Return Messages

Email issues can be awfully frustrating, and the bounce-back message announcing that a message did not get through may seem cryptic. However, it actually can tell you where the problem lies and can help you (and us) figure out why your email is not behaving.

This article will show how to approach some of the more frequent messages you might see.

Note: When contacting us for assistance with any email issue, please provide a sample of the message which has bounced back to you with the full headers enabled. This article has more information:

User/Domain/Address Does Not Exist

This error means that the email was sent correctly, but the address you are writing to has problems. Commonly seen causes are misspelling the address or leaving off the TLD (the ".com" or ".org" part of the address).

If the destination email address is definitely correct, this indicates an issue on the receiving end of the email chain. The target email address may be having problems or might have been removed.


Blacklisted, Blocked or Rejected Messages

The unending struggle of mail providers against spam can sometimes catch your mail service in the crossfire. At the worst, your address or domain may be blacklisted. Blocking or rejecting of email messages is also a possible outcome, and you may see specific errors or more generic ones. We will be happy to investigate the issue and help if we can. However, note that issues with blacklisting or blocking by other hosts or email services will require resolution via those parties.

Note: You may also trigger this if your email account is forwarding large amounts of mail, as this may be flagged as spam and set off blacklisting and/or blocking. HostGator recommends using a mail fetcher instead of forwarding as a solution, and this article provides information and instructions:

Specific Error: "Sorry, you are sending to/from an address that has been blacklisted."

If you see this message, please contact HostGator support for further information.

Specific Error: "SMTP error from remote mail server after MAIL FROM:<someone@gmail/hotmail/yahoo/paypal/ebay.com>: host gateway.websitewelcome.com I was unable to send this e-mail because the domain ( gmail.com / etc. ) has been black listed due to spam or forgery."

This error is specific to a email scripting issue - the script is trying to send from a third party domain (for example, a Gmail.com address) but the script is probably designed to send from a local domain (i.e., one hosted on your HostGator server. This can typically be resolved by using an email address which is local domain. Otherwise, you must reconfigure the script to use SMTP via the third party's servers. Settings for Gmail can be found here:

Generic Blacklist/Blocked Messages

If the return message is not one of the above, and states that your email was blacklisted, blocked or rejected, please contact us via phone or Live Chat and our administrators will investigate this issue. Please include the bounce-back message with full headers.

Error message includes "Exceeding hourly limit."

This message indicates that your account has crossed the threshold for hourly email messages and a temporary block has been placed on your outgoing mail. This is per our policy as set forth here:

You will need to wait until the next hour to resume sending emails. If this problem does not go away by the next hour, please contact us via phone or Live Chat to investigate this issue.


550 Errors - Mail Relay Issues

Any error with 550 indicates an issue with relaying the email message from one mail node to another. 550 errors can have several different causes, but additional details included with this error code and (especially) your bounceback message will help identify the underlying issue.

550 ip.add.re.ss is not allowed to send mail from example.com

This bounceback occurs when you attempt to send mail from a server that is not authorized to send mail using your domain name. This is caused when you have an SPF record that either specifically blocks the IP of the server you are attempting to send mail from or does not specifically authorize it to send mail when it ends with a deny all rule.

The following article contains information regarding how to construct an SPF rule, and can be used to adjust your SPF record to allow you to send mail from your desired server:

You will either need to send mail from a server that is authorized by your SPF record, or add the IP of the server you wish to send mail from to your SPF record at the DNS host for your domain.

550 "Dictionary Attack"

You could see this error because your mail program sent an incorrect login password several times - this might have been flagged as a dictionary attack.

You must stop sending emails and pause any mailing lists. Any temporary restriction placed on your account should be lifted after one hour.

If you were using a third-party email client like Outlook, during the wait you can try using webmail to send and receive messages.

Note: If you do not find and remove the underlying cause of this error in your outgoing message or list, the same error will reoccur and you will be restricted again.

550 "SMTP Error" or 550 "Sender verify failed"

These may be accompanied by the following message: "Perhaps you have not logged into the pop/imap 550-server in the last 30 minutes or do not have SMTP Authentication turned on 550 in your email client."

This indicates the mail server is not configured to handle mail correctly for your domain. This can happen if you have made changes to your domain's Mail Exchange (MX) or DNS records, or if your mail server is different from your website's server. You can examine and change the settings for your MX record yourself. The article below has information on how to handle different combinations of mail and webhosting servers:

550 "Access denied - Invalid HELO name"

The most common reason for this message is incomplete or incorrect settings on your mail client. This is the program on your own computer which you use to access mail, such as Outlook or Thunderbird.

HostGator cannot access your client directly, but you may toggle the sections below for instructions on correcting this issue.

Note: Click the link containing ▷ or ▽ to toggle settings for your client:

Microsoft Outlook (2010 and 2013)

Microsoft Outlook (2007 and earlier)

Thunderbird (Version 17 and newer)

Thunderbird (Version 13 and earlier)

Mac Mail

Note: Any time you encounter issues with a particular mail client you can still use your webmail login to access your email account.

451 "Error while writing spool file"

This message indicates a temporary issue which typically resolves itself. However, it may indicate that your email is not configured properly. Please double check to make sure you are using the correct outgoing SMTP settings.


Other Email Error Messages

If you are encountering email error messages not touched on in this article, feel free to contact us via phone or Live Chat and we will be happy to investigate further.