4 Steps to Remove IP (or Email Domain) from Blacklist with Ease

Author
Vladyslav Podoliako
Published
Mar 15, 2023
Reading duration
14 min

Picture this - after weeks of strategizing and crafting the perfect email, the fruit of your labor is finally paying off. You're watching your deliverability rates soar. But then, you log onto your email marketing platform to check the stats, and your heart sinks as you watch your deliverability rates drop near to 0%. 💔

Chances are, your email may have landed on a dreaded email domain blacklist. Spam emails constitute 80% of all email traffic. This excessive amount has resulted in stringent blacklisting measures aimed at maintaining spam-free inboxes.

When your email server is suspected of sending out spam, your IP address or email domain can get blacklisted. So, there are two cases:

FYI: it's a gradual process — your domain gets blacklisted first, and if you actually have a spam issue and don’t fix it, your IP can easily get blacklisted in time. Email providers typically look at the reputation of the sending domain first, as it is a more permanent identifier. 

Luckily, getting your domain or IP blacklisted is not a dead end.

Our team of email deliverability experts will guide you through the email blacklist removal process (with just 4 steps to follow) to ensure your emails reach their intended recipients. We’ve already helped dozens of businesses like Byte Pitch fix the issue and escape from invisibility to 10 appointments per month.

Take a deep breath, and bid farewell to your fears of blacklists forever.

The Guide Overview:

  1. Your IP Address or Domain Is Blacklisted: What Happens Next?
  2. Step 1: Do an email domain blacklist check and uncover reasons for getting blacklisted
  3. Step 2: Make sure to fix the issues before proceeding, if any
  4. Step 3: Ask nicely to delist you or look at further instructions
  5. Step 4: Take preventive measures not to become blacklisted again
  6. Things To Learn From Blacklists

So, Your Domain or IP Adress Is Blacklisted: What Happens Next?

Your deep breath is a good start. Now, let’s clarify what happens after your domain or IP gets into a dreaded blacklist. Initially, email blacklists were supposed to be good cops and were created as a part of the anti-spam initiative Mail Abuse Prevention Systems (MAPS).

❗ Note that a whitelist is not the opposite of a blacklist in this context. To whitelist an email address just means you add them to your approved senders' list. 

Every known blacklist records different IPs and domains marked by spam filters as unreliable and potentially spam-driven. 

 So, here is what happens once your IP or domain hits a blacklist:

Pics 1

Mind you – you don’t have to be a world-wanted spammer to hit the blacklist. You may be a mere culprit or accidentally trigger one of the spam filters because of using spam trigger words, for instance. In most cases, if the issue is not serious and the removal request is approved, the request will be processed immediately.

And, here’s your first pain reliever — blacklists aren’t permanent. And the sooner you start fixing the matter, the easier it will be. 

Keep in mind some blacklists are more influential than others. If you end up being blacklisted by Spamhaus, Barracuda, or Cloudmark – you should act instantly.  

Detailed Instructions for Effective Blacklist Removal

Enough with the theoretical chit-chat. The following practical steps will help you put the blacklists and increase deliverability scores in no time.

Step 1: Do an email domain blacklist check and uncover reasons for getting blacklisted

The safest shortcut to take when trying to determine if you belong to the list of wrongfully blacklisted email domains would be to go to either MxToolBox or Blacklist Alert and perform a quick yet effective blacklist check. It is possible to carry out a manual check and go to every major blacklist that pops up. Blacklist monitors will test your domain against all major and minor blacklists in seconds.

MXToolbox – is a free blacklist checker that covers over 100 different backlinks. It is fast and effective, not to mention free of charge. You should take the following steps:

  1. Go to the official service page.
  2. Enter your IP or domain address.
  3. Press Check Blacklist.

    Image3

  4. Inspect the results.

In case your IP address or domain is currently blacklisted, the blacklists will appear at the top of the list. Besides you can also discover why you are added to a specific blacklist. The service provides details on the reason too. 

Image1


BlacklistAlert – is slightly different from the previous service. The tool can automatically detect your IP when you visit the site so that you can check it even faster.

  1. Press the Check button to see a list of all blacklists in a few seconds.
  2. Should you be on any of the tested blacklists, there will be a Listed note next to a blacklist. You can further investigate why you’ve ended up on the list by opening the See Why tab.

Image2

It is also possible to type in your IP or domain address manually.

Expert tip from Folderly Email Deliverability Team: 

We recommend also checking your blacklist status with standard email deliverability services — Mail Tester, Mail Genius, and Glock Apps.

Go through every checker and, then, compare and analyze your results. 

If all the services show the same list of blacklists, then, 99.9% you’ve got the correct results and can move to the next steps.

If only one of the mentioned services shows a particular blacklist, then, you need to go to the blacklist website and check directly whether your domain and IP are blacklisted just by typing your IP. Also, keep in mind that sometimes the tools may not show the real picture. And if your email deliverability doesn't move from the dead end, no matter how hard you try, consider contacting blacklists directly. 

