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Why is my domain blacklisted, and how do I get it removed?

What is a blacklist?

A Domain Name System Blacklist (DNSBL) is a list that allows internet service providers (ISP) and other website administrators to block emails or traffic from specific systems. It's usually those that are known for sending spam and other malicious content. Normally, a blacklist contains domains, email addresses or IP addresses.

Having a domain blacklisted can prevent emails being sent. Instead, 'bounce back' messages are received from the server that has rejected the email.

Why is my domain blacklisted?

Having a domain blacklisted usually results from the degradation in the reputation of the domain itself. Most often this is caused by sending emails that have been classified as “spam-like”. If your IP is listed on a blacklist this may be due to the reputation of your ISP itself. There are various ways that you can improve the sender reputation of your domain name.

How can I delist my domain?

You'll want to remove your domain from blacklists as soon as possible because they're often shared between providers. If you believe you've fixed the root cause of the listing, by ensuring spam isn't being sent, head to the blacklist providers site and follow their blacklist-removal process.

You may find two types of removal process:

Self-Service Removal – This means that you can remove the blacklist manually without much trouble or waiting. You must ensure you have fixed the issues before doing this. If the domain is listed again it may be more difficult to remove.

Time-Based Removal – Most blacklists have a time-based process whereby domains that have lower-level listings will be removed on a periodic basis, usually 1-2 weeks. Higher-level listings may take a longer period of time to be removed.