June 10, 2019

How to Fix an Invalid Email Address: Best Guide 2019 [updated]

email validation

Email validation. The reason many email addresses are not accepted in a delivery list, or simply produce a bounce, could be because they are considered invalid. This is not an uncommon problem in marketing campaigns and sign up lists for email delivery.

We already know that we can use services to get rid of them, but the question might remain, how do I fix this issue myself?

Before we can run, we have to walk. So, let’s begin with the basics of an invalid email address.

What is an invalid email address?

Basically, it's just an address that doesn’t have the correct format to be an email address, one that doesn’t exist or doesn’t anymore. Dealing with these cases can often lead us to damage a bit of our reputation score with one or many servers.

Before we can tell you how to fix the issue, we must first know what issue we’re dealing with. This is, knowing the cause of the problem. Keep in mind that in the average mailing list about 5 to 30 percent of emails will be invalid.

As you can see, dealing with 30% of invalid emails in a large database is, with no doubt, a very tiring task. Nevertheless if should you want to do it yourself or the database is a small one. Here are the main reasons an email address will be invalid. ensuring the email validation of your list is key to your deliverability.

Five reasons an email address might be invalid.

Email change.

Many people often change their emails for a trendier service. This not always has to be the case. Maybe they wanted a new one or simply because they like another service better than the old one.

This is the top cause an email address is invalid; it simply was deleted because whoever owned has a new one. Sometimes they don’t even delete it, it just becomes inactive due to the lack of use.

Person switched position.

In the case of someone working in a large corporative conglomerate it’s typical that people get assigned an address from the company’s server. If they get promoted or assigned to a different division then that address will likely be removed.

Large companies are not the only ones that do this, small startups, public offices and universities also do it and is more common that you might think at first.

This also applies if the person was fired or no longer has connections with the address due to moving or something else.

The domain is dead.

If the domain es dead, or the server is down temporarily, the address will be considered invalid as there is no domain to link it to.

A dead domain is a sure tell sign of a dead company, filtering emails addresses that are invalid for this reason can also be a good marker that a certain company is out of business.

Email provider or server is dead.

Whether is just down or gone for good, in essence is the same for us. The mail tries to reach a specific server only to not find it. This results in the address not being considered valid.

Sometimes the email providers go out of business, other times is merely a technical issue that will be fixed eventually. But meanwhile the address remains invalid.

Typos in the address.

This IS a very popular cause, since human error can be involved in every step of the process that got us that email. There’s a good chance that someone screw up and put an extra letter in the address. Sometimes there are letters missing, and again this is really not uncommon.

Now that the 5 main reasons are covered, we go about what to do in each scenario.

How do I fix it?

Find another way to communicate.

Most of the time you can find a person on the internet. If you really want that person to receive your emails then you might want to get in touch with them. Likely they just forgot to notify that they changed email.

If this is about a marketing list then you can often find a person via their curriculum in LinkedIn. Other good places could be social media or the company where that person was working.

Notify the company.

If a client just disappeared on you right before you could close a deal, you might want to get in touch with the parent company and ask if everything is okay. Often enough the company just moved the person and the replacement hasn’t arrived or is not up to date with deals and such.

Check domains.

The internet is one of the greatest tools at our disposal, use it to find out if a domain is still active or it’s just a minor problem with their server. Most of the time is nothing, but sometimes domains go down for good and checking will save you precious time and effort.

Do keep in mind that, if the email provider or domain is dead and it looks like it’s going to stay that way. There’s really not much you can do about it, just be quick and move your business somewhere else.

Rely on a service.

Remember there are always services like EmailVerify that can save you time with all the above. If the problem seems beyond the scope of what we’ve stablished here then is likely a job for a professional. Normally any site that verifies emails can also do email validation.

Check for typos and formatting problems.

Sometimes the simplest problem is the hardest to see. Always double check the spelling in every address you input yourself. Where there’s room for human error there’s likely a human error.

Before we go on any further you might want to know what a valid email format is and how to follow it.

Email format and email validation.

Basically, there are three parts for every email address. The local address, the domains name and the identifier of the domain. This parts are checked by every email validation service. Let’s review each briefly.

Using for example this [email protected]

Here the local part is “example-email” and is the name that particular address has inside the domains server. The domain, in this case “testServer”, is the name of the domain the address belongs to. The “.com” is the identifier, basically identifies what kind of domain it is that hosts the recipient server.

Know that in every email there’s the “@” right before the domain. This basically means “at the”. Another way to read this would be “Example-email at the testServer.com domain”.

Every email follows this format and has to contain those parts or else it will be invalid.

Local name. Identifies the address within the domain.
@. “At the”.
Domain. The name of the domain hosting the recipient’s server.
Domain identifier. “.com”, “.org” and others.

Remember to double check.

Follow the syntax from above and your email should be considered valid. So long as the domain exists and the servers are working properly. Check for typos, as they are more common than we would like to admit. If you’re still uncertain you can always turn to EmailVerify and rely on them for email validation.

Having problems with an invalid address can nearly always affect an email marketing campaign. Luckily for you now you know how to counter them in most cases, if all fails just turn to a service and ask for help. Getting the most deliverability possible out of your email marketing list should be a priority for your business.

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