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Can I Tell If Someone Blocked My Texts and Email?

Question: How can I tell if my email has been blocked? The email address I send to is good and working, but it’s not working for me. Have I been blocked? I tried texting, but got no response there either. Is there any way of knowing if my emails ever get opened or deleted? And if I’m blocked, is it my email address that’s blocked or my IP address?

No, you cannot tell if someone has blocked your email or your texts. That’s also true for most instant messaging tools like Facebook Messenger, Snapchat, WhatsApp, and others.

When there’s no feedback, there’s just no way to know what happened.

Let’s explore why I say that.

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Email and texts can fail to be delivered for many reasons. One of those reasons is that you’ve been blocked by the recipient. Other reasons include your email address being blocked by the recipient’s email provider, your email service having a bad reputation, or your message looking too much like spam. There’s no required feedback mechanism in either protocol, so you can never know for certain.

Many reasons, mostly spam

Stop!The root problem is there are many reasons your mail or texts may not get through. It’s usually related to managing spam and occasionally due to misconfigurations.

If you don’t get any message back indicating why something failed, it’s basically impossible to determine which reason applies.

It could even be a combination of reasons.

You could be blocked by your recipient

It’s possible your intended recipient has indeed blocked you. All this means is email from your email address or texts from your mobile number will be automatically deleted or immediately filtered to spam. In most cases, that’s all a “block” really is.

You may not get any kind of notification.1

All you can do is ask the recipient to make sure they haven’t blocked you, assuming you have some other way to contact them.

If they respond, and it turns out they have blocked you, you can ask them to explain their reasons for blocking you in the first place (pay attention to those reasons), and ask them to unblock you.

You could be blocked by your recipient’s ESP

It’s possible your email address has been blocked by the recipient’s email service provider (ESP), or by a spam filter along the way.

These days it’s pretty rare, but it’s still a possibility. If your email address has been seen as a source of spam at any point in its history (for example, if your account has been hacked and used to send spam), then sometimes ESPs will block it. Mobile providers may have similar lists for mobile numbers known to have sent text-messaging spam.

If you get no bounce message in return, there’s really no way to know if your email has been blocked and discarded.

Your ESP could have a bad reputation

The reputation of your email service provider plays a large role in determining whether your messages will be delivered.

If your email service has a reputation of being the source of a lot of spam — meaning it allows its services to be used by spammers — then all email originating from that service suffers.

Fortunately, most hard blocks of this type do generate a bounce message with some indication of the problem. However, just as with you being individually blocked, if you get no bounce message in return, there’s really no way to know whether your ESP has been blocked.

Your message could look “spammy”

More often than being blocked, email is instead often discarded or diverted into a spam folder because it “looks spammy”. Exactly what that means varies quite a bit and constantly changes.

Worse, there are no absolutes, and everything combines. The spammy-ness of your message, plus the reputation of your ESP, plus the history of your recipient’s use of the “this is spam” button, and more all combine at delivery time to determine what happens to your message.

I’ll assume your message isn’t attempting to promote body-part enhancement products or other common spam topics. Even so, it might make sense to review your message with the eyes of a spam filter in mind.

If  your email gets filtered as spam, you get no notification.

Things to try

If you find your email has been filtered into your recipient’s spam folder, make sure they mark it as “not spam”. This trains the spam filter that you’re not a spammer. It may take marking multiple messages to do this.2

You might also ask them to look into allow-listing your email address on their service, if they have that ability, or allow-listing your mobile number, if this is a text messaging issue. (Allow-listing identifies known email addresses or phone numbers and allows them through.)

Another test would be to send using a different provider, beginning with simple test messages that are unlikely to be flagged as spam due to their content.

The bottom line, however, is that if someone explicitly blocks you, there’s really no way to know unless they also explicitly tell you.

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Footnotes & References

1: If you do, of course, examine it carefully for clues as to why your message was not delivered.

2: As in many messages. And, depending on the spam filter being used, it may not work at all.

41 comments on “Can I Tell If Someone Blocked My Texts and Email?”

  1. Hi, I have a slightly different problem. Spammers have used my email id as an alias for many years (maybe due to poor server setup), causing my genuine business email to be listed on a lot of spammer lists for no fault of mine. Most of the spam seems to originate from Russia, but I still get the message that spam is originating from my IP address in some lists like Barracuda, which is not possible. How can I prevent my email id from being used as an alias and how can I get it removed from these filter lists?

    To the best of my knowledge you cannot. More here: Someone’s sending from my email address! How do I stop them?!



  3. @E.R.
    If you sister’s domain is blocked, the best thing she could so would be to contact her ISP (Internet company) and ask them about this.

  4. A few inquiries (to co’s I am seeking product info) of mine go unanswered ,, and I subscribed to a tech forum that their website would not let me access ,, I contacted the Forum (through F/B) and a Smart Admin there realized I was on some type of “Junk List” and removed me from it !!

    All in all I jus stay away from explicit web browsing and my E-mail addy seems OK ,, dating/singles websites seems to be the culprit that may have put me on a list ,,I recently returned toview one and now I wont go away !!

