“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
- The spam filter on your local computer
- Your or the sender ISP’s spam filter
- Your web host filter – such as SpamAssassin, a popular spam tool for Apache-based hosting servers
- Incorrect mail server configuration – such as SPF, DKIM, DMARC, MX and other settings
- 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
- 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
- Host your email with a reputable third-party,
Popular email hosts include Google Mail and Microsoft Office 365
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
Spam Nation: The Inside Story of Organized Cybercrime – from Global Epidemic to Your Front Door by Brian Krebs, security expert