email blacklist monitoring

How do most people learn their server’s IP is on an email blacklist?

Receiving an email bounce.

That’s right. Usually, a customer or employee learns of the issue by receiving a bounce email. By then, your sending reputation is already on the decline. If you don’t act fast, you may have widespread email delivery issues.

So what to do?  Use a blacklist monitoring service.

Why monitor email blacklists?

Admittedly, by the time your server’s IP or domain is on a blacklist — it is too late. Your server is already sending spam or at least emails that look like spam. However, by getting notified early, you can act quickly to limit the damage.

The sooner you learn of the issue, the less chance that the information spreads to other lists. Major email service providers, such as Yahoo! & Gmail, use signals from a public blacklist in their spam filtering tools. As your IP lingers on these public blacklists, other tools may pick up the inclusion. As a result, your email delivery issues continue to widen with more and more recipient servers rejecting your emails.

Free Blacklist Check Tools

These tools are suitable for one-off checks but do not provide ongoing monitoring. I recommend using these tools when you start using new IPs. Before sending emails from the IPs, check them using these tools.


Probably one of the most comprehensive free tools with minimum advertising and no sign-ups.  MultiRBL is very easy to use and fast.


While not a blacklist, many anti-spam tools use ReturnPath’s SenderScore metrics. If your score is below 85, you may have email deliverability issues.

Blacklist Monitoring Services

There are many blacklist monitoring tools online. A quick search of Google reveals more than a dozen companies. All services pretty much do the same thing. Prices range from free to over $100/mo for larger accounts.

The services poll DNS-based blacklists and alert you to issues. There’s not much to differentiate the tools — they are simple services. In most cases, setup is easy. You add your IP, set your alert preferences, and your blacklist monitoring is ready.

When selecting a service, make sure they check prominent blacklists such as:

  • Spamhaus
  • Barracuda
  • Invalument
  • Spamcop

These lists often feed other services, so inclusion in these lists can have a significant impact on email deliverability.
Also, make sure they have alert mechanisms that fit your needs. Some only use email while others use chat or SMS.

Lastly, the service should check email blacklists at least twice per day. I don’t recommend daily polling due to how some anti-spam services work. Many anti-spam tools update daily. Ideally, you want to detect and repair any blacklist issues before anti-spam systems pick up your IP address. The more frequent the monitoring service polls, the more likely you can avoid email delivery issues.

However, there is one aspect of our tools that few others provide: blacklist removal assistance.

Full-Service Blacklist Monitoring

We offer both self-service and full-service email blacklist monitoring services.

With self-service monitoring, we monitor the IPs you provide and alert you to issues. If you need help recovering, you can open request blacklist removal assistance at a discounted rate.

With our full-service offering, we handle blacklist issues for you. Should our monitoring detect a problem, we notify you of the issue and begin investigating why you were listed.

Contact us our see our email blacklist monitoring page for more details.