When an email cannot be delivered to an email server, it's called a bounce. The email server will generally provide a reason for the incident, and TidyHQ uses those reasons to determine how to treat that email address. We categorise bounces into two types: hard bounces and soft bounces.

In this article, you’ll learn about hard and soft bounces in TidyHQ.

Things to know

  • TidyHQ cannot predict whether or not an email will bounce.
  • The receipts for your bounces will be available in your email reports for 30 days after the email is sent.
  • Different internet service providers (ISPs) bounce email messages based on their own rating systems and definitions.

Where to find the status of your email

Navigate to Communicate > Sent and to the specific email - here will find a list of all recipients along with the status on the right-hand side.

Hard bounces

A hard bounce indicates a permanent reason an email cannot be delivered. In most cases, bounced email addresses are cleaned from your audience automatically and immediately. Cleaned addresses will be excluded from all future campaign sends. Here are some common reasons an email may hard bounce.

  • Recipient email address doesn't exist.
  • Recipient email server has completely blocked delivery.


There are occasionally cases in which valid email addresses will hard bounce. If your email was blocked, a spam filter may have interpreted the campaign content as spam. Spam filters can be on the recipient's computer, on their company's email firewall, at their ISP/Data centre, or all of the above. Common SMTP replies for spam filtered emails include Denied, Unacceptable Content, Blocked, and similar messages.

For Australian customers Telstra Bigpond is notorious for blocking valid email, if you have a contact using Bigpond, please advise them to add .tidyhq.com domain to their safe senders list.

Soft bounces

Soft bounces typically indicate a temporary delivery issue and are handled differently than hard bounces by TidyHQ. When an email address soft bounces, it will immediately display as a soft bounce in the email sender notice (illustrated above).

If an email address continues to soft bounce in additional campaigns, the address will eventually be considered a hard bounce and marked as such in your contacts. We'll allow seven soft bounces for an email address with no subscriber activity (the recipient has not previously opened up email from you) and up to 15 soft bounces for contacts with previous subscriber activity before converting a soft bounce into a hard bounce. While there are many reasons an email address may soft bounce, these are some common reasons this could happen.

  • Mailbox is full (over quota).
  • Mailbox is not configured correctly.
  • Mailbox is inactive.
  • Recipient email server is down or offline.
  • Recipient email server has been sent too many emails during a period of time.
  • Email message is too large for the recipients inbox
  • Domain name does not exist.
  • Email message blocked due to content.
  • Email message does not meet the recipient server’s policies.
  • Email message does not meet the recipient server’s DMARC requirements for authentication.
  • Email message does not meet the recipient server’s anti-spam requirements.
  • Email message does not meet the recipient server’s anti-virus requirements.
  • Email message does not meet the recipient server’s sender requirements.
  • Email cannot be relayed between email servers.
  • Email cannot be relayed for unknown reasons.

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