I received the following message failure response:

Delivery to the following recipient failed permanently:


Technical details of permanent failure:
Google tried to deliver your message, but it was rejected by the server for the recipient domain xxxxx.com by mailserver1.xxxxx.com. [xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx].

The error that the other server returned was:
550 Rule imposed as xxxx@mycompany.com is blacklisted on Spamhaus - see www.spamhaus.org

I went to the Spamhaus website and checked to see if my domain was listed on any blacklists, and it looks like we're not blacklisted at all.

We use Google Apps for our email, so I'm wondering if Google's IP address or domain was flagged as spam... or am I missing something? Thanks for your help.

  • Did you check both domain name and IP address??
    – closetnoc
    May 7 '15 at 20:32
  • Yes, I checked both. Both were not blacklisted.
    – Nick S.
    May 7 '15 at 20:53
  • Okay. I was just checking. People often do not realize that checking both the domain name and IP address is a good idea. Some tools do not test both when the domain name is provided. I think that is a mistake. The one I recommend is mxtoolbox.com/blacklists.aspx. JIC you used another, it may be a good idea to try this one. I recommend this tool over others because it seems to always ferret out a problem when one exists. I wish I had an answer for you. I will have to think on this question for a while.
    – closetnoc
    May 7 '15 at 21:17
  • BTW- Some higher volume e-mail sites cache blacklists to reduce network volume and do not update their cache very often. For example, I have seen anywhere from a week to a month normally. One ridiculous well known telcom used yearly blacklists (last time I looked) which is outrageous! These yearly blacklists can retain false reports, easily cleared errors, and reports that have nothing to do with e-mail and these lists are generally composite lists meaning that a minor report such as possible system vulnerability as a result of accessing a website can stop e-mail. Crazy!!
    – closetnoc
    May 7 '15 at 21:40
  • 1
    Did you check to see if Google's IP address (the one used in this specific message) is blacklisted? I'm curious to know the results.
    – digijim
    May 7 '15 at 22:07

In many instances even though the error message returned states that Spamhaus was the reason for the block this is a template error message and it could be from any number of blacklists. If you do a blacklist search using http://mxtoolbox.com/ for both the domain and for the IP address that will search all blacklists to see if you are blacklisted anywhere.

In addition as @closetnoc states in his comment many high traffic sites cache the results of blacklist checks and some even fill their own blacklists based on regular data dumps from other blacklist providers and so even if you have been removed from all blacklists it can sometimes take anywhere from a few days to several weeks to be completely unblocked from anywhere. You can contact the receiving parties IT department to mention that the block is incorrect and that you don't exist on any blacklists but the most common response I have gotten to this sort of enquiry in the past has been to say that the process is automated and I will just have to wait until the receiving parties systems update their local blacklist or the cached record expires.

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