As an email marketer or sender, it's crucial to understand the concept of email bounce and its implications. When you send an email, you expect it to reach the intended recipient's inbox successfully. However, sometimes emails don't reach their destination and bounce back to the sender. This can occur due to various reasons, such as invalid email addresses, server issues, or spam filters. In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore the meaning of email bounce, its types, and how you can effectively deal with bounces.

What is Email Bounce?

Email bounce refers to the situation when an email fails to reach the recipient's mailbox and is returned to the sender. When an email bounces, it indicates that the message was undeliverable for some reason. Bounced emails can be categorized into two main types: hard bounces and soft bounces.

Hard Bounces

A hard bounce occurs when an email is permanently rejected and cannot be delivered to the recipient. The most common reasons for hard bounces include:

Invalid or non-existent email addresses: If the recipient's email address is misspelled, doesn't exist, or has been deactivated, the email will result in a hard bounce.

Domain-related issues: If the recipient's email domain is incorrect or doesn't exist, the email will bounce.

Blocked email addresses: Some email servers have blocked certain email addresses or domains, resulting in a hard bounce.

Soft Bounces

A soft bounce occurs when an email is temporarily rejected and cannot be delivered to the recipient at that particular time. Soft bounces are usually caused by temporary issues such as:

Recipient's mailbox is full: If the recipient's mailbox has reached its storage limit, the email will bounce back. However, this can be resolved once the recipient clears their mailbox.

Temporary server issues: If the recipient's email server is experiencing temporary problems, such as being down or overloaded, the email will bounce temporarily.

Message size or attachment issues: Some email servers have restrictions on the size of incoming messages or attachments. If the email exceeds these limits, it may result in a soft bounce.

Dealing with Email Bounces

Now that you understand the types of email bounces, it's important to know how to handle them effectively. Here are some best practices:

1. Maintain a Clean Email List

To minimize bounces, ensure that your email list is up to date and regularly cleaned. Remove invalid or inactive email addresses and proactively monitor the quality of your subscriber data.

2. Use Double Opt-In

Implement a double opt-in process for new subscribers. This requires users to confirm their email addresses, reducing the chances of incorrect or mistyped addresses entering your list.

3. Monitor Bounce Rates

Keep an eye on your email bounce rates to identify potential issues. High bounce rates may indicate problems with your list quality or sending practices that need to be addressed.

4. Segment Your List

Segmenting your email list allows you to send targeted content to specific groups of subscribers. By sending relevant content, you can reduce the likelihood of bounces and improve overall engagement.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some commonly asked questions about email bounce:

1. Are hard bounces the same as spam?

No, hard bounces are not necessarily spam. They occur when an email is undeliverable due to invalid or non-existent email addresses, among other reasons.

2. Can I remove soft bounces from my email list?

Soft bounces are typically temporary issues and don't require immediate removal from your list. However, if an email continues to soft bounce repeatedly, it may be worth investigating further.

3. How can I prevent bounces from happening?

Preventing bounces involves maintaining a clean email list, using double opt-in, monitoring bounce rates, and adhering to best practices for email deliverability.


Understanding email bounce is essential for effective email marketing. By comprehending the different types of bounces and implementing best practices to minimize them, you can enhance the deliverability of your email campaigns and ensure your messages reach the intended recipients. Remember to regularly monitor bounce rates and take necessary actions to maintain a healthy and engaged subscriber base.