Nearly 17 percent of commercial emails never make it to the inbox, and mailbox providers reject one in every ten emails. If you’re meticulously crafting each campaign, but your deliverability metrics are tanking, the culprit could be closer than you think — your sender reputation, which is partly affected by your IP.
In this post, we’ll help you answer what is my email IP address. You’ll learn how to find yours, check its health, and return it to a high reputation.
Table of Contents
- What Is an IP Address for Email?
- How to Find the IP Address of Your Email Server
- Understanding Email IP Reputation
- 6 Tools to Check Your Email IP Reputation
- How Much Control Do You Have Over Your IP Reputation? Shared vs. Dedicated IP Addresses
- Best Practices to Regain a Healthy Email IP Reputation
- Campaign Refinery: Where Email Success is the Norm
What Is an IP Address for Email?
An IP address is a label assigned to every device connected to the internet. Think of it as a digital home address, which allows devices to send and receive information across the web.
Just like every house in a neighborhood has a different address, every device connected to the internet has a unique IP address. So, your personal computer or smartphone’s IP address is different from the IP address of the computer that sends your emails to your subscribers — your email server.
An email IP address specifically refers to the IP address of the email server that sends your emails. Recipient email servers recognize and evaluate this IP address and other key factors to determine whether your emails should land in the inbox or the spam folder.
Unlike your device’s IP address, which changes based on your internet connection, the email server’s IP address is constant. This way, other servers and email services can recognize and remember the server over time and build a profile of its sending behavior, aka reputation.
How to Find the IP Address of Your Email Server
While there are several methods to find your email server’s IP address, the easiest way is often through webmail services like Gmail, Yahoo, or Outlook.
Using Webmail Services
You can find the sender IP from email headers — part of an email that contains technical details, including who sent it, the route it took, and the servers it passed through before reaching the recipient.
Follow these steps if you have a Gmail account. Other webmail services will have a pretty similar process.
- Send an email from your server to your Gmail account.
- Login to your Gmail account and open the email you send.
- On the top right corner, find the three dots, click on them, and select Show Original.
- On the top section, find the SPF row.
- Alternatively, you can look for the “Received” header in the bottom section.
- The IP address you’re looking for is a string of four numbers separated by dots.
Here’s a screenshot of the SPF row.
And here’s what the Received header looks like:
If you don’t want to sift through line after line of indecipherable text, you can copy/paste the entire headers section into the Trace Analyzer Tool. It’ll highlight the relevant parts for you.
Note: The IP address you’ll find using this method will most likely be part of a shared IP pool used by your service provider. So, there’s a small chance you’ll receive the same address if you try the procedure again unless you’re on a dedicated IP address — more on IP types later.
Custom Domain Emails
If you have a custom domain and a dedicated IP, you’ll likely find your IP address in your domain hosting account, provided that the software displays that information.
Here’s what to do:
- Log into your hosting account.
- Look for a section like “Email Accounts” or “Mail Settings.”
- You’ll find the IP address in the server or SMTP section.
Note: This scenario usually works if you’re using an SMTP service, such as SendGrid. But if you’re using an ESP like Campaign Refinery, you’ll need to pay for a dedicated IP address separately.
Email Marketing Platform
If you’re using an email marketing platform, finding your IP address can vary since these platforms might use different IPs for different campaigns. Typically, you’ll log into your account, open a recent campaign, and check its details or report section. Some platforms list the sending IP address directly in the campaign’s report or settings.
But if you’re using a reputable service like Campaign Refinery, you won’t need to worry about which IP address you’re using or how to manage it. We do that for you, and we only allow responsible senders on our platform. So, your emails will always be sent from a quality IP address.
For those with self-hosted email marketing solutions, the process is a bit more hands-on. You’ll need to log into the control panel where you manage your email server, navigate to your mail server settings, and then look through the configuration details. Here, the IP address will be under the mail server configuration. This approach requires a bit more technical know-how but gives you direct access to the information. You can Google the exact steps to follow for your server management software.
Finally, if you’re on a corporate email system, the setup will be unique. The best way to find the email server’s IP address is to consult your IT department. Some corporations also have internal tools or portals to display this kind of information, but you’ll need special access.
A quick note on IP versions: When checking your IP address, you might come across a long string of digits and letters that don’t look like the IPs you’ve seen before. That’s IPv6. It’s the newer version of IP, designed to tackle the shortage of IP addresses in IPv4. Its addresses consist of eight groups of four hexadecimal digits, separated by colons — for example, 2001:0db8:85a3:0000:0000:8a2e:0370:7334. Don’t be alarmed by the length. The same basic reputation rules apply to both versions of the Internet Protocol.
Understanding Email IP Reputation
So far, we’ve been focused on what is an email IP address and how to find it. Now, let’s shift our focus to why you might need to find the server’s IP address: to check your IP reputation.
