The 554 5.7.1 SMTP error

Note: SMTP error codes are not an exact science, because different servers can assign different meanings to the same error code. However, there are things that are likely to be true, and we are going to talk about them.

Well, you’ve received this nasty “554 5.7.1” SMTP error message—maybe even more than one.

Why did it happen? Let’s talk about it.

The most likely reason for this error is that recipients’ spam filters didn’t let your message through. There are a couple of things that might have led them to reject your message:

  • Your IP address (the one associated with the domain name and email address itself) has been added to a blacklist commonly available somewhere, which is used by spam filters when they check incoming emails. There are online resources that allow you to check if an IP address is on a specific blacklist (we will talk about that later on).
  • Your IP address has been added to a recipient’s private blacklist, which isn’t publicly available; in this case, it’s much harder to find out whether this is what happened.

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Causes of a 554 5.7.1 SMTP error

Now, your IP doesn’t get added to a blacklist just for the fun of it (even though it can happen accidentally in some cases). Let’s talk about the primary causes for an IP to be blacklisted.

  • You sent an email (or most likely, a large number of emails to a big list of recipients) and the contents of the email suggested that it was spam. When you send bulk emails and engage in what is called “email marketing” and “email newsletter distribution,” you become even more vulnerable to spam filters, and your chances of getting on a private or shared blacklist increase dramatically.
  • You sent an email (or most likely, a large number of emails to a big list of recipients) and the contents of the email suggested that it was spam. When you send bulk emails and engage in what is called “email marketing” and “email newsletter distribution,” you become even more vulnerable to spam filters, and your chances of getting on a private or shared blacklist increase dramatically.
  • You’ve been infected by a virus that automatically sends spam from your email box, in which case you wind up on a blacklist without doing anything at all.

How to get rid of the 554 5.7.1 error

So, what can you do to make the 554 5.7.1 message go away, and let your recipient finally get your email?

  • Check the “FROM” and “RECIPIENT” addresses and make sure that they are correct.
  • Make sure you have installed spam checking software to ensure that no virus can send automatic messages from your mailbox.
  • Check the configuration of your SMTP server (this is a job for the webmaster): specify a DNS signature, make sure that you are logged in, and follow your mail server’s anti-spam policy.
  • When all of the above is done, make sure that your email isn’t on a blacklist. Most of blacklists allow you to remove an IP if it was added due to a mistake or misconfiguration. Here is an example of the removal form. However, if your email gets on the same blacklist again, it might be close to impossible to remove it a second time.
  • If you use a free email service or don’t know how to configure your email server, and there is nobody around to help you out, the best solution for you is to use an SMTP service. To put it simply, an SMTP service is a third-party outgoing email server specifically configured for large-scale email campaigns; it doesn’t require any additional configuration from the end user. The additional perks that you get are removal of any restrictions on the quantity of emails sent per hour (or per day) and considerable speed improvement. If you are an email marketer, or just send large quantities of email on a regular basis (like newsletters, emails that announce sales, discounts, etc), you simply have to consider this option.

The most common 554 5.7.1 messages

  • 554 5.7.1 : Client host rejected: Access denied
  • 554 5.7.1 : Service unavailable; Client host X.X.X.X blocked using zen.spamhaus.org
  • 554 5.7.1 : Relay access denied
  • 554 5.7.1 : Recipient address rejected: Access denied
  • 554 5.7.1 : Message cannot be accepted, rules rejection
  • 554 5.7.1 : Message refused by Dictionary check
  • 554 5.7.1 : Relay Access Denied for One Domain
  • 554 5.7.1 : Message cannot be accepted, spam rejection
  • 554 5.7.1 : Message refused by DNSBL check
  • 554 5.7.1 : Sender address rejected: Access denied

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