We use different classifications to describe why a message was rejected or temporarily rejected.
Temporarily Rejected (4xx SMTP response)
Messages which have been temporarily rejected, stay stored on the sending mail server. Legitimate mail servers always automatically retry delivery of such messages. Depending on the reason of the temporary reject, the message could get accepted at a subsequent delivery attempt. It's always possible to whitelist the sender to disable any checks and to ensure that the message will get accepted as soon as it's retried by the sending server.
Temporary rejection due to greylisting. This technology is only applied to new IP addresses which do not have a (good) reputation yet in our global systems. We do not apply "classical greylisting" so this should not cause any delays on your legitimate traffic.
You have been denied authentication
This means that you have used incorrect outgoing authentication details too often in a short period of time. To resolve this, use the correct authentication details and wait a few moments and try again. This is to protect against brute-force attacks on your SMTP credentials.
Unable to verify destination address
This means the destination server is unreachable or temporarily rejecting the email traffic. You'll have to check the destination route set to ensure delivery is attempted to the correct server. The logs on the destination server should show why it is not accepting the delivery attempts.
Unable to verify sender address
This means the system was unable to verify the sender using a sender callout. You'll have to check the sender mail-server to verify why such callouts count not be done. When the sender verification option is used in the outgoing user settings, then each specific sender address must be verifiable like this.
An internal error occurred, this should automatically resolve. If not, please contact support .
Per-minute connection limit exceeded
The sender has exceeded his/her per-minute limit.
Too Many Connections
Too many connections from the sending server. Ratelimited.
Too Many Concurrent SMTP Connections
There is a hard-coded limit of 10 concurrent SMTP connections per IP to protect the systems against attack. Please ensure that the sending mail server only opens up a maximum of 10 concurrent connections to avoid hitting this limit.
Too many messages. Please wait for a while and try again.
This indicates that the outgoing user has exceeded the maximum amount of messages configured for that outgoing user to be sent. In case the limits should be changed, they can be modified via Spam Experts for the outgoing user. These limits can be entirely disabled there as well.
Mail for this domain cannot be accepted right now; please retry (Unable to handle in active connection.)
Within a single SMTP connection, it is possible to deliver a message to different recipients. The SMTP protocol only allows you to either "accept" OR "reject" the email, without distinguishing between the different recipients. In case one of the recipients has different filtering settings, we cannot "accept" or "reject" the message as the classification may differ per-recipient. In such case we return a temporary rejection, so the sending server will retry delivery individually for the recipients allowing to classify each message separately.
Most SMTP servers retry immediately, and hence there will be no delivery delay. If all recipients are sharing the same filtering settings, the message will be immediately accepted for all recipients (or rejected) without this temporary reject. In case a delay is experienced, the sender can instead configure their server to either immediately retry (to prevent such delay), or to open a separate delivery connection for each recipient.
Rejected (5xx SMTP response)
Messages which have been rejected are blocked by the system. Generally these messages can be reviewed in the "Spam quarantine", from where they can be released. It's always possible to whitelist the sender to disable any checks and to ensure that the message will get accepted as soon as it's retried by the sender.
Lines in message were longer than user maximum
This means that line within the email is longer than the set maximum. The RFC 5322 (SMTP 5321) specifies a maximum line length of 998. Normal email clients always enforce this limit to avoid delivery problems. The problem should be resolved at the sender side, or the check can be disabled.
Message had more parts than the user maximum (Too many MIME parts)
This refers to the amount of MIME parts that a message contains. The default limit is set to 100. This can be de-passed and triggered with excessive amounts of attachments or other MIME parts.
Sending server used an invalid greeting
The sender has used an invalid HELO/EHLO. This could be either because an IP address is used for the HELO, or because the HELO contains an invalid character, for example : underscore (_). The RFC states that a FDQN (Fully Qualified Domain Name) MUST be used.
Our systems considered this message as SPAM and quarantined the message. Releasing the message from quarantine will report it as a classification mistake to correct our systems.
This means that the SPF (Sender Policy Framework) has been broken. If this is legitimate mail, then this could be due to a forwarding construction. Please see our Set up SPF page for more information. Please note, releasing and training large amounts failed SPF messages, can result in the sending domain being skipped from further SPF checks.
Pyzor is a content related classifier based on collected/reported data from our datasets. Releasing the message from quarantine will report it as a classification mistake to correct our systems directly.
Sending server is missing DNS records
The sending server is missing MX records or A records. Please note that any DNS changes only take effect after the initially set TTL has expired.
Destination address does not exist
The destination server is rejecting the connection with a 5xx permanent failure. The logs on the destination server will show why the message was rejected. You'll have to resolve the problem on the destination server to ensure it accepts the email.