IP reputation is essentially how mailbox providers and ESPs view the trustworthiness of your email server’s IP address. A good IP reputation means ISPs see your server as a reliable sender and are more likely to deliver your emails to people’s inboxes — high deliverability. On the other hand, a bad IP reputation suggests your server might be sending spam or unwanted emails. So, ISPs block your emails or send them to the spam folder.
This reputation is built over time based on:
- Spam complaints: High spam complaint rates are one of the fastest ways to damage your IP reputation, as they directly indicate recipients’ dissatisfaction with your emails.
- Engagement: Positive interactions like opens, clicks, replies, and forwards are all good signs. It’s also a good sign if the recipient quickly opens your email, marks it as important, or opens it multiple times. Good engagement rates show you’re sending relevant, interesting content to a receptive audience.
- Bounce rate: Number of emails that fail to reach their intended recipients. A high bounce rate is a sign of poor list management or outdated email addresses, which can harm your reputation. ESPs might think you’re not keeping a clean list or, worse, you’re using a purchased list.
- Email volume: A sudden increase in email volume can be a red flag since it’s a common tactic among spammers. Consistently high volumes on a single IP can also be a concern. That’s why you should use the right number of IPs to match your sending volume.
- Unsubscribes: High unsubscribe rates mean your content isn’t resonating with your audience or that you’re sending too many emails.
Your email IP reputation is key to successful email marketing. At Campaign Refinery, we understand this better than anyone. Our platform is designed to maximize your email marketing success by focusing on cutting-edge deliverability. We help all our clients achieve and maintain a quality sender reputation.
Want in on Campaign Refinery’s exclusive service? Apply today and stop worrying about your IP reputation ever again!
6 Tools to Check Your Email IP Reputation
IP reputation tools tap into extensive databases that compile data from ISPs, ESPs, and independent security organizations. They analyze this data to see how your IP address is behaving across the internet.
But there’s no universal IP reputation score. Each tool provides a different snapshot of reality since they all use different sources and methods for their analysis. This means that one tool might show a slightly different picture of your IP reputation compared to another. That’s why you should use multiple tools to get a comprehensive view of your IP reputation.
Here are our recommendations:
1. Google Postmaster Tools
Google Postmaster Tools is a valuable resource for anyone managing email marketing campaigns, especially because 50 to 80 percent of the users on any given list are now on Gmail. This tool helps you understand how Google views your sent emails and lets you diagnose reputation issues.
You’ll get insights into your IP reputation, spam reports, delivery errors, and domain authentication. To use it, you’ll need to verify ownership of your domain. Don’t miss our full guide on Postmaster Tools to learn more about how you can enhance your reputation.
Here’s a screenshot of the IP reputation for one of our customers at Campaign Refinery. Note that the client didn’t send emails on days with no data.
2. Talos Intelligence
Talos Intelligence by Cisco is famous for its comprehensive security data and reputation tracking. The tool uses many factors to generate a reputation score ranging from -10 to 10. Then, it groups the scores into three categories: Good, Neutral, and Poor.
What’s more, Talos tells you whether your IP has been involved in sending spam and whether it’s on any block list, which may prevent your emails from being delivered.
3. Sender Score
Sender Score is a free service from the data solutions company Validity. It rates your IP reputation on a scale of 0 to 100 based on your sending behavior over the past 30 days. It considers factors such as volume, complaint rates, and spam trap hits.
One problem with Sender Score is that you probably won’t get a perfect score without going through their validation, a paid process which involves verifying a dedicated IP with them that has no other senders on it.
4. Mail Tester
Mail Tester is a handy tool for anyone sending out newsletters or marketing emails. It’s easy to use and doesn’t need signing up. Each time you visit their website, Mail Tester generates a unique, random email address. You send your email from your preferred email software to this address and click “Check your score.”
Mail Tester looks at your message content and the sending IP address to generate a report. This report includes your SpamAssassin score, which is a key indicator of how likely your email is to be marked as spam. It also checks for proper email authentication, evaluates your message length, checks if your IP is on any blacklists, and identifies any broken links in your email.
5. BrightCloud by OpenText
BrightCloud is another straightforward tool to quickly check your IP status. The free version returns a basic report with a general reputation score and fundamental information about your IP, like if it’s flagged for spam or other undesirable activities. It’s a quick way to get a snapshot of your IP’s trustworthiness and security.
The parent company also offers a paid service that tracks IP reputation in real-time. The full version is especially useful for businesses looking to delve deeper into their IP reputation management.
6. Spamhaus Project
The Spamhaus Project is an international cybersecurity organization. It compiles several popular anti-spam lists, which are a go-to resource for many internet service providers and email servers.
