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Why are my emails delivered to the spam folder?

Are your email messages going to the spam/junk folder of gmail, hotmail or yahoo? The answer here is not simple. There are many reasons why the destination mail server will deliver your email message to the spam folder instead of the inbox. There are ways and actions you can take to minimize that and get 100% inbox delivery.

Top reasons for delivering emails to the spam folder

  • IP reputation

First of all, the reason for your messages to go to the junk folder can be related to the reputation of the IP address of your mail server. You can do a quick check and see what’s the reputation at http://www.senderbase.org which is used by many email servers to beat SPAM. The IP reputation relies on many factors such as volume of sent emails, content of the messages, bounced messages, messages sent to not-existing email boxes, messages hitting spam traps. All that is used to calculate the reputation of your IP. Then mail servers decide where they will deliver the email message based on the IP reputation score.

  • The destination server blocks your domain

Another reason for deliving emails to the spam folder is the fact that your domain exists in the blacklist of the destination mail server. To find out if that was the case you will have to contact the mail administrator of the destination server.

  • Missing or wrongly configured reverse DNS record

You can see such an issue if your mail server is not properly configured and it doesn’t have reverse DNS or/and the hostname of the server doesn’t point to the IP used to send email messages.

  • Anti-spam filters

The biggest free mail providers such as gmail, hotmail and yahoo have anti-spam filters which in many cases take decisions to deliver your non-spam message to the spam folder. It’s pitty you can’t do much about that because you can’t control what their filters do. If you contact them and ask them why they deliver your legitimate e-mails to the junk folder they will tell you about the anti-spam filters. They will not tell you the exact reason though. They provide free mail services and they can do whatever they want with the messages. Everyone uses their free services on their own risk.

How do I get 100% inbox delivery?

You can’t. But you can follow the best mailing practices. That increases your chances for your emails not to hit the spambox. Here is what you can do. Those actions will not guarantee 100% inbox delivery but at least you will have a better chance for it.

  1. Make sure your mail IP reputation is good at SenderBase.
  2. Make sure you have an SPF record setup for your domain. You can enable it from cPanel -> Authentication icon which is under the Email section in cPanel.
  3. Enable DKIM from cPanel -> Authentication as well.
  4. Use your own mail server. You can do that in two ways. The first one is to get your own cloud server where you will have your own IP for sending emails. On shared hosting servers all mails go out from one IP address. It is very likely for the IP to have lower reputation or to get blacklisted in an RBL. The cheapest way is to get a business email hosting service with a dedicated IP. With such a service you will still have your emails sent from your dedicated IP and others users will not be able to affect your inbox delivery.
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