Recipient address rejected by destination
The destination server is rejecting the recipient callout with a 5xx permanent failure. The logs on the destination server will show why the message was rejected. You'll have to resolve the problem on the destination server to ensure that recipient callouts can be used.
Phishing attempt detected
Our systems detected a phishing attempt. Releasing the message from quarantine will report it as a classification mistake to correct our systems.
Date header far in the past or future
This classification means that the date header of the email is more than the default 7 days in the past or future. Releasing this will only deliver the message to the recipient. This is something the sender will need to resolve.
Bad header count (Message incorrectly formed)
Emails should never contain duplicate headers such as "Subject" or "To". In case such duplicate headers are found, the message will be rejected until the underlying bug is fixed in the email sending software.
Blacklisted sending server
The sending server has been blacklisted on the IP blacklist.
Sending server listed on multiple DNSBL
The sending server has been found on multiple blacklists. Releasing the message from quarantine will report it as a classification mistake to correct our systems. For a temporary override please see http://www.spamrl.com
Sending server attempted too many invalid addresses
The email sending server has attempted to deliver email to too many invalid email addresses in a certain time period. Please retry again later.
The sender was added to the custom sender blacklist.
A URL within the email has been listed on several blacklists. Releasing the message from quarantine will report it as a classification mistake to correct our systems. The rejection message contains more information about the responsible list.
A token was detected in the message that has been seen in recent spam (e.g. URL, IP, phone number, or other specific details). Releasing the message from quarantine will report it as a classification mistake to correct our systems.
External Pattern Match
The layout & format of the email matches known spam emails already listed. Releasing the message from quarantine will report it as a classification mistake to correct our systems. The rejection message contains more information about the responsible list.
User-specified blackhole address
A user specified /dev/null Address. This email will not get delivered anywhere.
The "combined" result provides a weighted classification score of the different classifiers. Depending on the configured "quarantine threshold", the message will be rejected as spam or accepted. A quarantine threshold score of 0.9 is recommended. To be more tolerable for senders using a wrong HELO/PTR/IP configuration, a score of 0.91 can be set. The lower the quarantine threshold, the more messages will be quarantined as spam. The SMTP message returned for this classification is "High probability of spam" to the sender. Please ensure to release the message from quarantine if it's legitimate, this will adjust the scoring in our various databases.
CRM114 is a statistical content check. When a message gets blocked by this classifier on our systems, then this mean there has been a close match within the email that corresponds to an already seen spam message. Releasing the message from quarantine will report it as a classification mistake to correct our systems.
Subject contains invalid characters
When a message is rejected with "550 Subject contains invalid characters" the email subject will have non-ASCII characters, which is not allowed by the RFC. To include non-ASCII characters in subjects, the subject is required to be properly encoded, for example with UTF-8. Any normal mail client will automatically handle that for you, so it's likely a bug in a custom written script that generated the invalid subject. The evidence header for this classification will show "Badly formed Subject header".
These are statistical content checks that are built based on data collected from all our clusters and clients worldwide. Releasing the message from quarantine will report it as a classification mistake to correct our systems..
We make use of certain datasets from Sanesecurity. To decode Sanesecurity signatures please check here.
In case your message has been rejected with "safebrowsing" in the rejection message, it means it has been (recently) listed by Google as hosting malicious files.
Header is too long
Spam Experts by default will reject emails with excessive large header values, as this is a common indicator for non-legit emails.
Restricted characters in address
In case your message has been rejected with "550 restricted characters in address" in the rejection message, it means that the recipient address contains a character that is not accepted by the system, for example: "&". You can control which characters are allowed for a domain on the "Domain settings" page.
Relay not permitted
In case your message has been rejected with "550 Relay not permitted!" in the rejection message, it means that delivery was attempted to the incoming filtering service on port 25 to a domain which has not (yet) been added to the filtering solution. To resolve this, please add the domain to the incoming filtering service. If you're trying to use the outgoing filtering service, please ensure to use the outgoing filtering service port 587 instead.
Message submission is for authorised users only!
This indicates you're attempting delivery via our outgoing email filter on port 465/587 (default). If you're receiving this response to an incoming email delivery attempt, your mail server is wrongly set up (and likely a misconfigured version of Lotus Domino). If you're trying to send outgoing email, please ensure to provide a valid username/password to authenticate.
Legitimate bounces are never sent to more than one recipient
In case your message has been rejected with "Legitimate bounces are never sent to more than one recipient" in the rejection message, it means that the mail server was trying to deliver an email to multiple recipients with an empty "MAIL FROM:<>" (return-path). The SMTP RFC 126.96.36.199 indicates that null sender emails (bounces) can never be sent to multiple recipients, so there may be be a misconfiguration on the mailserver.
