Email Hard Bounce and Solutions : 101 Guide to Email Bounces

June 6, 2019

When you enter the email or social media marketing you often need to send many emails to different addresses. This can lead to a certain number of people not getting emails from you. Here we will stablish what a “hard bounce” and a “soft bounce” are, in online marketing.

Later on, we will also provide a few tips and solutions for those undesired bounces. For now, let’s settle with knowing what they are and how they originate.

Email Bouncing


First let’s talk about what we define as a bounce in online marketing, this is usually referred as a failure to achieve a goal. However, in email marketing it’s a bit different, it refers to the inability to deliver an email.

This could be caused by a long list of issues. Depending on the problem it might be classified as either a hard bounce or a soft bounce. Every time your system fails to deliver a message, you’ll receive a notification. This note originates from the server of the recipient and it basically states a “cause.”

In reality it does provide information of what caused the problem, just don’t expect a straight answer. You will be informed of time and date of the delivery, the name and address of the server and a reason for the bounce. Usually in the form of a code, according to the code and the server we can stablish the problem and classify it.

A Soft Bounce

A Soft bounce means that the email address is valid and the mail reached its destination. It also tells us that due to a temporary error the email bounced back.

This could be caused because the mailbox was full, and as such unable to receive more mails. The server was down or the message was too large for the recipient’s mailbox. An example of this is the trying to send an email to a Gmail account that is experiencing a 502 error at the same time.

A soft bounce will likely fix itself with time and it’s nothing to worry too much over. It’s suggested to try and send the email up to 72 hours after the initial bounce. If the bounce persists, after that amount of time, it may be due to being in a block or deferral list.

A Hard Bounce

This is very different from the temporary problem that generally causes a soft bounce. It occurs when the address is non-existent or when it’s invalid. Incidentally it can also be caused by being placed in a suppression list or a permanent block list.

For example, your spam folder works like that, it redirects what the server thinks its trash email. Then, you decide if you want to keep receiving messages from it or not, if not they are place in a suppression list.

It’s possible that trying to send emails to an invalid address, repeatedly, decreases your reputation with the server. This is because the server might get accustomed to you sending emails that never reach a different server. As you might have guessed by now, a hard bounce refers to a mail that never even leaves the senders server.

Just to help clarify this, we have the following image.

Differences between a soft and hard bounce

A side from this. Is very important that you understand the dangers of email bouncing. As stated above it can let to a lower server reputation, further more it can also get you blacklisted. This means no connection and a semi-permanent block to a specific server, depending of the amount of hard bounces.

Just to give you an idea of how high your bouncing rate should be, check the Mail Chimp benchmark. Click Here. This a measure of an email marketing campaign launched by many companies.

As you see, almost all the companies in any industry sector present rate lower than 1%, for bounces that is. And we’re talking about millions of emails being delivered each year by these companies.

Tips to avoid bouncing.

tips to avoid bouncing

Right now, a side from using a few services and pages to help you. A very good idea would be to develop and follow good emailing habits, such as.

Clean your emailing list often. Use diverse services and pages to maintain a list of working, valid and existent emails. Nothing prevents a bounce like an expecting recipient so you might want to corroborate the information you have before sending any mails.

Double check. If you’re running a blog, an E-Commerce site, or anything that has a list of emails. It would be a good idea to send a confirmation email every time someone signs up to your list. In addition, you should add a link to the email that when clicked on lets the site know the email is valid. You know the standard stuff.

Keep track of what you send. Each time you send a mail you should see its status in the “Sent” tab on your email site. This will allow you to keep a counting of how many bounces you get in a certain amount of time.

If you need more tips.

Rely on performance servers. This will give your subscribers more power of option into what kind of emails and content they want to see. Remembers social media marketing is also about connecting with your public. This will help you do so and in the mean time might prevent being placed in a spam folder.

Be constant. Send mails regularly, this also means creating more posts with a wider range of topics. Constancy is a nice quality for blogs and business online. It helps the public be more engaged with your page and what you offer.

Triple check. Keep two eyes on your performance rates. If you see a hard bounce anywhere in a list you might want to stop sending mails to that address. Check if it’s still active and valid. Use web services and third-party software you thrust for this.

Staying out of the block list of someone can be a bit challenging at times. Hopefully by following the tips above you won’t have that much trouble with it. Keep in mind that there are services that will help you with this, some paid others free.


In todays world almost anything you can imagine has been automatized in the internet. Pages offer services of email verification and email listing, for a price. Taking advantage of these pages can lead to a better performance, both for your emails and your time in general.

Some pages to consider would be.

Email Hunter.

email hunter home page

One of the best websites for email marketing. The page not only offers help with email verification, email listing, domain and personal email finder. It also has developed their own extension to work with Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome.

Used by more than 1.500.000 professionals this is one of the best known and reputable sites. You do need to create an account with them and take a look at their pricing offers.

Mail Chimp.

mail chimp home page

A great site for email marketing, they also need you to register an account and choose a pricing plan. This would depend on what service are you looking to get. And they do offer quite a bit.

From tips in online marketing, metrics, email verification and listing, to online marketing plans. This is a very good system to help you prevent email bouncing.

Hub Spot.

hubspot home page

In a bit of a twist Hub Stop offers not a web service but a software to help you with online marketing. How ever you do have to pay for it. The good news? There is a free version, fairly basic one at least.

In the page we can see guides, eBooks, blogs for marketing and research of market. Keep in mind that this software, even in the basic version, offers listing for emails. So, it might be a good option if you can do the verification on your own. If not, you can always pay a bit more.


sendgrid home page

SendGrid takes care of your needs of email marketing, there’s a free version and a paid one. If you need listing, verification and troubleshooting for email. This is a good site for it.

They also can help you with marketing strategy. Used by companies such as uber, Spotify and Airbnb. This site is very reliable when it comes to preventing email bouncing.


neverbounce home page

What can be said about this page that the name doesn’t say already?

NeverBounce focuses way more than other pages in email marketing. They provide listing, verification, bounce analysis, support and monthly verification. This all free with the creation of an account.

For more features, visit their pricing plans.

What’s left?

Right now, you should have the tools and tips to prevent email bouncing, this brief guide was designed with that in mind.

All that’s left is apply it to your site and see the changes happen. Keep in mind that most of what is discussed here are long time strategies. For more immediate one, please visit a few of the pages here. This is all for now, hope this helps you understand more of email bouncing.

September 15, 2022
How to Avoid Spam Traps and Protect Your Sender Reputation in 2022

Building an email list from scratch takes a lot of effort and time. Nothing is more frustrating than discovering that spam traps have infiltrated your email address. It is not unusual for spam traps to occur even if you follow email best practices. But if you communicate with your subscribers with the best intentions, care […]

Read More
July 1, 2022
How To Ping An Email Address To Validate It

Do you ever wonder whether an email address is a legitimate or a false email address when it bounces back? Probably the easiest method to handle this is to ping an email address, and in this article, we will demonstrate how to ping and validate an email address. Validating emails by pinging different addresses is […]

Read More
June 29, 2022
The Best Email Services To Not Ask for Phone Verification

With everything becoming tech-based around us, it only makes sense that we turn to the internet for required services and needs. However, that is also when we truly feel the importance of "Emails." Today, an email account is the one thing that can help you sign up for any service or platform. It is one […]

Read More
May 16, 2022
How Email Verification Works: The Ultimate Guide

Following the creation of your email lead list, email verification is one of the most critical phases in any email marketing campaign. If you don't verify your emails - all the hard work you put into your email marketing campaign essentially becomes worthless. Now you, along with many others, might be scared of your email […]

Read More