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Is my IP address blacklisted? Look up my IP address on the blacklist.

Read to know what kind of blacklists are employed, how to check an IP blacklist, and what will happen to you when you get on a blacklist. You might want to check out what the email marketer thinks about blacklists. In the article that follows, you'll find out everything you need to know about blacklists, IP blacklists, and what to do if your IP is listed on several of them.

What is an IP Blacklist?

A blacklist is a list of addresses or domains thought to be sending spam or malicious content. Many Internet services, Internet service providers, and email service providers consult blacklists to filter e-mails sent to network members.

There could be a difference in the email deliverability depending on the blacklist. Among other things, it could be a major nuisance or a complete cutoff. Internet marketers ought to understand the reason why an IP or domain can get on a blacklist, how to run an IP blacklist check, what to do if an IP is blacklisted, and how to avoid a blacklisting in the future.

How Do Blacklists Work?

Online organization censorship systems, including Mail Abuse Prevention Systems, record IP addresses and domains that regularly send spam. ISPs can use this information when filtering emails sent to a user's mailbox. This step helps protect mailbox users from spam.

When you send an email, your sending IP address, which is the IP address of the SMTP server you use, is logged. This enables the receiving mail servers to determine who the email is from and determine if that sender is known to send bad emails by checking blacklist databases.

Here is the process:

Suppose you send a notice from marketing@domain.com to John Smith.

  • John's mail server determines your IP address (for example, and resolves it into a domain name.
  • John's mail server runs a domain and IP blacklist check against a database of IP domains on a blacklist.
  • If your IP address or domain has been flagged as spam, your e-mail is much more likely to end up in the junk mail folder, although its content will not be scanned.
  • If your IP or domain is marked as a spammer, an ISP s spam filter will reject your message so it won't be placed into John's spam folder.

Scheme showing how a blacklist works

Why is My IP Address Blacklisted?

Open relay servers, hosts on certain websites, email spamming software, etc. are often added to blacklists. Blacklists sometimes add IP addresses and domain names by using users who report spam complaints.

Spam complaints happen for very different reasons:

  • A recipient did NOT subscribe to the email list.
  • The recipient didn't locate the unsubscribe link.
  • A recipient failed to mention they wished to remain on a mailing list.
  • A recipient receives too many emails.
  • The recipient is not interested in the information that I impart.

So the next time you ask, Why did my IP address get blacklisted? , first, look at the complaint rate. A small complaint rate (0.01) is acceptable. But if the number is too high, mailbox providers can filter out your emails to spam folders or block your emails altogether.

Poor anti-spam list hygiene may result in IP blacklisting issues. Preventing emails to old or unresponsive email addresses that could have been turned into spam traps or harvesting email addresses that are relevant as spam traps can be damaging to your sender's reputation.

There are three categories of spam traps.

Recycled spam traps.

Legitimate email addresses that have been inactive for some time are recycled to serve as spam trap addresses. Email messages sent to these addresses very rarely reach end-users.

Pristine spam traps.

These addresses are not created by anti-spam organizations or ISPs to find out whether a sender is a spam. Phishing traps are generally planted in mailing lists when purchasers, users, or harvesters are buying them.


One way to identify spam is to check the address to see if it has a typo. For instance, @Hotail instead of @hotmail, @Gmal instead of  @gmail, etc.