Discover why you might have sending issues, why some recipients don't receive your emails, then how to unblock and fix your email address with a poor reputation.

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Email sending blocked

If emails from your or Shaw hosted email addresses are blocked from sending, a bounce back email message will usually appear in your inbox right away. This will usually either advise you that one of the recipient email addresses is not valid, or that you have a reputation issue.

  1. Try sending the same message to your own email address and nobody else. If this works, re-verify the recipients in the original message attempt, and try sending to only one person at a time.
  2. Make sure no other messages are waiting in the Outbox. Most email programs try messages in order, and another bad message will prevent any new ones from going out successfully. Move any messages in the Outbox to the Drafts folder, or simply delete them if they’re not needed.
  3. If messages still continue to fail, read the sections below about account setup, email sending practices, and self-managed reputation sending for any helpful tips to the problem.
  4. If issue still persists after verifying your emailing setup and practices, call in to Technical Support for further assistance.

Email account setup issues

Ensure your email account is setup correctly for sending, as improperly setup accounts can contribute to many sending issues. Full setup details can be found on How to set up & configure Email, but here’s the highlights:

  • Make sure outbound authentication is turned on and setup correctly. Especially for businesses with high volumes, unauthenticated email senders often get blocked or junked, so recipients won’t get your messages reliably.
  • Weak email passwords can limit how many emails you can send, and lead to hacked accounts. See How to create secure email passwords for more info.
  • Do not use the Shaw outbound email settings unless sending from a Shaw email address as we won’t guarantee its use for non-Shaw email accounts. See How to set up non-Shaw emails accounts on How to set up & configure your email for more on this.

Email sending best practices

  • Sending marketing emails or newsletters to a mailing list without a clearly labelled and working 'Unsubscribe' or 'Opt Out' link will lead to junked reputation or outright blocks to sending.
  • Update mailing lists frequently and immediately remove old email addresses that no longer work.
  • Avoid purchasing mailing lists.
  • Immediately remove any recipients asking to be removed from your mailing list. They’re likely to mark you as SPAM if they get your emails again, which will damage your reputation.
  • Be careful with high volume email sending. For Shaw email accounts, limit your outbound sending to no more than 100 recipients per message, with similar limits per hour as well to be safe.
  • High Volume email sending, especially for marketing purposes are usually best done through email marketing services like Mail Chimp, Constant Contact, Shaw Hosting’s Announcer Pro or other similar services. These services ensure full compliance with sending rules, handle mailing lists, sending limits and other hassles.
  • This list is in no way a complete list, but a helpful start. Be sure to read over and ensure full compliance with CASL, Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation. This will cover important standard best practices which are now the law in Canada, not just a recommendation. A quick Google search of “CASL fines” will find news examples proving businesses can’t just assume their current practices are ok because these practices worked in the past.

Test your email reputation with Shaw

Email message reputation is handled by the recipient’s mail server, and the reputation can be verified. If you’re worried your email messages have a poor reputation with Shaw, you can create an email through your Shaw business account to test this out.


  • If you don’t already have an email address, use to set one up for free.
  • These rules are for email address testing, but the same general rules apply to all email services. Most services have built in spam preferences that can be managed to enable obvious flagging of incoming messages that are considered suspicious.

Testing Process

  1. Log into your test email address through (not your email program).
    1. Select 'Preferences' from top menu.
    2. Select 'Spam' from left menu.
    3. Change 'When receiving Spam' to 'Label message as Spam and keep in Inbox'.
      • Spam preferences (click to enlarge)
  2. Send an email message to your test address. Flagged accounts will append '[Shaw Suspected Junk Email]' in the subject line to make it very clear if your message is flagged.
    • If the message is flagged, something in the email is triggering the Spam filter. Move on to the next step to keep testing further.
    • If emails aren’t being tagged, you’ll be fine to send to other email users. You may need to test with other email services and setting up test accounts with other services can be used to test those providers.
  3. Messages flagged as junk have some kind of trigger used to tag your email as suspicious. Triggers get added when enough recipients mark your emails as spam and unless underlying issues are resolved, it will only be a matter of time before your emails are tagged as junk again.
  4. Send an empty message with no signature, no attachments to see if an empty message is still flagged.
    • If the empty message gets flagged, move on to the next step.
    • If the empty message works, try adding back parts of original flagged email to see which exact portion is causing the spam flag. The trigger will need to be known before a reputation issue can be reset. Once you know the trigger, go to next step. Common triggers include:
      • Signatures.
      • Website URLS (example:, especially in signature.
      • Phone numbers.
      • Attachments.
  5. Verify all of the following possible causes:
    • Update all computers on your network for both software or security updates.
    • Update all WiFi and email passwords to limit any unauthorized access.
    • Update your security software then run a Virus scan (full, not quick scan) on all computers. If any issues are found, note the details of the issue and date computer was cleaned. The reputation request might need this information.
    • Follow the Email sending best practices.
  6. It’s important that all fixes are done before requesting a reputation reset. Repeat requests will not be approved within 90 days of the last reset approval. Following proper email practices on clean computers rarely get repeat issues. We want to make sure your messages arrive to recipients, but Shaw also needs to ensure we maintain security and compliance with CASL rules.
  7. Call Shaw technical support to request the reputation get reset. We’ll need to do a few last test emails with you, but the above steps will speed up the request process greatly. Approved requests generally take 1-2 business days.

Message failure to non-Shaw recipients

If non-Shaw recipients (Gmail, Hotmail, iCloud, etc.) report that they didn't receive your email, there may be a reputation issue with your email account. Shaw can only help clean your incoming reputation for recipients with or Shaw hosted email addresses. For other email addresses, you may need to contact the recipient email provider directly.

Before contacting the recipient email provider try these steps first:

  1. Check the email account setup issues and sending practices information. Update your email settings or sending practices as recommended and then test again.
  2. If messages still fail, try sending to an email address:
    • If the test recipient gets the message, move on to step 3.
    • If those emails fail or get tagged as junk, follow the self-managed reputation testing information first. Once messages work cleanly to Shaw recipients, move on to step 3.
  3. If messages still don’t send to recipients after fixing everything you can and verifying Shaw recipients receive your messages, you will need to contact the recipient mail service provider to get your reputation fixed with them.


  • For free email services (Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo, iCloud, etc.), you can also create free test email accounts of your own which may help to indicate reputation issues by doing test messages to these test accounts.
  • If your sent email is in your Sent folder and you didn’t receive a delivery failure message:
    • Confirm you’re able to send to other recipients with no issues.
    • Advise recipient that any messages found in Junk, Trash or Deleted folders should get marked as not junk.
    • Advise recipient that if your messages are not found in any of their folders, they may need to check spam filter settings. Often spam filter settings are set to 'Delete suspected junk email' and would cause all messages with reputation issues to disappear without any receipt.
  • If you do receive delivery failure messages, these bounce back messages will help determine what is causing your email address to have a poor reputation.
    • Shaw technical support can only help with error messages for Shaw recipients.
    • Messages from other email services will require contacting that company for more information.