Soft Bounce vs. Hard Bounce Emails: 5 Crucial Differences Explained

By Bulk Mail Verifier | 9/21/2023, 9:14:56 AM

What Is A Bounce Email?

A bounce occurs when you send an email to someone, but it is returned to you as undeliverable.

And there's one more thing to remember: we divide email bounce type into soft bounce vs. hard bounce email.

Hard bounces should be avoided at all costs, while soft bounces aren't so bad – but should still be avoided.

Explain Hard And Soft Bounce.

Let's find the main similarities and differences between the soft bounce and hard bounce emails. 

#1 What Is A Hard Bounce?

Hard bounces are emails that are returned to you because the recipient address is invalid or non-existent. When you receive them, it means there's a permanent reason why you can't send your email.

#2 Why Does Hard Exit Occur?

  1. Hard exiting occurs because:
  2. someone has changed their email address
  3. wrong email address 
  4. Strict security spam filtering is applied to recipient addresses
  5. The answer is not specific enough to classify it
  6. The recipient's Internet service provider rejected the message

#3. How To Avoid Hard Bounces? 

Always update your mailing list and verify email addresses before sending. The easiest way to do this is to occasionally use Bouncer to check your email addresses and delete outdated and invalid email addresses.

#1 What Is A Soft Bounce?

A bounce occurs when your email reaches the recipient's server, but something is preventing the email from reaching their inbox. This is due to a temporary error while sending the email.  

#2 Why Does Bounce Occur?

Hard exiting occurs because:

  1. The recipient's mailbox is full
  2. The mailbox is not configured correctly or is not working
  3. The recipient's email service is not working or offline
  4. The email content does not comply with the receiving server's policies, and the domain name does not exist

#3 How To Avoid Bounce?

Keep your emails consistent with email best practices, such as avoiding spammy words and too many links. Don't use too many attachments because they slow everything down, whether it's a soft bounce or a hard bounce.

Five Main Differences Between  soft bounce vs. hard bounce email 

These two types of email bounce soft bounce vs. hard bounce email are the ones you receive. However, they are quite different.


Soft bounces are temporary delivery issues, while hard bounces are permanent delivery errors.


Soft bounces occur when an email arrives at the recipient's mail server but bounces before reaching their inbox. This usually happens due to temporary technical problems, such as a full inbox or short-term server 


Hard errors occur when an email is returned to the sender because the recipient was unable to receive the email, such as because the email address is invalid or the domain does not exist.


Soft bounce messages can appear at any time, even after the message has previously been sent to the recipient. In contrast, hard bounces often occur during the first attempt to send an email to the recipient.


The sender's reputation is not affected as much by soft bounces as it is by hard bounces. However, remember that any high bounce rate can damage your reputation, making future email deliverability more difficult.

No one wants their great content to bounce, right? A reliable tool for email verification is the solution.


Mail servers often return messages that bounce gracefully. On the other hand, hard bounces sometimes involve manual handling, such as removing invalid email addresses from mailing lists.

If you don't delete these addresses, you'll continue sending emails into the abyss. And this can damage the sender's reputation and make it more difficult to reach your target audience in the future.  But this is not necessarily so. Use Bouncer to delete invalid email addresses in just a few simple steps.

Here Is An Overview Of Soft Bounce Emails And Hard Bounce Emails:

  1. Difficult to bounce back.
  2. A soft bounce is due to the permanent impossibility of delivery.
  3. It is due to a temporary delivery error. An email is returned to the sender because it cannot be delivered to the recipient's email address.
  4. An email arrives at the recipient's mail server but bounces before reaching their inbox.
  5. This usually happens on the first attempt to send an email.
  6. , but it can happen at any time.
  7. It can damage the sender's reputation.
  8. Less impact on email deliverability and sender reputation.
  9. Requires manual handling, such as removing invalid email addresses from mailing lists (but can also be automated).
  10. It is usually automatically retried by the mail server.

Tips To Improve Your Bounce Rate

A high bounce rate can really hurt your email marketing performance. It was like a party with so many people absent.

When your email does not reach the intended recipient, the email service provider will consider you a spammer. Therefore, they will be able to prevent your future emails from reaching the desired inboxes.

Not sure when your bounce rate is accurate? Check to see what the average number of bounced emails is.

