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Difference between hard bounce and soft bounce

14 May, 2021 | 3 Min Read

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When browsing through the reports on our email marketing software…you must have noticed that it separates out the soft bounces from hard bounces. Many of the new email marketers seem to know very little or nothing about soft bounces and hard bounces. So this blog post tries to explain it out.

A bounce is an email that gets returned to you usually named something like “Mail Delivery Failure…” or something along those lines. Since this rarely happens when you send emails personally from your inbox…it won’t be much of a concern to you. But consider sending 1000s of emails through our email marketing software and needing to processes these bounces manually. It would take forever. This is where our bounce management system comes into play. Our software looks at the content of these bounced messages which are forwarded to our inbox. It is sorted into 3 categories…

1. Invalid emails

These are the sort of emails that are not formatted properly. For example ‘’ is a correct email address but your list contains a typo – “”. There is no receiving server for “” which means it will return back to us as Invalid email. These emails are automatically cleaned for you so you can continue to remain as a trusted sender.

2. Soft Bounces

They basically mean that the email has been sent from our servers, processed by the recipient’s email server but was somehow returned back to us. There are several reasons for such happenings. Each reason is usually sent using a code which tells us precisely why it was returned back to us. This reason can be seen for each bounced email. The reasons range from the recipients email inbox being full (cannot receive any more new emails till they delete the old ones) or the recipient’s email server is temporarily offline and therefore is unable to take in your email. These soft bounces are not removed instantly from your email list but rather tried again several times before it is removed off your mailing list.

3. Hard Bounces

This type of bounce basically means, we have sent your email campaign through but the recipient’s server rejected it. The reasons also range in this type but typical ones include “Account doesn’t exist” or “domain doesn’t exist”.

Email It automatically cleans your mailing list

We’ll clean bounced email from your mailing list automatically. You won’t have to do a thing. Hard bounces are removed immediately. If we discover a soft bounce…it is noted for a single campaign, we will attempt to send the email at regular intervals for up to 3 days (We do what we can to help it try to get through, but we don’t want you to look like an automated spambot either). When you navigate to “Subscribers” page from the top menu, you will only see the Active contacts…you can choose to view bounced subscribers from an options menu. This will reveal all bounced subscribers from each of your mailing lists.

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