Email bouncebacks can be frustrating for both senders and recipients. When an email fails to reach its intended recipient and is returned to the sender, it is referred to as a bounce back. Bouncebacks can occur for various reasons, including invalid email addresses, full mailboxes, server issues, or spam filters. As an expert in the field, I will guide you through the process of checking email bouncebacks and ensuring successful email delivery.

Understanding Email Bounce Backs

how to check email bounce back

Before we delve into the methods of checking email bouncebacks, let's first understand what they are and why they happen. When you send an email, it goes through multiple servers and networks before reaching the recipient's mailbox. Along this journey, various checks are performed to ensure the email's legitimacy and deliverability.

If any of these checks fail, the email is bounced back to the sender with an error message indicating the reason for the failure. Bouncebacks can be classified into two main types: hard bounces and soft bounces.

Hard Bounces

A hard bounce occurs when an email fails to reach the recipient due to permanent reasons, such as an invalid or non-existent email address. Hard bounces typically indicate a persistent issue that cannot be resolved, and the email should be removed from the recipient list to maintain a healthy sender reputation.

Soft Bounces

On the other hand, a soft bounce is a temporary failure that prevents an email from being delivered but suggests a possibility of successful delivery in the future. Soft bounces can happen due to reasons like a full mailbox, server issues, or temporary email delivery failures. It is recommended to retry sending the email to the recipient's address after a certain period to see if the issue is resolved.

Methods to Check Email Bounce Backs

how to check email bounce back

Now that we understand the basics of email bounce backs, let's explore the methods to check them and ensure successful email delivery.

1. Analyze Bounce Back Messages

When an email bounces back, it usually comes with an error message or a bounce back notification. Analyzing these messages is the first step in understanding why the email failed to reach its destination. Look for specific error codes or explanations provided in the bounce back message, as they can give you insights into the nature of the problem.

2. Utilize Email Bounce Back Analysis Tools

To simplify the process of checking email bounce backs, you can leverage specialized tools and services that analyze bounce back messages. These tools parse the bounce back messages, extract relevant information, and provide a detailed report on the reasons behind the bounce backs. MXToolbox and NeverBounce are popular examples of such tools that can help you identify and resolve email delivery issues.

3. Monitor Email Delivery Metrics

Regularly monitoring email delivery metrics can give you valuable insights into the bounce rates and overall deliverability of your email campaigns. By keeping an eye on metrics like bounce rates, spam complaints, and open rates, you can identify trends and patterns that indicate potential issues. This proactive approach allows you to take corrective measures and improve your email delivery success.

4. Maintain a Clean Email List

To maintain a clean email list, follow these best practices:

  1. Regularly Cleanse Your List: Remove inactive or unengaged subscribers from your email list. Send re-engagement campaigns to inactive subscribers and remove those who don't respond.
  2. Use Double Opt-In: Implement a double opt-in process where subscribers confirm their email addresses by clicking a link in a verification email. This helps ensure that only genuine email addresses are added to your list.
  3. Monitor Bounce Rates: Keep an eye on bounce rates after each campaign. High bounce rates can indicate invalid or inactive email addresses. Remove these addresses from your list to maintain a clean list.
  4. Provide Clear Unsubscribe Options: Make it easy for subscribers to unsubscribe from your emails. Include an unsubscribe link in every email and promptly honor unsubscribe requests. This helps avoid spam complaints and keeps your list clean.
  5. Segment Your List: Divide your email list into smaller segments based on demographics, interests, or engagement levels. This allows you to tailor your content to specific groups, ensuring higher engagement and reducing the risk of unsubscribes.
  6. Regularly Authenticate Your Emails: Implement email authentication protocols like SPF (Sender Policy Framework), DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail), and DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance) to verify your sending domain and improve deliverability. This also helps prevent spammers from using your domain.
  7. Monitor Engagement Metrics: Pay attention to metrics like open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates. Identify subscribers who haven't engaged with your emails for an extended period and consider removing them from your list to maintain better engagement rates.
  8. Avoid Purchasing Email Lists: Never buy or use purchased email lists. These lists often contain outdated or inaccurate information, and sending emails to such lists can harm your sender reputation. Focus on building your own list organically.
  9. Regularly Update and Validate Email Addresses: Implement a process to verify the accuracy of email addresses in your list periodically. Use email validation services to check the validity of email addresses and remove any that are invalid or mistyped.
  10. Stay Compliant with Privacy Laws: Familiarize yourself with privacy laws such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the CAN-SPAM Act. Ensure that you're following all relevant regulations and obtain proper consent before adding subscribers to your list.


Checking email bounce backs is essential for maintaining a successful email delivery system. By understanding the causes of bounce backs and implementing appropriate solutions, you can improve your email deliverability, enhance engagement with your audience, and maximize the effectiveness of your email marketing campaigns. Stay proactive in monitoring and addressing bounce backs to ensure that your messages reach the right recipients, increasing the chances of achieving your communication goals.