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Bounce Codes


A bounce occurs when delivery is rejected by the recipient email server. The reason an email is rejected for delivery determines if that bounce is considered hard or soft. All bounces are classified into several categories and treated as either a hard or soft bounce in Sugar Market.

Hard Bounce

A hard bounce indicates a permanent reason an email cannot be delivered. Hard bounces are set to DelStatus = 2 with the first bounce and will be excluded from any future mailings. Hard bounces are permanent failures and can be due to a bad address, recipient unknown or does not exist, or domain does not exist.

Soft Bounce

Soft bounces typically indicate a temporary delivery issue to an address. Sugar Market will try sending to addresses for fifteen mailings, and if delivery was not successful after fifteen mailings, then the address will be excluded from any future mailing. If a contact has activity of opening or clicking a message, the contact will be reset to count of 0 and continue to receive mail. Soft bounces are typically due to a full mailbox, network errors, or blacklisting/block scenarios.

The following describes bounce codes you may see for undeliverable emails in Sugar Market reports.

Bounce Code Bounce Type Description
bad_configuration hard Configuration issue on sending MTA.


Connection between our mail server and the receiving mail server could not establish a proper connection.

bad_domain hard Domain does not exist.
bad_mailbox hard Recipient's mailbox at the receiving mail server does not exist, no such user is available.
content_related soft Receiving mail server did not approve the content of the email.
inactive_mailbox hard Recipient's mailbox is inactive/disabled at the time the send was attempted.
message_expired soft Email message expired out of queue on the sending mail server prior to being delivered to the receiving mail server.
no_answer_from_host soft Sending mail server was unable to establish any connection with the receiving mail server.
policy_related soft Email was refused due to a local policy violation. This is typically due to spam or content issues in your messages or if your domain/IP is on a block list.
protocol_errors hard Receiving server suspected the email contained bad syntax and/or certain authentication protocols were not identified during the transit of the message.
quota_issues soft Recipient or local level email quotas were exceeded at the time of mailing.
relaying_issues soft Sending mail server was identified as an open relay.
routing_errors hard Firewall and/or router issues on the receiving mail server end.


Receiving mail server suspected the email content contained spam-like characteristics.

virus_related soft Receiving mail server suspected the email contained malicious code and/or content.
other soft Bounce type could not be properly classified into any of the above categories.