What is an Email Bounce?

Learn what an email bounce is, why it happens, and how to prevent it in this informative article

Daria Kovalova avatar
Written by Daria Kovalova
Updated over a week ago

What is an Email Bounce?

Email communication has become an essential part of our daily lives, and we rely on it to send and receive information quickly and efficiently. However, despite our best efforts, not all emails are delivered successfully. In fact, sometimes, an email you send may not reach its intended recipient at all and instead "bounces" back to you. In this article, we will explore an email bounce, why it happens, and what you can do to avoid it.

Definition of Email Bounce

Email bounce refers to the failure of an email message to reach its intended recipient. This can occur for various reasons, such as a non-existent email address, a full inbox, or a server issue. When an email bounces, it is returned to the sender with an error message, indicating that the message was not delivered.

Understanding the Types of Email Bounces

There are two types of email bounces: hard bounces and soft bounces.

Hard Bounces

A hard bounce occurs when an email is returned to the sender because the recipient's email address is invalid or doesn't exist. This could be due to a number of reasons, such as a typo in the email address or the email address no longer being in use. Hard bounces should be removed from your email list immediately, as continuing to send emails to invalid email addresses can result in being marked as spam.

Soft Bounces

A soft bounce occurs when an email is returned to the sender for a temporary reason, such as the recipient's inbox being full or the recipient's email server being down. Soft bounces can also occur if the email is too large to be delivered. If an email bounces back as a soft bounce, it may be worth trying to send it again at a later time.

Reasons for Email Bounces

There are many reasons why an email can bounce. Here are some of the most common reasons:

  • Invalid email address

  • The email address doesn't exist

  • The recipient's inbox is full

  • The email is too large

  • The recipient's email server is down or experiencing issues

  • An email message is marked as spam or blocked by the recipient's email server

Minimizing Email Bounces

There are several ways to minimize the number of email bounces your experience:

  • Use double opt-in to ensure that email addresses are valid and current

  • Regularly clean your email list to remove invalid or inactive email addresses

  • Segment your email list to send targeted messages to specific groups

  • Use a reliable email service provider to ensure that your emails are delivered and avoid being flagged as spam


Email bounces can be frustrating, but they are unavoidable in email marketing. By understanding the different types of email bounces and the reasons why they occur, you can take steps to minimize their impact on your email campaigns. Keep your email list up to date and clean, use a reliable email service provider and avoid sending emails to invalid or inactive email addresses to help minimize the number of bounces you experience.

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