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Common email bounce back errors

Common email bounce back errors

Often, if an email delivery fails, the original email is returned to its sender with an error explaining what caused the issue. These returned emails are referred to as bounce-back emails.

We prepared a list of common bounce back errors to help identify why your email might not be delivered to its intended recipient(s):

  • Mailbox not found
  • Invalid mailbox
  • User unknown
  • Mailbox unavailable
  • Mailbox not found

The most common reason for all of the above errors is that the email address was typed incorrectly or the mailbox that you are trying to reach no longer exists. Check that you have the spelling of the email correct.

  • Mailbox full
  • Mail quota exceeded

These error messages are showing that the recipient’s mailbox is full and the server will not accept any more messages until the user make more space available.

  • Connection timed out
  • Resources temporarily unavailable

The above errors relate to temporary problems with a mail server. The server will usually try to resend your message over a 48 hour period. After that timeframe, you should receive a notification in case the delivery has failed.

  • Unroutable address

This type of error can be due to a variety of reasons. The recipient’s email address might be misspelled. You also might have exceeded the maximum number of e-mails you are allowed to send per hour, in which case you should allow some time and then resend the mail. Your mail server might also be unable to determine the correct route to send your email message because of a DNS configuration error with the recipient domain’s MX records. This can be addressed by the owner of the recipient address.

  • Could not complete sender verify

This is a common error which happens when the username that you are authenticating your emails with is not correct. Make sure that you configure your email application to use the full email address as username instead and this issue should be resolved.
In addition to that, the error can occur if the recipient mail server requires valid SPF or DKIM records to be set up before they start accepting mail from your domain. More information on how to set up SPF and DKIM can be found here.

  • SPF check failed. IP is not allowed to send mail from somedomainname.com

The email was rejected because it failed the SPF authentication check that all incoming emails should pass in order to get delivered to their designated recipients. The owner of the domain name from which the email was sent to you has set “-all” in the domain’s SPF record. This means that all emails sent from servers not explicitly allowed in the domain’s SPF record are to be rejected. The email that bounced back was sent from a server not allowed in the SPF record and thus was rejected by our server and returned to its sender.

In order to fix the problem, the sender of the message should either change the “all” parameter of the SPF record so that it allows messages from servers not explicitly listed in the SPF or alternatively add the sending server to the allowed list in the said record.

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