Spamhaus offers a checker tool that lets you see if your IP address is listed on any of Spamhaus’s lists. If you find that your IP is listed, the tool provides detailed information on why it was listed and offers guidance on what you can do to resolve the issue.
How Much Control Do You Have Over Your IP Reputation? Shared vs. Dedicated IP Addresses
In email marketing, you often hear about two types of IP addresses: shared and dedicated.
Shared IP address: When more than one business or entity uses the same server to send out their emails, the IP address of that server is a shared IP address. It’s akin to when multiple businesses share an office space and use the same resources — in this case, the IP address.
Dedicated IP address: A dedicated IP address is like having your own private office. This IP address is reserved exclusively for your use. No other business or entity shares this IP address with you.
Why Your IP Type Matters
So, why is it important to know what type of IP address you’re using?
Because it affects your control over your IP reputation.
With a shared IP, control over this reputation isn’t entirely in your hands. It’s similar to being in a team where everyone’s performance impacts the team’s overall rating. If one user starts sending out spam content or gets lots of their emails marked as spam, it can harm the IP’s reputation. This affects your emails, too, even if you’re following all the best practices.
But shared IPs have benefits, too. If you share an IP with a group of strong senders, you’ll collectively build a strong reputation that benefits everyone. And your deliverability rates will be more consistent.
Your email marketing service plays a big role in keeping the shared IP clean and reputable. Their job is to closely monitor for any abusive or spammy behavior. If a single customer starts sending content that could harm the IP’s reputation, the provider should step in quickly.
All our clients at Campaign Refinery have an interest to maintain their IP reputation because they all need elite deliverability. When you’re sharing an IP with a group of responsible senders, a shared IP is the ideal setup for your reputation and bank account!
Plus, maintaining a dedicated IP address isn’t easy. You can’t sporadically send emails from your IP and hope that they land in inboxes. You need to “warm up” a dedicated IP address to build a good reputation and keep sending a minimum number of emails to stay consistent. Otherwise, your sending behavior will appear spammy.
At Campaign Refinery, we recommend shared IPs in almost all cases because we only allow responsible senders to join our platform. Even if you’re a high-volume sender, you can share an IP pool with other strong senders with a capacity of over 20 million emails per month.
If you still want to invest in a dedicated IP address, we recommend having at least 1 million monthly sends to justify the decision.
Best Practices to Regain a Healthy Email IP Reputation
Maintaining a healthy email IP reputation is the foundation for reaching your subscribers.
Here are some best practices to follow:
- Keep your email list clean: Regularly update and clean your email list. Remove inactive subscribers and incorrect email addresses to lower bounce rates and keep your list quality high.
- Monitor your IP reputation: Checking your IP reputation isn’t just a one-time thing; it’s an ongoing process. That’s because your IP reputation can change over time based on your email-sending habits, recipient reactions, and other factors.
- Aim for email engagement: Make your email content more engaging. Personalize your emails, optimize subject lines, and choose the best sending times to increase your open, click, and click-through rates.
- Authenticate your domain: Implement SPF, DKIM, and DMARC for your email domain. These standards authenticate your emails and reduce the chance of them being marked as spam. Plus, if you’re sending over 5,000 emails per day, Google and Yahoo will force you to have domain authentication starting February 1, 2024.
- Reduce spam complaints: Make sure your emails are relevant and valuable to your audience. Include a clear and easy unsubscribe option to allow users to opt-out gracefully. Google’s policies require keeping your complaints below 0.3 percent, but we recommend aiming for below 0.05 percent (1 in every 2000 emails) and don’t allow our clients to exceed 0.1 percent complaint rates.
- Manage email volume: Avoid sending large volumes of emails suddenly. A consistent sending pattern is less likely to raise red flags with ISPs. Don’t increase your send rate by more than 10 percent per day and don’t go too long between larger broadcasts.
Campaign Refinery: Where Email Success is the Norm
At Campaign Refinery, we pride ourselves on using high-reputation IPs to make sure your emails always find their way to the right inboxes. In fact, when we do our job right our customers never even have to think about what IP they are sending on ever again.
And their success stories speak for themselves:
If you’re fed up with poor deliverability, definitely check out Campaign Refinery. It might just change your open rates forever.Troy Ericson, Copywriting.org
Switching to Campaign Refinery immediately increased my stats 4x, and revenue followed suit. I really wish I had made the move sooner.Dave Miz, The Email Experience
But our commitment to your success doesn’t stop at providing top-notch service. We believe in empowering our clients with the knowledge and tools to excel in email marketing. That’s why we’re excited to offer you a valuable resource: “The Inbox Formula.”
The Inbox Formula covers everything you need to ensure high deliverability and engagement in your email campaigns. It’s a blueprint for transforming your email practices and strategies.
Download your copy of “The Inbox Formula” today and start your journey to a high reputation.