IP Blacklists

IP Blacklists

A question that is often raised, how did I end up on a blacklist when I am not a spammer? To answer this question we need to understand that every website resolves to an IP address. When a website owner purchases web hosting an IP address is assigned to that hosting space. In the case of shared hosting this IP address can be shared among multiple websites, this is where problems can arise. If any of the websites being hosted on the shared IP address are involved in spamming or hosting illicit content then that IP address can get blacklisted. Another reason for ending up on an IP blacklist can be due to one of the following:

  • The IP address was previously assigned to a website that was involved in spamming or hosting illicit content.
  • The server has been hacked and is being used to host illicit content or being used to send SPAM.
  • The server is misconfigured and is being used as an open relay to send SPAM.

Will being on a blacklist affect my rankings?

There is no straightforward answer to this question. Google have stated they understand that websites share IP addresses and that website owners are not responsible for their neighbours activities and in most cases being on a server with spammy sites should not affect rankings. However Google have also stated sharing an IP address with several spammy sites could look suspicious and attract scrutiny. Also consider if a server on a blacklisted IP address is used to deliver e-mail to a mailing list that drives traffic to the website, being on a blacklist significantly reduces the chances of these e-mails being delivered which in turn will reduce website traffic.

Blacklist removal

If an IP address has been blacklisted there are some steps that can be taken to have the IP address removed. In the first instance check to find out whether the IP address blacklisted is under your authority. If you know without certainty that the IP address under your authority is not being used to deliver spam or host illicit content, you can access the blacklist removal pages furnished by most IP blacklist operators, and ask them to remove the IP address from their list.

Having a reputable e-mail address in an electronic world is as important as having a reputable business reputation in the business world.

The effects of having a blacklisted IP address

Legitimate e-mail messages will be prevented from being delivered. E-mail is one of the best ways of reaching customers and providing information on products and services. It is documented that more than 90% of all e-mail is SPAM so this explains why the major players have taken such a strong stance against spammers.

E-Mail Compliance

To ensure compliance with guidelines on sending out e-mails please ensure the following:

  • Only send e-mails to people who have opted in to receive e-mails from your website or application.
  • Send a confirmation/verification link to confirm the subscription (double opt-in). This gives the subscriber an opportunity to opt out in the scenario it was not them who signed up.
  • Make sure processes are in place not to send further emails to recipients that have unsubscribed or complained of SPAM.
  • Do not purchase your e-mail list or scrape websites for e-mail addresses. These methods may appear to be a quick and effective means of compiling an e-mail list, however this could lead to your IP address being blacklisted.
  • Include a link in every email sent that allows recipients to unsubscribe from the mailing list.
  • Have a Privacy Policy in a place that can be easily accessed on the website.

Blacklist types

The three general blacklists are:

  • Public blacklists
    These are blacklists that are publicly accessible and can be immediately checked.
  • Enterprise SPAM firewalls
    Real-time network-distributed blacklists that are kept by SPAM firewall providers such as Barracuda, Cisco, McAffee and others.
  • Private / ISP blacklists
    These are kept by a majority of the major ISP's. Unfortunately it is not always possible to query these lists. Public e-mail services like Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo keep their own internal blacklists within their spam filtering technology and these lists cannot be queried either.

IP blacklist summary

With the right actions you can hopefully avoid the pitfall of having your IP blacklisted and maintain that imperative electronic reputation that all the major providers are looking for. Seopler checks all major public IP blacklists for every domain scanned. Sign up to one of our free or paid plans now and test whether your IP address is blacklisted.