Email Troubleshooting - Bouncebacks

  • Applies to: Grid
    • Difficulty: Easy
    • Time Needed: 10
    • Tools Required: None
  • Applies to: Legacy DV & VPS Hosting
    • Difficulty: Easy
    • Time Needed: 10
    • Tools Required: None
  • Applies to: VPS Hosting
    • Difficulty: Easy
    • Time Needed: 10
    • Tools Required: None


If you, or one of your contacts, have received a bounceback message when attempting to send email, this article will help you. Go through these troubleshooting steps to further diagnose and resolve the cause of your bouncebacks.

(mt) Media Temple bounceback

If you, or your contact who was attempting to email you, received a bounceback from (mt) Media Temple, please see the article below for detailed instructions. It also includes an example of what a (mt) Media Temple bounceback looks like:

Why is my email blocked by the (mt) Media Temple spam filter?

Third-party bounceback

If you were attempting to send to a third-party mail server, and received a bounceback from them, please do the following:

  1. Read the bounceback. Often it will state exactly why the email was blocked. Some common reasons:
    • Sending server's poor reputation: This means that your mail server here is on the recipient's block list.
    • Recipient does not exist: This means your target email address no longer exists. Check your spelling, if you've been able to send to this person before.
  2. If the bounceback message is easy to interpret, correct the issue that it mentions.
    • Eliminate possible spam coming from your server, then contact dthe RBL (realtime blacklist) that is mentioned in the bounceback to get your IP address removed.
  3. If the bounceback seems difficult to interpret, it's possible that you may have been blocked because of "spam-like" characteristics in the message. There may be a line in the bounceback that starts with X-Spam Status which can give you more information. If the elements in that line are unfamiliar, try searching for them, or contacting the third-party spam filter that your recipient uses for further clarification. Our Email blocked by Media Temple spam filter article has some excellent best-practice guidelines for avoiding spam-like characteristics in your emails.
  4. Certain servers require properly-configured DomainKeys and/or an SPF record in your zone file to accept mail from your domain. See these articles for assistance:
  5. If you're still not sure what the bounceback means, feel free to submit a support request and include the text from the bounceback. Please note that on the VPS, you are responsible for your own mail server reputation and configuration.

If your message has been blocked due to a (mt) Media Temple email server's poor reputation, we will contact the block list immediately to get your server de-listed. However, it's up to the block list to decide how long they want to keep us on the list. It can take 2-3 days to be de-listed in some cases. In the meantime, you can use webmail to send email, or you can use your Internet Service Provider's outgoing mail server. Or, because we provide multiple mail servers to every Grid customer, you may be able to wait 10 minutes and try again. Hopefully this time, you'll connect to a clear mail server.

Why does this happen? On the Grid, thousands of customers use the same mail server. If one person manages to send out a lot of spam before we can catch them and shut them down, this can unfortunately cause the entire server to be blocked. If this is unacceptable to you, you may want to look into a VPS server, where you will have control over your own mail server.

See also