Do you know that sending emails to invalid or non-existent email addresses can harm your sender reputation and affect the deliverability of your future emails? That's why it's essential to test emails for bounce and remove any invalid or risky contacts from your email list. In this guide, we will cover everything you need to know about testing emails for bounce, including the reasons for email bounces, types of bounces, bounce codes, bounce handling, and tools for testing bounces.
What is Email Bounce?
Email bounce refers to the situation when an email fails to reach its intended recipient's inbox and gets returned to the sender. Bounces occur due to various reasons, such as invalid or non-existent email addresses, full mailboxes, blocked domains or IPs, spam filters, and other technical issues. Email bounces can harm your email deliverability and reputation if you don't handle them properly.
Types of Email Bounce
There are two types of email bounces: hard bounce and soft bounce.
- Hard Bounce: A hard bounce occurs when an email gets returned to the sender due to a permanent or unrecoverable issue, such as an invalid or non-existent email address, a blocked domain or IP, or a mailbox that doesn't exist anymore. Hard bounces are severe and need immediate action, such as removing the email address from your list or updating it with the correct information.
- Soft Bounce: A soft bounce occurs when an email gets returned to the sender due to a temporary or recoverable issue, such as a full mailbox, a busy server, or a spam filter that blocks the email due to its content or sender reputation. Soft bounces don't require immediate action but need monitoring to ensure that they don't turn into hard bounces.
Bounce codes are the error messages that email servers return to the sender to explain why an email bounced. Bounce codes can help you diagnose the issue and take appropriate action to resolve it. Bounce codes come in two types: SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) and RFC (Request for Comments).
- SMTP Bounce Codes: SMTP bounce codes are the most common type of bounce codes and indicate the status of the email delivery attempt. SMTP bounce codes are three-digit numbers that start with a 4 or 5 and are followed by a sub-code that gives more information about the issue. Some common SMTP bounce codes are 550 (mailbox unavailable), 554 (transaction failed), and 421 (service not available).
- RFC Bounce Codes: RFC bounce codes are less common than SMTP bounce codes and indicate the reason for the bounce, such as an invalid email address, a blocked domain or IP, or a spam filter. RFC bounce codes are four-digit numbers that start with a 4 or 5 and are followed by a sub-code that gives more information about the issue. Some common RFC bounce codes are 550 5.1.1 (user unknown), 554 5.7.1 (blocked), and 450 4.1.8 (mailbox busy).
Bounce handling refers to the process of receiving, analyzing, and processing bounces to remove invalid or risky email addresses from your list and improve your email deliverability and reputation. Bounce handling involves the following steps:
- Receiving Bounces: You can receive bounces in two ways: manually or automatically. Manually receiving bounces involves checking your email inbox or server logs for bounce messages and processing them one by one. Automatically receiving bounces involves using an email service provider (ESP) or a bounce handling tool that automatically detects and processes bounces as soon as they occur.
- Analyzing Bounces: Once you receive a bounce, you need to analyze its bounce code and message to determine the reason for the bounce and the appropriate action to take. You can use bounce handling software or services that provide detailed bounce reports and analytics to help you make informed decisions.
- Processing Bounces: After analyzing the bounce, you need to take appropriate action, such as removing the email address from your list or updating it with the correct information. You can use bounce handling tools that automate the process of processing bounces and ensure that your list stays clean and up-to-date.
Tools for Testing Bounces
There are various tools and services available that can help you test emails for bounce and improve your email deliverability and reputation. Some of the popular tools are:
- NeverBounce: NeverBounce is an email verification and validation tool that checks the validity and deliverability of email addresses and removes invalid or risky contacts from your list.
- ZeroBounce: ZeroBounce is an email verification and validation service that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to detect and remove invalid or risky email addresses from your list.
- Postmark: Postmark is an email delivery and bounce handling service that provides detailed bounce reports and analytics and helps you improve your email deliverability and reputation.
- Lemlist: Lemlist is an email outreach and automation tool that integrates with various email verification services and helps you test emails for bounce and improve your email deliverability and reputation.
Testing emails for bounce is crucial to ensure that your emails reach their intended recipients and don't harm your email deliverability and reputation. By understanding the reasons for email bounces, types of bounces, bounce codes, bounce handling, and tools for testing bounces, you can improve your email list hygiene and maximize your email marketing ROI. Choose the right bounce-handling tools and services that meet your needs and budget, and stay on top of your email deliverability and reputation.