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Email Bounce

March 19, 2014 - By 

An e-mail bounce is simply when an electronic mail does not successfully reach the intended recipient. The email bounces back to the sender with an error message indicating that transmission was unsuccessful.

There are two types of bounces: hard bounce and soft bounce. A hard bounce occurs when the recipient’s mail server rejects the email. Once an email is dispatched, the system searches for the recipient’s domain and mail server. The recipient’s mail server will then use its programmed instruction to determine if the email can pass through. If, for example, the recipient has blocked the sender’s address, the server will reject the message and bounce it back. The server may also bounce the message if it cannot process the incoming mail for some reason, for example if it’s too busy processing other requests.

Soft bounces occur when an email is received and accepted by the recipient’s mail server, but for some reason, the message cannot be delivered to their mailbox. Once the message is received and accepted by the recipient’s mail server, the system determines if the address actually exists on the server. If the system can’t find the address due to, for example, a misspelled address, the message is bounced back. A soft bounce can also happen if their mailbox is not currently able to receive messages at the time because of low disc space, or the size of the received message exceeds the maximum size the mailbox can receive.