Microsoft operates Hotmail – and no company on the planet is more draconian than Microsoft when it comes to blacklisting mail servers. It’s almost impossible to get unblacklisted once you’re on their blacklist. I know this from direct experience.
Here’s how to get around their BS:
Install the Mandrill plugin for WordPress ( free in the plugin repository ), then sign up for a free Mandrill account at mandrill.com, configure the plugin, and presto: David slays the Giant — because of all your site’s outbound mail will be sent through Mandrill instead of your hosting company’s mail servers. And Mandrill handles making sure their servers remain unblacklisted.
Mandrill is a free SMTP mail service operated by the owners/operators of MailChimp. It’s free as long as your site doesn’t send more than 12,000 emails per month.
And no, we are not affiliated with them in any way.
I’m simply telling you how we solved this problem for numerous sites that had the exact same headache.
For issues like this, we also always recommend using a service like Mandrill. It’s a real pain to get yourself off the blacklist and it’s only a matter of time before you are put back on that same blacklist when you resume sending again.
There is not really anything we can do to prevent this. It’s the state email and websites are at right now and Microsoft/Hotmail is ‘defending’ her users this way, unfortunately.
For a business website, especially eCommerce or other high email demanding services, I always recommend choosing an external email sending service due to prevent this kind of issues and also the really useful statistics you can get out of it.
Mandrill’s not working with hotmail anymore. All accounts receive my emails in inbox but hotmail not receiving at all.
I’ve been in touch with Mandrill re. Hotmail delivery problems and received this excellent, comprehensive reply:
Beyond that, we noticed a few things about these emails which might be contributing to the emails getting either delayed or possibly filtered more aggressively by Hotmail:
They come from a noreply address, which means that if a recipient were to try to reply or get in touch, the address makes it seem like they can’t contact the sender. This can be problematic, and it’s something we generally discourage. Here’s a blog post that we wrote last year about this: http://blog.mandrill.com/declaring-war-on-no-reply-addresses.html
There’s no logo or identifying information about the sender in the body of the email – no contact website, no contact address – in general including that information or some branding helps ensure that when recipients get the messages, they have an indication in the body of the email of who is sending the email, how to contact them, what the website is, and more.
The test email sent also has a relatively small amount of content, which means there isn’t much for spam filters to analyze. Including contact information, including a link to the website not only provides more information for a spam filter, but also provides some consistent information that a spam filter can analyze for messages being sent.
SPF and DKIM records haven’t been added for this sending domain. While not strictly required, we do strongly recommend adding both so that Mandrill can authenticate the messages as your sending domain, which in turn can help improve deliverability.
It looks like you’ve got link-tracking turned on, and are using a custom tracking domain, click.xxxxxxxx.com. If the same click-tracking domain is being used by a variety of clients or senders, it’s possible that the domain, in combination with other factors, is triggering a more aggressive filtering by the receiving server. This domain also at least appears unrelated to the sending domain, xxxxxxxxx.com, which may cause some confusion by recipients.
Implementing a couple of these seems to have solved the problem – hotmails draconian filtering is the issue – the answer seems to be “send a better email”.
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