How to check if your emails are blacklisted

Being put on the email blacklist could ruin your cold outreach. No emails being seen, no conversations being had. There is no way to know which IP blacklist or domain name blacklist are consulted by recipient's mail server. This is why it is very important to check as many IP blacklists (also called DNSBL, RBL) and domain name blacklists (also called URIBL, RHSBL) as possible.Here's how to tell if you're on it.

Types of blacklists

There are 3 main categories of blacklists:

  1. Enterprise spam firewalls – these are blacklists and firewalls that are primarily used and maintained by corporate IT departments. Examples include McAffee and Barracuda ... 
  2. Private blacklists – these are the internal blacklists that most major ISPs maintain. For example, Gmail uses its own internal blacklists for their spam filtering technology. Microsoft’s email filter is also privately maintained. 
  3. Public blacklist – these are blacklists that are publicly available and can be checked directly. 

Email Blacklist Indicator: Open Rates Plummet

If your open rates drop, or if you’re just starting out and your open rates are less than 15%… you have a problem. Before you panic, you should check a few things out to ensure that your process is okay. Check things like:

  • Subject Line: If you have a really terrible subject line, people may not open. Or, it could have been sent to spam. Things like all caps, “Today Only”, and “Act now” in your cold email isn’t going to end well.
  • CRM/Software: There could have been an issue with your emailing solution. Everyone has issues from time to time. Maybe it’s a botched send.
  • Bad Lead Data: Let’s say you send 1000 emails from a new list and have a %10 open rate. That’s terrible, but let’s say that only 1/3 of the contacts were good. Now you’re up to a decent open percentage. Bad data is a common source of poor outreach.

If you check these things and can’t find a cause— most likely— it means your email address is not trusted.

Checking your email address against public blacklists

Because public blacklists are publicly available, it should be the starting point in checking if your email address has been blacklisted.

There are over 120 notable public blacklists, and being listed on just a few of them is enough to cause you email delivery problems. Fortunately, we have created a free tool that you can use.

The Blacklist Check will test a mail server IP address against over 120 DNS based email blacklists. (Commonly called Realtime blacklist, DNSBL or RBL).  If your mail server has been blacklisted, some email you send may not be delivered.  Email blacklists are a common way of reducing spam.  If you don't know your mail server's address, start with a MX Lookup.   Or, just send an email to our Support.

  1. Go to
  2. Enter your domain name (i.e., Be sure to perform the lookup on the name your email is based on. For instance, if your email is [email protected], you would perform a dns lookup on (not
  3. Select Blacklist Check from the second field. 
  4. Click on 'submit'.

This query is used to check if the specified domain is on any of the most well known email blacklist sites. If a domain is on a blacklist the row will return a fail result. (i.e, FAIL. The domain is listed on a blacklist)

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