    How to get Off a Junk List Leo ??

  5. A few years back, I had a problem with my email provider’s domain being blocked by Hotmail. In that case I got a bounce message from Hotmail. Another way to determine if the problem is with the email provider bing blocked is to Google it, for example something like: “hotmail blocked”.
    If the two email providers are big enough, that kind of thing will usually show up in forums.
    In my case I wrote to Mary Jo Foley and she was able to contact Microsoft and work it out.

  6. There is another reason for emails not getting through and that has to do with the DNS (Domain Name Server). My ISP recently changed their email setup. I could send to everyone except one person on my contacts list. I contacted my ISP and they determined that the server at the other end could not make a Name match with my ISP.

    The two providers worked the problem out between them.

  7. If your IP address is what is blacklisted, you may find a workaround by powering off your router.

    Wait about 20-30 seconds, then power it back on. Chances are your IP address will be different unless you have a commercial account.

  8. As test, just send an email to yourself.
    Also, if you use an email client such as Thunderbird, go directly to your email at your ISP. In my case it is Verizon.

  9. Hi Leo, My daughter and stepson have moved from Germany to USA. They had a .de
    prefix on their email address. I would think their account in Germany is closed.
    How can that assumption be checked. I sent her a couple of mails. Have gotten no
    messages from her browser company.

  10. I’d had a problem with lost emails over the years, often from websites sending me password-resetting emails. I finally had it happen with a site where I knew the webmaster, and he kindly traced the path of the e-mail he sent. He was seeing messages like:

    “Jun 10 20:27:26 xxxxxxx sendmail[15537]: q5ANsFqg015464: to=, ctladdr=<xxxxxx (500/100), delay=00:33:01, xdelay=00:16:49, mailer=esmtp, pri=8042339, [], dsn=4.0.0, stat=Deferred: Connection reset by"

    (x's replacing actual email addresses). Which seemed to place the blame squarely on mi ISP's (Verizon's) doorstep. I could never find anyone via Verizon's custome "support" who could explain this, much less fix it, so I use another ISP now.

    So, if you can talk your sender into doing a little work to find out where his mail is going, you might find the cause, although that doesn't ensure finding a solution.

  11. A new version of an operating system REPLACES the previously installed operating system. Your email address has no bearing on your operating system.

  12. I have an undesirable person who sends unwanted unkind emails. I used the Blocked option for his aol address, but I still get them. What message is he getting on that end when he trys to send an email?

  13. People keep saying if you include links in your email that will get blocked. I totally disagree with that. Can anyone confirm that links in emails do not cause your email address to get blocked?

    • Links alone are not enough – I include links all the time. HOWEVER links to KNOWN BAD (or even “possibly bad”) websites and domains could cause your message to be considered spammy or be blocked.

  14. Hello! Can an email, sent to my account, be blocked by another person? I was waiting for a very important mail and it appeared in my inbox 3 days later, as it was not seen by me. Is it possible? Thankyou very much

  15. I have sent multiple emails , and it shows in my sent folder they were sent, then says draft. Did he get them, read them or all just go to my draft folder?

    • No real way to know. I’d have to know what email server AND program you’re using to start. Best might be to ask one of the recipients if they got it.

  16. One of the things we sell is industrial wire strippers, for reclaiming scrap metal from discarded wires. I’m embarrassed to admit that it took me way too long to realize the word “stripper” was in the brochures we were trying to email…which, of course, spam filters don’t like.

  17. I am in the UK and know many of my emails do not make it as friends have told me. My normal mail address is not a commercial one and when checked my server is not a source of spam. All mail settings on my server are correct. My experience has been that it is often organisations who are using services such as mimecast and other American email security services that are at the root of the problem. I believe they are using badly written software which is really scrweing up mail delivery. Other peopl have told me they are increasingly getting the same problem. Time for a major rethink on email security?

  18. I have the new software put out by verizon (who is partner to AOL)
    hey want me to sign up with a new account. I filled out the info but do not have a cell phone number. They have blocked all my emails incoming and outgoing. Why do I need a cell number?

  19. Hi
    If you send an email to someone and you get an auto reply back sayin there on annual leave
    And you know that the person is on holiday does this mean they have received your email
    Many thanks.

    • Not necessarily. It could mean it’s been discarded, it could mean it’s in their inbox. There’s no way to know. If it is in their inbox, of course there’s no way to know if they will actually see and read it, ever.

  20. How Can I Tell If My Email has been Blocked?
    Send the same email using “Disposable Temporary E-Mail Address” and if it gets delivered that means your email is blocked. Please correct me if I am wrong

    • That’s a good idea, and honestly is really just “send from another email address”. Only caveat, of course, is where you get your disposable email address. I just have multiple email accounts that I use as needed at different providers.

  21. For year and a half I have been corresponding with someone from another country. More or less , “ pen pals” . Recently, quite abruptly, my pen pal hasn’t emailed me back . In my in box , under sent , it shows my complete “ sent “ email and gives no indication that the receiver isn’t getting it. Since it’s showing “ sent “ and my email contents , does that mean anything?


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