It’s possible to write valuable & personalized emails, target the right audience, and still end up in the spam folder. If you haven’t followed deliverability best practices, this could happen because your email address has been blocked.

If your email address is on a blocklist, your emails will go straight to your audience’s spam folder, which ruins your chances of getting replies & building relationships with them.

In this article, you’ll find:

→ what email blocklists are

→ how to get removed from email blocklists

→ 7 tips to avoid blocklists and landing in the spam folder

PS: Don't forget to get the Ultimate Checklist to Avoid Email Blocklists at the end 🔥

What are Email Blocklists?

Email blocklists are lists of email domains sending spam or unwanted emails. Email providers create these lists to protect email users from receiving such dangerous messages.

There are 2 types of email blocklists:

1. Domain based blocklists

These blocklists look at the overall activity of email domains and every address in it to identify spam-like behavior.

Some examples of domain-based blocklists are:

2. IP Address based blocklists:

Email providers use these blocklists to track the IP addresses connected to spammers and block their emails from getting delivered.

Some examples of IP-based blocklists are:

If your email address is on a blocklist, your emails won’t get delivered to your audience's inbox. This means your audience won’t see your emails, and you won’t get any replies. To avoid this, the first thing you should do is check if you’ve been blocked.

How to check if your email is on a blocklist?

Knowing if you’re on an email blocklist will help you quickly take steps to get removed, so you can stop landing in spam.

Here are 3 ways to find out if your email has been blocked:

1. Monitor your email metrics:

Your email might be blocked if you haven’t been getting replies or open rates are suddenly low. By monitoring your email metrics, you can discover the potential reasons you’re blocked and take steps to get unblocked.

Here are 3 metrics you can use to monitor your email deliverability:

2. Audit your email deliverability:

You should first check your sender reputation because a poor score might cause your emails to be blocked or sent to the spam folder, where your audience won’t see them. On the other hand, a good sender reputation lowers your chances of landing in spam or getting blocked.

This deliverability checker on lemstack can help you audit your domain (for example, and find out if:  

✅ your MX records are set up

✅ your SPF, DKIM, and DMARC are configured

✅ you're not on any blocklists

3. Contact your email service provider:

Your email provider will notify you whenever your IP or domain is on a blocklist. But you can still contact them to be sure you haven’t missed any of these notifications in the past.

How to get off a spam email blocklist

There are 5 steps you could follow to get removed and improve your deliverability 👇

1. Find out which blocklist you’re on

The first step is to find out which blocklists you’re on. This will help you know what lists to target since every blocklist has its own process to get removed.

There are 2 ways to find out which blocklists you’re on:

  • Use blocklist-checking tools like this one on lemstack to know the names of your blocklists.
  • Search for your domain name directly on blocklist databases.

For example, here I checked if the lemwarm newsletter domain has been blocked on URIBL 👇

2. Find out why you’re on a blocklist

Once you’ve identified the blocklist(s) you’re on, understand why your email IP or domain was blocked in the first place.

Ask these questions to figure out potential reasons why you might be blocked:

  • Did you get too many spam reports?
  • Was your bounce rate too high?
  • Did you send too many emails at once?

The exact reason why your email was blocked will be mentioned in the blocklist report you get.

3. Fix the issue

Depending on why you were blocked, ensure you’ve taken steps to fix the issue.

For example, if you were blocked for getting too many spam complaints, here’s what you can do:

→ Add a clear unsubscribe button to ensure that only people who want to receive your emails stay on your list.

→ Take feedback from your audience to understand what you could do better. ****Spam complaints could mean your audience isn’t enjoying your content and it doesn’t add value to them.

Clean your email list and update it as your offer evolves to ensure you’re reaching out to the right audience who will find it valuable.

4. Request for removal

Every blocklist has a process to get removed. Sometimes, following deliverability best practices for a few weeks automatically removes you.

Either way, you can only request an email blocklist removal when you’ve fixed the issue that got you blocked. Once you have, contact the blocklist and ask for the required steps to get removed.

Usually, this includes filling out a form, sending out an email, or paying a fee.

For example, invaluement has a dedicated process for delisting requests 👇

5. Monitor your deliverability

Once you’re removed from the blocklist, monitor your deliverability before, during, and after sending email campaigns. This will help you take other steps to boost your deliverability and avoid the spam folder.

For example, if you see any soft bounces in your email reports, you should immediately reduce your bounce rate before it triggers email providers and gets you blocked.

You can use lemwarm to monitor your deliverability & get notified in case of any issues. 👇

9 tips to protect your email from getting blocked

It's best to avoid getting blocked in the first place. Here are 9 tips to avoid looking like a spammer and protecting your email address from getting blocked.

1. Avoid using spam-trigger words

Spam-trigger words like "free," "act now," and "limited time offer" are common in spam or phishing emails. Using such words or phrases in your emails could trigger spam filters and get you blocked.

Here’s a list of 20 spam words to avoid in your emails👇

2. Don’t buy your email lists

When you buy your email list, you're sending emails to people who haven't opted-in to receive your emails. This is unethical, and without your audience’s consent, you’ll get low open rates, high bounce rates, and spam complaints. Over time, poor email results like these could get your emails blocked.

Check out the “keep your email list healthy” guide for tips to grow your email list.

3. Use double opt-in to grow your email list

Double opt-in is a two-step process where subscribers confirm their subscription by clicking on a link sent to their email. Taking your audience’s consent to send emails increases your chances of getting replies and prevents spam complaints or blocklisting.

For example, here’s the confirmation email you’ll get for the lemwarm newsletter👇

5. Keep a healthy image-to-text ratio

Emails with too many images and little text look sales-y and are often flagged as spam since that’s what most spam campaigns look like.

6. Complete your technical setup

Completing your technical setup verifies that you are a real sender and helps email providers ensure that your emails are legitimate and not spam.

Your technical setup is made up of 3 key settings:

lemwarm will notify you if something’s missing from your technical setup & give you tips to boost your deliverability 👇

7. Don’t send all your emails at once

If you send a large volume of emails simultaneously, email providers could assume you're sending spam and block you. Instead of sending all your emails at the same time, you can schedule them to get sent slowly throughout the day.

8. Use links instead of attachments

Emails with attachments can be flagged as spam since they are often used in phishing attacks. So it’s better to use links instead of attachments when you want to share files or media with your audience!

9. Avoid too many special characters in your email

Special characters, like exclamation marks (!!) and dollar signs ($$), are often used in spam campaigns. Emails containing too many of these characters can be flagged as spam, ultimately leading to blocklisting.

Here’s an example of email content that could get flagged as spam 👇

The Ultimate Checklist to Avoid Email Blocklists

Anything that tells email providers that you’re sending unwanted or dangerous emails to your audience could get you blocked. Getting removed from blocklists can be difficult (and sometimes impossible). The best way to protect your email address is to avoid blocklists in the first place.

To protect your address from getting blocked and make sure you’ve covered all bases to avoid spam, get the Ultimate Checklist to Avoid Email Blocklists.

You’ll find steps to avoid getting blocked & detailed guides for each step.👇