Destination address is not configured
This usually means that the filtered domain is using 'Local Recipients' and that specific email address in not in their list of approved recipients.
The content of this message looked like spam
This indicates the message has been blocked based on our content scanners, as similar messages have been reported as spam. In case the message is legitimate, please ensure to release it from quarantine. This will update the statistical filters to prevent such issues in the future.
This message contains a known spam email address
This indicates that a known spam email address has been seen in the body or "Reply-To" field. These are commonly used in 419 type spam.
This error occurs if there is a (permanent) network error delivering to the destination mail server. This issue is unrelated to the Spam Experts software and indicates a network problem. Possibly the DNS servers of the domain are broken, or they cannot be reached from the filtering server. Alternatively it's possible the destination hostname or IP does not exist, or is unreachable because of a permanent issue. You can check for DNS errors on the following page: http://dnscheck.sidn.nl/. Please contact your network administrator to investigate any networking issues.
We do not accept mail from this address
This error occurs if the sender has been manually added to the "Sender blacklist" for the receiving domain.
We do not accept message/partial messages here
Before people had a permanent internet connection, sending larger emails was time-consuming and often failed. Therefore older email clients sometimes still break up large emails into separate parts for delivery. This old email feature is not used anymore nowadays, and imposes a severe risk as it makes detection of viruses impossible (as viruses would be split over separate emails before being assembled again by the destination email client). Please ensure to resolve your email client settings to to split up larger emails.
DMARC - REJECT
This error occurs if the sender's domain has a strict DMARC policy in place. If the sender's DMARC record is set to "REJECT" and the messages come from IP addresses that are not in the sender's SPF, then these are rejected and not quarantined.
DMARC - Quarantine
This error occurs if the sender's domain has a strict DMARC policy in place. If the sender's DMARC record is set to "QUARANTINE" and the messages come from IP addresses that are not in the sender's SPF, or have a failed DKIM, then these messages are quarantined. Whitelisting will not bypass this.
Messages that are rejected without being quarantined
Some messages are rejected immediately without being quarantined. This happens at SMTP level and the rejection is permanent. For example this will happen for Incoming messages in the following scenarios:
- Have an invalid recipient or domain
- Do not use TLS (if enforced on the incoming domain)
- Do not follow RFC specifications about sending, publishing records (invalid helo)
- Unsigned Bounce messages (if BATV is enforced)
- Messages containing malware/viruses,
- Restricted characters in the address local-part,
- Dmarc compliance fail with reject policy
- Blacklisted sender IP (Blacklisted by super-admin)
- Blacklisted sender IP on internal lists, while pre_data_dnsbl feature active (feature not exposed in Spam panel)
- Blacklisted envelope sender
- Maximum local parts reached (feature not exposed in Spam panel)
- Invalid HELO/EHLO greeting
- Maximum hourly bounces exceeded
- SPF indicates that the domain never sends email (spf1 -all)
- Headers contain illegal BOM
- Bounce message sent to more than one recipient
- Too many failed recipients
- Oversized messages
- Too many unrecognized commands
Outgoing messages are rejected in this way in the following scenarios:
- Messages do not provide authentication
- Too many failed authentication attempts (brute force protection)
- Do not use TLS (if enforced on the outgoing domain)
- Have the sender’s IP blacklisted
- Have the sender blacklisted (matching the envelope from)
- Have invalid senders
- Recipient could not be verified (check only ran for bounce messages)
- Ratelimit (when excessive messages per connection behaviour is set to drop)
- Bounce message sent to more than one recipient
- Headers contain illegal BOM
- Messages containing malware/viruses
- Restricted characters in the address local-part
- Oversized messages
- Too many unrecognized commands
Accepted (2xx SMTP response)
Messages that display the 'Accepted' response have been accepted for delivery but have not necessarily been delivered. If immediate delivery fails, the message will be retried automatically. If the destination server rejects the email, a bounce is sent to the sender.
Message looked like non-spam
This message was accepted for delivery based on our content checks. Reporting the message as spam will correct our systems.
The sending server is listed on several DNS-Whitelists. This means that no spam has been seen recently from this sending server. Reporting the message as spam will correct our systems.
The sender has been placed on a manual whitelist by the recipient. Removing the sender/recipient from the whitelist will prevent spam getting through.
Messages that show with 'statistical-method1-cluster' or 'statistical-method2-cluster' in the sub class column mean that the content of the message was statistically very similar to other messages that have been trained before on this cluster.
Messages that show with 'statistical-method1-global' or 'statistical-method2-global' in the sub class column mean that the content of the message was statistically very similar to other messages that have been trained before globally.