17 December 2021 | 5 min read

How To Remove IP From Spamhaus Blocklist: Step by Step Guide 2022

Learn more about the Spamhaus blocklist, the reasons why IP addresses get blocklisted and how to remove IPs from this blocklist.

Spamhaus IP blocklist.

Are you having trouble sending emails? While sometimes this might be due to poor internet connection, another reason behind it might be more stressful. Your IP address might exist in a Spamhaus blocklist. Don’t worry if your IP was blocklisted because we have got you covered. This step-by-step guide explains how to remove IP from Spamhaus blocklist.

Before you learn how to fix the problem, keep reading to find out what the Spamhaus blocklist is and why certain IP addresses end up in it.

What is the Spamhaus Blocklist?

The Spamhaus Block List (SBL) is a real-time database of IP addresses that Spamhaus identifies as a spam source according to its listing criteria. More specifically, according to the SBL policy, the list includes IPs that send unsolicited bulk emails or spread threats.

While a lot of people receive bulk emails, they are not necessarily spam. Bulk emails can, for example, include newsletters and advertisements that you subscribe to. On the other hand, cybercriminals can use spam as a vehicle for cyberattacks and malware.

Luckily, this list can help Spamhaus users reduce traffic from IP addresses that may be related to spam. Many internet service providers (ISPs), email service providers and corporations use the Spamhaus blocklist. It currently protects more than 3 billion user mailboxes from spam.

Two email inboxes. one full of emails, the second full of spam.
A blocklist prevents spam from reaching the inbox

Why do IPs get blocked by Spamhaus?

While Spamhaus does not block your IP address directly or prevent you from sending mail, it allows your recipient’s mail server to block your message. Spamhaus enables the mail server to check if your IP address is on the Spamhaus IP blocklists. If it exists on the blocklist, an email server may reject your mail. 

Fortunately, there are several solutions that an email administrator or ISP may employ.

Block dynamic IPs and port 25

While dynamic IP addresses provide flexibility to ISPs and reduce costs because they are cheaper than static IPs, they pose a bigger threat to their users. Since dynamic IP addresses change frequently, spammers can use that to conceal their identity when sending spam.

A good solution to protect email servers from spam is to add your dynamic IP ranges to the Policy Block List (PBL) database. If your IP is on this list, it does not mean you did something wrong. Instead, this protects your IPs from someone exploiting them to send spam without SMTP authentication to another email server. If you use Outlook or another program, make sure to turn on SMTP authentication. 

One more solution to limit spam traffic is to block SMTP port 25, a default port for email communication across the Internet. Unfortunately, spammers may exploit open port 25. They could use it to spread spam and infect computers with malware to create a network of botnets for large-scale attacks.

To make communication more private and secure, ISPs tend to block port 25 for email transmission between the email client (e.g., Outlook) and the email server. Instead of port 25, users should use other ports that require SMTP authentication to send their emails securely, such as port 587.

Enable SMTP authentication

If you can’t send an email through Outlook or another mail system due to PBL listing, make sure to enable SMTP Authentication (SMTP AUTH). It guarantees that only authorized senders use the email server.

If SMTP is on, verify that credentials for the email server (username and password) are correct. And to ensure the correct function of SMTP AUTH, use port 587 to send emails safely.

Scan for malware

Malware can infect your device when you visit suspicious websites, click on a link in a misleading email or download an attachment included in it. If malware infects a computer, the attacker can hijack the device to perform anonymous attacks. By taking over the device, hackers can also attempt to steal data without the user’s knowledge.

Luckily, you can prevent that from happening. Ensure that your antivirus software is up-to-date and regularly run a full scan of your device. Also, do not open any suspicious emails and links or attachments they might contain.

A bug on a computer screen representing malware detection.
Regular malware scans can help prevent malicious infections

Remove IP from the Spamhaus blocklist 

If you suspect that your IP might have been blocklisted, you should check the reputation of that IP address. And if you verify that your IP has been blocklisted and find out why, you can request Spamhaus to delist it. 

If you don’t have your own email server, you need to contact your ISP or the organization that assigned you the IP address and ask for assistance. If you own your email server, the Spamhaus IP and domain reputation checker might help perform an in-depth investigation and reveal why your IP address is blocked.

Follow these steps to find out if your IP is blocklisted and learn how to have the IP removed from the blocklist.

1. Run a blocklist check for your IP

The first step is to access the Spamhaus IP and domain reputation checker (previously known as Blocklist Removal Center). Enter your IP address into the search box and click Lookup.

Spamhaus lookup tool for IP, domain or hash.

If your IP address exists on the Spamhaus blocklist, you may see your search result come back with a warning message.

Click Show Details to find more detailed data that might help explain and resolve the issue. Note that if you don’t have access to your email server, you may not be able to solve this yourself. Instead, you may need to contact your email provider or ISP.

Why is this IP address listed in Sapmhaus blocklist notification.

Note: If you are a Spamhaus user, you have access to other blocklists. ZEN, a comprehensive blocklist that contains SBL, XBL and PBL blocklists, can make IP lookup easier and faster. Moreover, the ZEN blocklist shows return codes to indicate in which blocklist the IP address exists.

Return codes in the spamhaus ZEN blocklist.

2. Indicate the block reason

Spamhaus can add IP addresses to the blocklist for different reasons. However, if they exist in XBL or SBL, that may identify a security problem. To investigate the reason behind it, look through your server logs. They can reveal data about suspicious activity inside and outside your network.

The Spamhaus IP domain and reputation checker further facilitates the investigation by helping to identify what the issue might be.

If you checked your log files, found the problem and fixed it, you can request IP address removal from the Spamhaus blocklist by ticking a box and clicking Next Steps.

Next step button in the IP removal from spamhaus blocklist process.

3. Request removal from the blocklist

To petition IP address removal from the Spamhaus blocklist, fill the form to provide your contact data and click Submit.

Contact form for removing IP from spamhaus blocklist.

When Spamhaus accepts your removal form, it will process it immediately. However, note that the removal process may take a few minutes up to 24 hours. If your IP address is still on the blocklist after 24 hours, contact Spamhaus for removal assistance.

Conclusion

While IP addresses may be blocklisted for different reasons, it does not necessarily mean that your IP is abused or your device is sending spam. If you find your IP on PBL lists, this may be no cause for concern. On the other hand, if your IP address exists on the XBL or SBL list, you should thoroughly investigate the problem and fix it ASAP.

If you cannot delete the IP from the blocklist on your own, you can always contact your email service provider or ISP to help resolve the issue and get tips on how to avoid it in the future.

Still need help?

Slack community

Get involved in the IPXO Slack community.

Ask the IPXO community

Contact support

If you have any questions, contact our support team!