5 Reasons You May Not Receive Email

“Why am I not getting all my emails?”

I field this question a lot, too often, from smaller clients, particularly those using shared hosting platforms.

Here are the top 5 reasons you may not receive email

  1. The spam filter on your local computer
  2. Your or the sender ISP’s spam filter
  3. Your web host filter – such as SpamAssassin, a popular spam tool for Apache-based hosting servers
  4. Incorrect mail server configuration – such as SPF, DKIM, DMARC, MX and other settings
  5. User error – such as misspelling your email address.

Internet email system is a non-confirming delivery protocol. This means that there is no guarantee that an email sent from you will be delivered to the intended recipient(s). (Text messages are even worse – do not get me started) Do not assume email will be delivered to a recipient if no “undeliverable” message is returned to you.

Email can be blocked due to a blacklisted IP Address, too many spam trigger words/characters in an email, etc.

Prior to 2014, up to 90% of all email was spam, mostly related to pharma drugs. ISPs use tools like the federal CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 to fight spammers thru lawsuits.

Today, almost 50% of all email is still spam. In 2018, alleged spam kingpin Peter Yuryevich Levashov (‘Severa’) was extradited to the US and pleaded guilty to  federal hacking and spamming charges. This 37-year old Russian computer programmer is thought to be the world’s most notorious spammer.

Globally, only 1 out of 5 emails do not reach its intended recipient. As much as 80% of spam received by Internet users in North America and Europe can be traced to fewer than 200 spammers – with 20% originating from the United States.

5 Ways to Improve Your Email Deliverability

  1. Choose a web/email host with a dedicated IP Address
    This isolates your email from other (possible spam) senders on a shared hosting IP Address
  2. Host your email with a reputable third-party,
    Popular email hosts include Google Mail and Microsoft Office 365
  3. Avoid spam trigger words in your email
    Obvious terms such as Viagra increase the chance your email will be filtered. Excessive punctuation can also trigger spam filters.
  4. Use a third-party bulk email provider
    If you need to send emails to > 25 recipients – try Campaign Monitor, Constant Contact, MailChimp, or Vertical Response.
  5. Pick up the phone!
    Ok, I know that last one has nothing to do with email. But if you need to guarantee your message reaches its audience, then nothing is more effective than 2-way communication.

Need help configuring your email?

For Apple users: contact Tim Hannon at Sound Support
For Windows users: contact VertiCloud Networks or  Network Technologies

Learn More

Lookup your Domain on Blacklists at MX Toolbox

Email Spam [Wikipedia]

Spam Nation: The Inside Story of Organized Cybercrime – from Global Epidemic to Your Front Door by Brian Krebs, security expert

Krebs on Spam Nation