Common reasons for your email domain being blacklisted (or how not to do what spammers do):

  • Incorrect DKIM & SPF settings. Emails haven’t been correctly authenticated with DKIM & SPF at a minimum. (Learn more about how to set up SPF correctly).
  • Poor list hygiene – despite how perfect your emails are, they will land in the spam folder sooner rather than later if you keep sending them to inactive email addresses. A bounce rate as low as 3-5% is considered a sign that your list needs to be cleaned. Don’t forget to get users’ explicit confirmation for emailing, and treat users’ unsubscribe requests seriously as well.
  • Hack attacks – fraudulent impersonation is more common than you suspect. 3.4 billion spam emails are sent every day as a result of phishing, the most common form of cybercrime.
  • High sending volumes – spammers usually send as many emails as they can, and you should monitor your sending volumes not to trigger blacklist suspicion. You may reconsider your sending frequency to keep the issue at bay.
  • Sudden sending volume increase – if you’ve been exchanging 20 emails daily and suddenly move up to 100 or more, the spam filters will deem the activity suspicious. That is why IP warm-ups and organic sending volume increases are critical.
  • Spam complaints – some users will always complain, and there is little to be done. However, if your spam complaint rate keeps growing, you must dive deeper into the problem to find the root of it and fix it.
  • Low-quality /not optimized email content – poorly written, spam-like, and fishy emails will be flagged as spam by both the recipients and the spam filters, which inevitably leads to hitting a spam domain list. You can also always quickly check whether your email content has spam-triggering words by using spam words checker.

Step 2: Make sure to fix the issues before proceeding, if any (approach this seriously!)

As you carry the email domain blacklist check and learn that you’ve been added to one, you may want to rush and ask for delisting. However, you must look at the root of the problem before initiating the process. 

FYI: The more often you get on the blacklist, the more challenging it will be to improve sender reputation.

If you don’t address the issue, your domain may be permanently blocked in the long run, and the only way out would be to get a new one

Besides, major blacklists like Spamhaus require a detailed report of what action you took to solve the issue to delete you from the blacklist:

Image4

Don’t skip this step before moving forward with delisting.                          

Step 3: Ask nicely to delist you or look at further instructions

There are a few ways to remove a domain from the blacklist. Mainly it depends upon the type of blacklist you end up with, and how serious your initial problem is. There are Major and Real-time blacklists to distinguish between.

Real-time blacklists or RBLs usually remove the block after some time, so the domain owner does not need to interfere. These blacklists are far more numerous than major blacklists and use different criteria to temporarily block a user from reaching the recipient’s inbox. After the time passes, you can interact with your user base as usual unless you don’t qualify as a big-time spammer.

Real-time blacklists most commonly block your domain.

Major blacklists take a lot more time and data to list you. Often, they rely on various RBLs and spam filter signals to add a sender to the list of suspicious users. Once you get onto one of those, you must contact them to have your domain delisted manually

FYI: Sometimes, you will be required to wait for 2–3 months to get delisted, or you will need to pay some money to streamline the process.

Since Major blacklists are trickier than regular RBLs, you may require a simple guide on how to act and what to do when you find your domain mentioned on one of the most popular blacklists. Use the table below for your benefit.

Blacklist name

Steps to take to delist your domain

Barracuda

  1. Go to the Barracuda Removal Page
  2. Send your delisting request, including your email server IP address, email address, phone number, and a reason for removal.

    If you give a valid explanation, removal requests are usually looked into and dealt with within 12 hours of being submitted.

Spamhaus

  1. Look up your domain, IP, or hash through the Blocklist Removal Center
  2. Submit a removal request
  3. Provide what caused the spam issue, what action you took to solve it, and what further actions you took to prevent spam problems again.

SORBS

  1. Create a personal account http://www.sorbs.net/cgi-bin/support
  2. Choose the “Delist An IP Address” option
  3. Once you find your IP address, select “proceed”.
  4. Select the “Get Help/Support” button to create a support ticket and wait for a message indicating your ticket was opened.  

Information from SORBS Support: by registering, you will be able to manage your own networks and listings (if eligible), including delisting yourself without having to wait for SORBS staff to assist you.

Suomispam

  1. Lookup your domain through https://suomispam.net/#!lookup/
  2. Initiate a delisting request after addressing the reason for being blacklisted.

Suomispam Help Center underlines that users may request for their domains to be delisted only if the reason they are listed no longer applies to them.

DroneBL

  1. Use the quick delisting process to quickly request removal from DroneBL. https://mxtoolbox.com/problem/blacklist/drone-bl

Trend Micro

  1. Request delisting through https://servicecentral.trendmicro.com/en-US/ers/

SPAMRATS

  1. Check your IP address status through https://www.spamrats.com/removal.php
  2. Address the core reason and get delisted quite easily.

