbox. For instance, the former is a powerful service that can help you look up against DNS in more than one hundred and fifty blacklists. Such tools help you pick the records on which your IP address has been mentioned. Identifying the IP address that you got your email address blacklisted is a crucial step toward rectifying the problem.

Do a blacklist evaluation

After identifying the blacklisting IP address, you should do a blacklist check. It is a process that involves assessing the impact that the blacklist has on email deliverability. Some blacklists do not affect your email sending ability, while others may block them entirely. Some organizations will automatically retract your IP address from their blacklists after a certain time has elapsed after the commission of the spamming offense.

Request delisting

The next step is to request that your IP address be removed from the blacklist. To do this, you should go onto the association’s website and go through their delisting requirements. It is paramount to keep the interaction polite and professional. It will go a long way in ensuring that you get the much-needed help. Most often, following the blacklisting organization’s delisting requirements will do the trick. It is fairly easy, do not worry.

How to avoid having a blacklisted IP address 

Of course, after getting delisted, the next important step is to ensure that you never find yourself there again, ever. The following are some steps you can take to ensure that your IP address does not end up on blocking lists.

Maintain an opt-in list

Opt-in lists can be helpful. They go a long way in ensuring that you do not get blacklisted. They prevent users from receiving content that they have not solicited or subscribed to. It is crucial to eliminate those addresses that have bounced back your emails. It is because repeatedly sending emails to such addresses increases the chances of your IP address being blacklisted. 

Verify email addresses

Users should also make use of email verification tools, such as Kickbox and Zero Bounce, to ensure that their email addresses are authentic. The tools also enable you to avoid opening fraudulent links that may make your device susceptible to cyber-attacks.

Safeguard your privacy

As highlighted before, sometimes you become a victim of a blacklisted IP address because hackers will have used your credentials to send spam emails. One of the best ways to avoid the occurrence of this is to ensure that you guard your online privacy. For instance, it is best not to use easily predictable passwords such as your birth year or surname. Creating passwords that incorporate numbers, symbols, and lower and uppercase characters will reduce the chances of spammers hacking your account.

Utilize Virtual Private Networks (VPNs)

One of the best ways to combat blacklisting is through the use of Virtual Private Networks. As its name suggests, it gives you a virtual IP address. It enables you to send your emails without being tied to a specific IP address that can be blacklisted.

Conclusion

Finding your IP address on the blacklist greatly reduces your IP reputation and negatively affects your email deliverability. Mostly, the scenario is caused by having an unusually high number of emails categorized as spam. Several organizations are committed to combating spam online, and they are the ones that are responsible for coming up with such lists. They utilize highly sensitive spam filters.

However, the good news is the issue can be rectified. Generally, all you need to do is identify the various DNSBLs that you are on and follow their delisting requirements. After being successfully removed from the blacklist, you will also need to ensure that you don’t find yourself on it again. It includes taking steps such as maintaining your opt-in list, verifying email addresses, safeguarding your privacy, and utilizing Virtual Private Networks. 

Vladislav Podolyako
Author:
Vladislav Podolyako
Founder & CEO
Vlad’s decades of entrepreneurial wisdom and business building experience have allowed him to successfully mentor a diverse group of business owners, entrepreneurs in growing their companies. A recognized expert in the areas of transforming organizational culture and leadership development, B2B Sales, Marketing, spent more than 10 years building technology products, with a background in communication networks and electronic device engineering.

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