#1 Use An Email Authentication Platform

Why not get a little help? Reduce your bounce rate with Bouncer! Use it to update your mail. Tools like this help you check the validity of your email address before sending your great emails.

Bouncers can flag invalid, fake, or disposable email addresses and prevent them from being added to your email list, which can also positively impact your ROI.

#2 Always Keep Your Email List Updated

Remove invalid or inactive email addresses. You will avoid difficult bounces and thus improve your sender reputation and engagement rate.

And speaking of engagement, when your subscribers aren't engaged, they're more likely to mark your emails as spam, which can hurt your email deliverability. Definitely not fun. So remove unengaged subscribers and make sure your emails are reaching people who are actually interested in what you have to say.

Additionally, you can use Bouncer to test the quality of your email list. And the good news is it's completely free.

#3 Use A Recognizable Sender Name

When your subscribers see a sender name they recognize, they're more likely to open your emails and engage with your content. Opening an email from an unknown sender can pose some risks.

Simply put, keep your sender name consistent across soft bounce vs. hard bounce emails. 

#4 Avoid Spam Comments

If you want to ensure your emails are delivered to your subscribers' inboxes instead of their spam folders, it's time to look at your language. Don't use phrases like "make money fast," "free offers," or other spammy language.

Words like these can cause emails to bounce. This is because they enable spam filters designed to protect email users from malicious soft bounce vs. hard bounce emails.

Additionally, heavy use of dollar signs may be reported as spam.

Use language that is creative, engaging, and grabs people's attention without being too flashy.

#5 Don't Overload Your Emails With Images Or Attachments

Slow down with images and attachments. They can slow down load times, leading to page bounces. How? When you send an email that's too image-heavy, it can take longer to load and even be flagged as spam.

So think carefully and add only the keyframes or vector graphics you need to convey your message.

#6 Use A Clear And Compelling Subject Line

Whether you're writing an introductory email or a newsletter for subscribers, come up with an eye-catching subject line. Make sure it accurately represents what your email is about and leaves the recipient wanting to know more.

#7 Include A Clear Call To Action

Make it easy for your recipients to take the next step by including a conversion CTA. And it really works! Whether you want them to sign up for your newsletter, buy a product, or just respond to your message, a strong call to action can guide them through the process.

#8 Check Your Email

Verify that your email is delivered to the correct inbox. There are traditional methods, such as sending an email to your own email address before sending it to the list.

But why do that when you can take advantage of a great distribution tool?

It's like trying on jeans before buying: you want to check that they fit you! Next time you're about to send an email, take a minute to test it first. Your bounce rate will thank you!

#9 Track Your Bounce Rate

If you're not tracking your bounce rates, you're missing an important piece of the puzzle to improving them. Check your bounce rate regularly to see how you're performing because only then can you adjust your strategy accordingly.

Check your bounce rate and analyze the data regularly. With a little effort and attention, you can turn bounces into conversions.

#10 Build Engagement

There's no way dry, boring emails will attract people. Create engaging content that resonates with your audience so they can't wait to hear from you!

Minimize bounces and maximize conversions.

The mystery of soft bounce and hard bounce has finally been solved. But how do you know if your emails are reaching your audience? 

Frequently Asked Questions

What Exactly Is A Software Bounce Email? 

Soft email bounces occur when the recipient's mailbox is full, the message is too large, or the server is temporarily unavailable. In this case, the email service provider will try to resend the message later.

What Is The Difference Between Soft Bounce And Hard Bounce?

A hard bounce occurs when the recipient's email server permanently rejects the email. This happens if the email address is invalid or the recipient's email account has been closed. Unlike software resending, email service providers will not attempt to resend messages when the recipient's inbox is full.

How Do Bounced Emails Affect My Email Campaign?

Bounced emails can negatively impact your email campaign. High rates can reduce mail deliverability and potentially damage the sender's reputation with Internet service providers. That's why it's essential to regularly monitor your bounce rates and take steps to improve them.

How Do I Prevent Email Bounces In My Campaign?

Prevent email bounces in your campaigns by removing invalid or inactive email addresses. Above all, avoid using spam trigger words, write clear calls to action, and use an email validation platform (Bouncer is great) to verify email addresses on your list before sending campaigns.