Creating and growing email lists is an inseparable part of any online business today, regardless of the niche. Doesn’t matter if you’re looking to launch marketing campaigns or handle your day-to-day communications – such lists give you direct contact with your target audience to your advantage.
But all efforts connected with building an email list can easily go in vain if you find yourself on an email blacklist. Such occurrences are not only annoying but can have a direct impact on your message deliverability.
That’s why today, we are taking a closer look at email blacklists – what they are, how they work, and how can we avoid landing in one?
What is an Email Blacklist?
When you become a hosting client, your account is associated with a server IP address regardless of the plan you choose. Whenever you send any electronic messages – you employ this IP for the operation.
What an email blacklist does is identify domains and IP addresses that send spam and give them a bad rating as a warning to any recipient mail service. This can lead to a wide range of effects – from minor inconveniences in email deliverability to complete blockage of any messages you are looking to send.
What’s even worse is that you may not even be responsible for the spam activities at all. Poor server security can easily lead to hacker breaches, and when an unauthorized person has full control over your account – anything is possible. Before you realize it, your IP can already be included in different blacklists, and fixing the problem is much more complicated than preventing it.
The shared hosting environment can be pretty risky as well, allowing anyone on the server to utilize the assigned IP address. So, even if someone else is involved in spamming activity – your online project may also suffer. But before we learn the tips on how to avoid email blacklists, let’s first check how to find if we have already landed in one.
How to Find if You Are on an Email Blacklist?
To help you with the task, you can search for your domain name and IP address in publicly available blacklists. The companies that manage those lists specialize in internet security and spam threats. Here are some of the most popular lists you can check if your IP has been blacklisted:
- Spamhaus – one of the industry leaders when it comes to tackling spam and virus threats. The company supports several different block lists – main one (SBL), by exploits (EBL), by domain (DBL), and by policy (PBL).
- Barracuda – this is one of the most detailed free DNS blacklists of IP addresses known to send spam. Easy and quick registration for an account. Options to file blacklist removal requests.
- MXToolBox – this tool is as simple as they come. The search bar allows you to look for your domain or server IP address and see if it exists on any of the major known spam blacklists. Real-time checks and alerts on the paid plans.
- Spamcop – the email reporting service collects data from past spam records and spamtrap addresses to see if there was any unsolicited mail sending. Comprehensive points system to outline the severity of the spam infraction.
If all is well with your IP address, you can safely use it for your email needs.
IMPORTANT: Not appearing on spam blacklists doesn’t mean you are safe from spam issues for the future to come. You still have to be very cautious about your email activities, especially when managing marketing campaigns.
How to Avoid Email Blacklists?
Landing in an email blacklist can be arbitrary at times. While it can be as obvious as a hacker attack or sending an unreasonable amount of mails at once, the reasons can often be the algorithms simply misinterpreting your messages. In such cases, there are a few things you can do to avoid the fallout:
- Don’t buy email lists – any registered online business has received such an offer at least once – gain information for hundreds and thousands of email addresses for just a few dollars. As lucrative as this may sound, such lists are often full of invalid addresses. Better save your money for something useful and goal-oriented.
- Clean your lists regularly – growing your lists of email contacts is important but keeping them clean and relevant is equally valid. Regularly go through your lists, remove unresponsive users, and re-target others to remind them about your services. You can even find email checker tools online to verify the legitimacy of your email addresses.
- Segment your lists – when launching marketing campaigns via email, list segmentation can bring amazing results. So, before you start blasting emails, separate your general mailing list into segments – be it by geolocation, age group, interests, or whatever other factors you might consider. This way, you can send tailored content to the users who will appreciate it the most.
- Include an Unsubscribe option – anti-spam laws are very strict about this one. Failing to provide the recipient with an Unsubscribe option is like keeping them hostage to get your emails whether they like it or not. This link can often be found at the bottom of the email message and should be clear and visible enough for the reader.
- Use double opt-ins – the logic behind double opt-ins is fairly similar. When visitors subscribe to your list, they need to re-confirm their email addresses to complete the process. This tells the system the emails are legitimate and coming from the proper sources.
- Find a secure server – apart from following the best email practices, you need to ensure your environment is safe and secure from outside breaches. Signing up with a tested and reliable web host will give you much-needed peace of mind when it comes to sending and receiving emails.
This last part is essential as a poorly-secured server can easily deem all your other efforts futile.
How ScalaHosting Helps You Avoid Email Blacklists
ScalaHosting is a provider that has always recognized first-class security as a must-have for any hosting client. The managed VPS plans, in particular, are a perfect place to start.
You get an entire virtual server at your disposal, completely isolated from other clients on the physical machine. The VPS comes with a dedicated set of resources, starting from 1 CPU core, 2 GB RAM, and 50 GB SSD space. Additionally, you can choose from the cloud server solutions of DigitalOcean and Amazon AWS.
All VPS solutions are secured right off the bat, but the Scala Team still takes things a step further.
With the most recent SPanel update, our all-in-one hosting management platform now employs even more advanced mechanisms for detecting and blocking outbound spam.
Email spoofing accounts for 73% of the SPAM worldwide. While other control panels allow email spoofing, SPanel blocks 100% of the spoofed SPAM messages eliminating the risk of your IP address getting blacklisted.
On top of that, SPanel automatically notifies the VPS owner should such cases occur. The report includes the content of the SPAM message that someone on your server attempted to send, the email address or account it was sent from, and offers possible steps to fix the issue and further secure your account.
IMPORTANT: All ScalaHosting VPS clients get a dedicated IP address completely free of charge.
Spam is still a key security concern for any business that relies on email communication. It can range from slight problems in your mail deliverability to severe punishments and even an account blockage. Apart from properly securing our server against spam, we should always follow the recommended practices to avoid falling into an email blacklist.