What do the different types of bounces mean?


When you send emails to your customers, you’ve probably noticed that some of them are returned to you. They “bounce”.

A common reason that emails bounce is that the email address has expired and no longer exists. Another reason is that an invalid email address was entered into the system in the first place, by someone who made a mistake in an internet registration form, for example. Sometimes the problem is of a temporary nature, and might be caused by the email address’s inbox being full or the email server being temporarily down. Even spam filters can sometimes cause email bounces if the classify your email as spam.

The different types of bounces are:

· Hard bounce (permanent error)

An email that is permanently undeliverable. The reason may be an invalid email address (it’s misspelt, the domain no longer exists, or the recipient changed email address, etc.).

· Soft bounce (temporary error)

A soft bounce is an email that arrives at the recipient's email server but bounces back before the intended recipient has received it. A soft bounce may be caused by the recipient's inbox being full or the email being too large. A soft bounce can also be due to incorrect delivery settings, like the wrong email address set as the sender.

· Transient

A temporary bounce that happens if the server is down when you try to send your email and we’re unable to deliver the email within four days.

· Auto responder

Caused by an out-of-office notification, or a notification that the recipient has left their job or changed email address


Bouncing emails are a problem that tends to grow over time and increase with the number of email addresses you add to your mailing lists. As a general rule, do not purchase email lists since the email addresses are often old and invalid.


You can gain a lot by working actively with the various bounces from the beginning! Sort error messages by the type of error. Is the problem on the recipient’s side, or is it something you can fix?

Make a habit of going through your recipient lists before sending emails. Search for incorrect email addresses, invalid domain names and misspellings. Read messages sent by auto responders to see if they tell you the recipient’s new email address.

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