WPBL

  1. Remove an IP address using the Lookup facility at the top of the page. This no-questions-asked, instant removal facility (Removed records still remain in database backups).

0SPAM

  1. Check your IP on the main page https://0spam.org/.
  2. Request Removal by reporting a fix on your server (you should provide an explanation of what has been done).

Spamcop

You will be automatically delisted in 24 hours should no further spam reports hit the surface.

Microsoft

Send a personal email to Microsoft or fill out their delisting form to remove your domain from the internal blacklist. Check more in this Microsoft Guide.

A little reminder — is often not as simple as sending a manual request to delist your IP. If the situation of getting blacklisted was serious, you may wait for months and spend lots of sources to get delisted. Even more, in some cases, it makes sense to create a new domain and use another IP address.

That’s why we recommend following the practices described in the next step as carefully as possible.

Step 4: Take preventive measures not to become blacklisted again

After you initiate email blacklist removal and finalize the process, you may want to call it a day and carry on with your campaign routines. However, make sure to add a few practices to your to-go-to list.

Integrated approach to email deliverability

While you do everything within your power to spike those deliverability rates, you are just a human, after all. It is never a waste to opt for high-end professional assistance when it comes to locating and solving deliverability issues

Platforms like Folderly have spent a lot of time researching the field so that you get the best practical and effective solutions for any pressing matter. For instance, Slash – a Venture Studio from Singapore – managed to bring their deliverability score to an impressive 85%, starting with only 15%, all due to the experience and thirst for perfection that the Folderly team is known for. 

If you adopt such an integrated approach and abide by all the presented rules and follow expert guidance, you won’t fear hitting a blacklist ever again.

Judicious email address collection

Speeding things up a notch with a purchased email list may seem like a great idea at the time, but in the long run, it will send you off straight to the prominent blacklists. You can’t rely on anyone when it comes to email address collection. Such lists are often filled with inactive emails, not to mention spam traps. Sending messages to such addresses will spike your bounce rate and catch the blacklist’s eye quickly.

Double opt-in feature

This precautious step is closely intertwined with those mentioned above. The fact is that a two-step verification that a double opt-in is responsible for will filter out users who aren’t interested in your product. While first, this step can result in approximately 20% fewer opt-ins than with single opt-ins, double opt-ins are superior regarding ALL other statistics. And, remember, when it comes to email deliverability, it’s always a long-term game.

Protect the server

Present-day hackers get more creative as we speak. Hijacking a domain or IP address is one of their favorite means to spread bots and malware. Thus, it is critical to ensure that your sending server is clean of those and that your security means are all intact and up-to-date.

Utilize virtual private networks (VPNs) carefully

Some people mistakenly think that 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.

However, here are the necessary points to remember from the Folderly team before using VPN:
✅ You can use VPN to change location if you need it for client outreach.
✅  VPN might be a good alternative if you wait for your IP to be delisted.
🚫 Never use VPN as a preventive measure. It may negatively affect your email deliverability and trigger spam filters in the long term, if your domain will be associated with different locations.

Things To Learn From Blacklists

Modern blacklists are like a two-edged sword. They protect users from spam, but can’t always tell an innocent sender from a culprit. Yet, it is vital to realize that the main goal that blacklists pursue isn’t to stop you from sending emails but to perfect your campaign, though in a bit time-consuming and a tad damaging way.

If you manage to hand-pick your mailing list, clean it regularly and pay attention to what your subscribers want you to do, you may avoid getting on one of the blacklists. And even if not — email blacklist removal will be as flawless as possible. 

What matters is solving issues before they appear.


Expert email deliverability solutions like Folderly are always there for you to reach out a helping hand and boost your deliverability rates along with content quality. Our experts will guide you through the process so you can learn how to test email deliverability and fix it like a pro. 

Lastly, it isn’t rocket science to carry out a timely blacklist check and ask the service to delist you. However, these timely precautions and expert assistance will keep you off the blacklist radar!  

 

 

 

Vladyslav Podoliako
Author:
Vladyslav Podoliako
Founder & CEO
Vlad is a Founder & CEO of Belkins and Folderly, a series entrepreneur and investor with over ten years of management expertise in companies with 100 million evaluation. Vlad has years of experience building and growing service companies and SaaS startups in SalesTech and MarTech. He is skilled in creating successful businesses from the ground up and building top-notch teams that drive all ventures to the top of their industries.

Also you may like

Email Spam Filters 101: Types & How To Use Them Wisely
Email Spam Filters 101: Types & How To Use Them Wisely

Spam filters are scary. Sometimes it feels like they do everything possible to destroy your outreach. However, this isn’t true. Spam filters exist to protect your outreach. Your goal is to prove that you’re a legitimate sender. Discover the intricacies of email spam filters, how they work, and quick steps for bypassing them like a pro in this article.