How To Delist from Spamhaus DBL

You may be upset knowing that your email messages are classified as spam and blocked from reaching the target recipients. This can lead to lost revenue and time for finding an alternate means for delivering the messages. The listing of the domain name in Spamhaus DBL can be the cause of your inability to deliver emails.

In this article, we’ll tell you what Spamhaus DBL is, how a domain gets on it, and how to delist it from Spamhaus DBL.

What is Spamhaus DBL?

The Spamhaus DBL stands for Domain Block List. It is a list of domain names with poor reputations that were used in sending an unsolicited bulk email including phishing and fraud, or sending or hosting malware or viruses, as well as other domains with poor reputations due to many heuristics.

Possible scenarios are:

  • Server/domain misconfiguration: DNS record errors and other technical or coding issues that can make your SMTP server act as if it has malware.
  • Spam: if spam or spam-like activity is detected to be originating from a domain, it is likely to be blocked.
  • Domain rotation: repetitive change of domain names is likely to result in a blacklist.
  • Phishing emails: sending of emails designed to obtain sensitive information (such as credit card or bank account information) is likely to result in the Spamhaus DBL listing.
  • Viruses: viruses or other harmful material sent in the email would lead to a block..

Could you still be listed even if you didn’t do anything wrong?

If you have not been involved in any illegal activity deliberately, your domain could have been listed because you failed to confirm your email recipients. Sending to bogus, invalid, and spam trap email addresses is likely to produce a Spamhaus DBL listing.

How To Remove Domain from Spamhaus DBL?

The Spamhaus DBL has a self-service removal system. DBL listings will expire automatically after the domain stops matching the criteria that caused the listing.

However, it is possible to have the domain delisted before the listing expires.

If a listed domain is deemed to be eligible for removal, visit the Spamhaus lookup page, enter the domain and click “Lookup.”

Follow the instructions returned by the lookup form. You should note that:

  • Using the form does not guarantee removal.
  • Excessive removal requests and other form abusers may be blocked.

Once the delisting request is approved, it should only take a few minutes to get the domain off DBL, but some users may take up to 24 hours for removing the domain from their local systems.

Delisting from Spamhaus DBL is free of charge.

How to Avoid Spamhaus DBL Listing?

After you find out that your domain is blacklisted, the first thing you must do is stop sending email messages from that domain.

The next step is to examine your recent activities and understand what you could have done wrong.

To avoid getting on the Spamhaus DBL again, take the following steps:

  1. Check your infrastructure.

    Examine your domain configuration and sending sources. Ensure that the legal sources send authenticated emails. Use DMARC enforcement to block possible spam or phishing messages sent by spammers on behalf of your domain.

  2. Verify your email acquisition sources.

    Confirm all email addresses before adding them to your list. Sending emails to non-confirmed subscribers will result in the domain block in the future..

  3. Act on complaints.

    If you get negative feedback about unsolicited emails, remove the recipient from your list.

  4. Handle unsubscribes.

    Have a working unsubscribe process in place and put an unsubscribe link in the email in a visible place.

  5. Remove hard bounce and inactive emails.

    Repetitive sending to hard bounce email addresses could be the cause of the domain listing on Spamhaus DBL. Sending to inactive or bogus email addresses that could have been turned into spam traps leads to the Spamhaus listing too.

Can You Be Listed Again?

Yes. Even if you know how to delist from Spamhaus DBL, follow the email sending rules and best practices, and take absolute care in all the technical details, you could still be blacklisted.

There are other organizations that run blacklists and help mailbox providers block spam emails for different reasons. Some block emails to ISPs of an entire region or country, some block entire IP ranges. So if you are in a bad neighborhood, you’ll surely have great difficulty sending emails.

But the good news is that Spamhaus is the biggest service listing IPs and domains detected in illegal activities, and if you can keep your IP and domain off their databases, then you have a good chance to reach out to millions of recipients via email.

Additional Resources:

IP Blacklist Removal – How To Fix a Blacklisted IP Address
How To Remove Your IP From Yahoo Blacklist
How to Remove Your IP Address from Gmail’s Blacklist
How to Remove Your IP Address from the Hotmail/Outlook’s Blacklist

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Julia Gulevich is an email marketing expert and customer support professional at Geminds LLC with more than 15 years of experience. Author of numerous blog posts, publications, and articles about email marketing and deliverability.