Email Returned, Blacklisted or Rejected by Recipient

What is Blacklisting?

When someone sends out spam, it is possible for the recipient of the email to mark the email as spam. When an email message is flagged as spam, the email is reviewed for blacklisting. If the email is determined to be spam, the IP address and/or the email address that sent the spam may become blacklisted.

There are two scenarios in which you may encounter blacklisting using HostGator services. If you are not receiving messages from a certain contact, it is possible that the contact has been blacklisted. Alternatively, you may be receiving bounceback messages saying that your mail was not delivered. In this case, it may be that your server or email address has been blacklisted.

Receiving Mail From Blacklisted Sources

Our Shared and Reseller servers keep a list in sync with companies that monitor IP addresses that are sending spam. If a sender's IP address is on this list, then our servers will block email from the IP until the sender's IP is no longer on the list.

If the sender can have the IP address removed from the blacklist, you will be able to receive email from them normally.

Our list is updated every four hours which will allow for mail to continue normal delivery if the sender has their IP address removed from the blacklist.

If you wish to receive email from a domain that is on a blacklist you will need to get a VPS or Dedicated server. For more information, see this article:

How to Check for Blacklisting

Checking for blacklisting can be difficult and looking for it can prevent troubleshooting more relevant issues. Popular webtools, such as, have blacklist checking serivces which can return stale results (A false positive from a blacklist that has already been delisted) or blacklists that will not prevent your mail from being successfully delivered. Additionally, these tools will not identify spam blocks from major email providers, such as AOL, Google, Yahoo, or ISPs such as AT&T.

The strongest indicator that you are being blacklisted is a bounceback email. Bounceback emails include errors specifying why mail delivery failed. If you are able to acquire a bounceback, please continue on to read What if I Am Blacklisted? for assistance.

What If I am Blacklisted?

If you become blacklisted, the emails you send to destinations that screen blacklists will return your emails with a bounceback message that mentions the fact that you are blacklisted. If you get a bounceback error that you cannot figure out, please follow the blacklist check instructions above.

If you determine that your server is blacklisted, please visit the WHOA website so that you can enable the full headers of the email. (Full headers are required so that we can help solve your problem.) For more information about full headers, see:

Once the headers have been exposed, you can: If you're not sure which department your ticket should go to, please contact us via phone or live chat.
Note: We can only fix a blacklisting issue if the block is against the entire server. If the block is specifically against your email address, then the receiver is blocking your emails purposefully and you will need to directly contact the blocking agency to get the blacklisting removed.