Home Digital Marketing What Is a Hard Bounce In Email Marketing?

What Is a Hard Bounce In Email Marketing?

Hard Bounce

If you’ve ever had an email bounce back, you would probably know how frustrating it is. But what exactly is a bounce? And how do you avoid them?

There are two types of Bounces:

  • Hard bounces
  • Soft bounces

A hard bounce is caused by a short-term problem, such as a full inbox or a problem with the recipient’s server. A soft bounce can be caused by an invalid address to a bad connection between your email provider and theirs.

To avoid these issues, ensure your emails have valid addresses and check that you’re sending through the correct one every time your recipient logs in or out of their account.

What is Hard Bounce?

So what is a hard bounce in email marketing?

A hard bounce occurs when an email recipient’s inbox settings have been configured so they cannot receive messages from a specific domain or server. This can happen if you send a message that fails to conform with their preferences or if they have requested that they be removed from your list altogether.

Some recipients will mark a hard bounce as spam to keep it out of their inbox, which is not helpful! A hard bounce does not mean you’ve sent emails to the wrong person; instead, your information is incorrect or incomplete.

Keep lists up-to-date by keeping track of all senders and recipients on every list. If you have more than one list with similar audiences but different contact information (personal contacts vs business contacts), keep each separate so you can segment your audience when necessary.

There are many reasons for a hard bounce, but the most common ones are:

  • The recipient’s email address does not exist in our database.
  • The recipient is on a blacklist due to sending too many bounces.
  • The recipient’s computer or network connection is down, and they have not yet responded to an auto-response message from us.

Example of a hard bounce:

A hard bounce is when the user’s email address is invalid. This can be due to an unknown user, a closed account, or even domain-level errors. If you’re sending emails through your own server and it has trouble sending those emails because of one of these issues, then this would be considered a hard bounce.

An unknown user means that the user’s name does not exist in the destination domain. Several factors: can cause this.

  • Users who have entered their email address incorrectly or in an incorrect place
  • Users who have entered an invalid email address (for example, one with a space instead of an @ symbol).

A closed account means the user’s email address is still active, but their account has been closed.

An example of a closed account would be if you were sending an email to your friend who had deleted her Gmail account, but you still had access to her old emails in your inbox. Domain-level errors occur when there is an issue with the domain name within an email address; this could be due to misspelling or incorrect formatting. For example, if you have a Gmail address of “[email protected]”, then one of your emails could be sent to “[email protected]”, which would cause it to be blocked by ISPs and damage your IP reputation as well.

Troubles Hard Bounce can create

  • If an email address generates too many hard bounces, then it can cause your IP address to be blocked. This will influence your potential to send emails from all accounts on your server. You can check your IP address by going to www.whatismyipaddress.com and entering the domain name of your business (ex: [email protected]).
  • Hard bounces can cause damage to your sending reputation and may prompt ISPs to start blocking you from sending mail through their servers. You may be unable to send any emails if a hard bounce occurs, which could cause severe problems for the business.
  • Don’t send too many emails per day. Sending too many emails in one day will cause hard bounces because so many recipients are being hit at once—and no one likes getting too much junk mail!
  • Too many hard bounces can land a domain on blocklists, making it imperative to regularly monitor email lists, target the right users, and allow users to update their information.


Achieving high email delivery rates can be challenging, but not if you know the right way to do it. Hire an email marketing expert today to curate successful email campaign templates and strategies that skyrocket your ROI.

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