Email Bounce Backs

Nov 26 2014

ne of the questions we often deal with at Mantralogix is concerning missing email. Our number one tool to deal with this is the Delivery Status Notification (DSR), more commonly known as bounce backs.  These notifications let you know that the server has detected a problem and provide you with a bit of detail on what the problem might be as well as actions to take.

Below is an example bounce back.


Let’s look at the highlighted sections for important information:

The description – This tries to explain what has happened. Here the email failed permanently, so it the email won’t be delivered.  Other times it may say that the email was only delayed. In the latter case you just have to wait for delivery or another message indicating a failure of delivery. It’s important to note that email was designed when the internet had less than 15 computers on it and they were not always turned on. The standard that specifies email allows for up to 4 to 5 days for delivery.

To who – This specifies exactly which email address encountered the problem. This is very useful when sending an email to multiple addresses; you can see exactly which one had an issue.

Which server sent this – This is part of the technical details and allows technicians to see where along the way the problem occurred, but it’s useful for the user too. For instance this email was sent from a Gmail account to an email address at Mantralogix.  The server generating the message was (our Mantra Antispam solution). This tells me that the problem has nothing to do with the Gmail server and resides on the Mantralogix side.

Technical Details – This area displays a code that is used by mail administrators to track down exactly what kind of error you are experiencing. Many mail servers today also try to explain this in plain English as well. For instance, this message says that the user is unknown. As you can see I tried to send an email to [email protected] which is clearly a user that doesn’t exist on our mail system, and the mail server replied saying so.

 Some other messages you might see in the technical details

o   Recipient has exceeded their mailbox limit – The receiver has too much email on the server. They should talk to their mail administrator and discuss remediation strategies

o   Unknown User – This could be a mistyped email address, the receiver’s mailbox was recently deleted, or some error on the recipients server. The best method here is to verify the email address by calling the person and if correct, they should talk to their mail administrator

o   This message is too large – The email is too big. Perhaps there are large attachments attached and many mail servers are set to not except mail above 10 MB.  

o   Blocked – You should contact your mail administrator immediately. This could be an error on the recipient’s end due to badly configured antispam solutions, or it could be an early warning to your mail administrator that something has gone wrong somewhere.

Of course if you have any questions, we are here to help at [email protected] . Please do note that when forwarding us an email bounce back that you have a question about it is best to send the email as an attachment. You can do this in Outlook 2013 by:

  1. Opening a new email
  2. In the message window click on Message
  3. In the Include group at the ribbon at the top select Attach Item

Click on Outlook Item, and browse through your folders to find the folder that contains the item you want. Under Items, click the item and then click OK.







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