eMerge Blog

What is the difference between hard bounces and soft bounces?

Posted February 5, 2015

An email bounce means that the email was not delivered to the inbox that it was intended for. Hard bounces and soft bounces are inevitable, and the difference is that hard bounces are permanent and soft bounces are temporary. Let's take a look at what causes an email to bounce and what you can expect to happen with those contacts in your eMerge account.
Hard Bounces
An email that is marked as a hard bounce was not able to be delivered because of a permanent reason. The email could have been misspelled or fake, the domain doesn't exist, or the server has completely blocked delivery. In your eMerge account, an email address marked as "hard bounce" is immediately removed from your contact list and placed in the bounce list. These contacts do not count towards your total contacts.
Soft Bounces
A soft bounces typically means the email could not be delivered because of a temporary issue. Common reasons for a soft bounce is  that the recipients email inbox is full, their server is down, or the email is just too large.
Soft bounces are handled differently than hard bounces in your eMerge account. When an email address soft bounces it means delivery to that address was attempted multiple times over the course of 3 days, but was not successful. After attempting delivery for those 3 days, we log the email address as a soft bounce. If that email address continues to soft bounce on future emails, the email address will eventually be considered a hard bounce and cleaned from your list.
The reason eMerge removes hard and soft bounces for you is because it helps your overall deliverability. If we did not remove these email addresses for you, your email address would get a reputation from email servers for sending bad emails.

POSTED ON 02-05-2014