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Understanding Email Bounces: Hard Bounce vs. Soft Bounce
Understanding Email Bounces: Hard Bounce vs. Soft Bounce

This article provides an overview of the reasons behind email bounces and the various types of email bouncing.

Justin Tilley avatar
Written by Justin Tilley
Updated over a week ago

When sending emails, it's important to understand the concept of bounces. A bounce occurs when an email cannot be delivered to the intended recipient. Bounces are classified into two types: hard bounce and soft bounce. In this article, we will explore the differences between these two types of bounces and provide insights into their causes.

Hard Bounce

A hard bounce refers to a permanent delivery failure. It typically occurs when an email cannot be delivered and cannot be sent to the recipient's mailbox. Common causes of hard bounces include:

  • Non-existent or invalid email address: The recipient's email address does not exist or contains a typo.

  • Domain-related issues: The recipient's domain does not exist or has been discontinued.

  • Blocked email address: The recipient's email server has blocked incoming messages from the sender's domain or IP address.

  • Content-related issues: The email content violates the policies of the recipient's email service provider, leading to rejection.

To maintain good email sender reputation and deliverability, it is crucial to regularly remove hard bounced email addresses from your mailing list.

Soft Bounce

A soft bounce refers to a temporary delivery failure. It occurs when an email cannot be delivered to the recipient's mailbox at a particular time but may succeed in subsequent delivery attempts. Common causes of soft bounces include:

  • Mailbox full: The recipient's mailbox has reached its storage limit and cannot accept new messages temporarily.

  • Temporary delivery issues: The recipient's email server may be experiencing technical difficulties or undergoing maintenance, resulting in a temporary failure in email delivery.

  • Message size or content issues: The email message is too large or contains content that triggers spam filters, causing a temporary rejection.

Unlike hard bounces, soft bounces do not require immediate action as the email server will attempt redelivery at a later time. However, monitoring persistent soft bounces is essential to ensure successful email delivery.

The Bounces tab in Eagle displays only hard bounces since soft bounces will keep retrying. This is the reason for the inconsistency in these numbers.


Understanding the differences between hard bounces and soft bounces is crucial for effective email management. By proactively addressing bounces and maintaining a clean email list, you can enhance your sender reputation, improve email deliverability, and maximize the effectiveness of your email campaigns.

We Are Here to Help

If you need additional help with this, please get in touch with our Eagle Support Team by phone at (03) 9016 0444 or by email at [email protected]

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