In fact, there are so many ways it could fail, that sometimes I’m amazed it works at all.But it definitely works most of the time, and one of the ways that it works is that very bounce message that you get. It’s not only telling you that your message didn’t go through, but if you look a little closer, you’ll see it’s trying to tell you why.
Note that the email bounce message includes the email address you were attempting to send to. In the “[email protected]” bounce examples above, the mail server “example.com” doesn’t have an account for anyone with the email name “someone”.
A couple of common reasons: Nine times out of 10, this is the same as “mailbox not found.” The other 10% of the time it could mean there’s a problem with the recipient’s email account. Check to make sure you have the email address correct, wait a while, and try again; if it still bounces, contact the recipient some other way.
Sometimes this will show up as a part of a “Mailbox unavailable” message.
It’s fairly clear, though: your recipient has too much email, and their server isn’t accepting any more.
This is common with services that limit how much mail you can accumulate.
This can also be a sign of an abandoned account – someone’s stopped looking at and cleaning out their email. The largest example of this in recent memory was when “attbi.com” changed to “comcast.com”.
In any case, you need to contact your recipient through some other email account, or in some other way. Anyone trying to send to an old “attbi.com” email address might get this message in return.
What I’ll do here is list some of the most common messages, what they mean, and what you can do.
Remember, though – a message you get may not be worded exactly as I list it here.
Look carefully at the bounce message you receive and see which of these it’s most like. Buried in the all the geekery, I’ve highlighted a couple of important things.
The words”MAILBOX NOT FOUND” or “User unknown” are key, and might actually be expressed in different words, depending on the reason for the failure.