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Help! My IP address is on the PBL! What should I do?

  • June 15, 2018

Nothing, in most cases. Read through this FAQ for further explanations.

The first thing to know is:THE PBL IS NOT A BLACKLIST. You are not listed for spamming or for anything you have done. The PBL is simply a list of all of the world's dynamic IP space, i.e: IP ranges normally assigned by ISPs to broadband customers routers/modems (DSL, DHCP, PPP, cable, dialup). It is perfectly normal for these IP addresses to be listed on the PBL. In fact all dynamic IP addresses in the world should be on the PBL. Even static IPs which do not send mail should be listed in the PBL.

PBL listingsdo notprevent you sending emailunlessyour email program is notauthenticatingproperly when it connects to your ISP or to your company's mail server. This can happen if you have changed something in your email program's settings, forgotten to turn on 'SMTP Authentication' or if you have switched 'SMTP Authentication' off by mistake.

If you are using a normal email program such as Outlook, Entourage, Thunderbird or Apple Mail and you are being blocked by a Spamhaus PBL listing when you try to send email, the reason is simply thatYOU NEED TO TURN ON 'SMTP AUTHENTICATION'in your email program's account settings. That will immediately solve the problem for you. See:How do I turn on SMTP Authentication?

Server admins who need help with SMTP AUTH can find lots of information for most servers such asSendmail,Postfix,Exim,Qmail,Exchange, etc.
POP before SMTP') to send your emails while you find a permanent fix to the problem. Importantly, if this method works, it means that you have a problem with your SMTP Authentication settings (it means your SMTP Authentication is OFF or badly configured).WikipediaandGooglehave lots more information about "smarthosts" and "SMTP AUTH"."Blocklist Removal Center"form for IP addresses and you will find a web form for self-removal. Fill in the form and follow the instructions, and your static IP address will be excluded from the PBL. Allow 30 minutes for DNS to propagate after removal, then try your mail again.

You should only remove an IP address which meetsallof these criteria:
    1. static IP (not dynamic), and
    2. outbound mail server, and
    3. configured with proper Reverse DNS, and
    4. assigned to you.
You should only remove onemail serverIP address, not any other addresses which do not send mail. If you need to remove more than one IP address you should contact your ISP and show them this FAQ. If you remove many IPs, all your removals may be terminated and you may be blocked from making any further removals.

Exclusions are immediately terminated if spam is detected from them, and they expire after one year. ISPs may select shorter expiration periods for exclusions from their PBL Zone listings. Expired exclusions may be removed again but it would be better if your ISP properly maintained their IP ranges in PBL.

ISPs with PBL Accounts may add or remove lists of many such single-IP exclusions. ISP exclusions do not expire. That is explained further in the ISP's PBL Account "Help" section.smarthost'. If your ISP does not provide an outgoing mail relay, find a commercial smarthost provider. Such smarthosting arrangements are very common and inexpensive; contact your ISP or a hosting company for information. You can still accept inbound mail directly onto your server, PBL does not affect that.

Industry best practice is to block outgoing port 25 of dynamic pools; seeM3AAWG documents(formerly MAAWG).role/postmasteraddress to request removals.

If an IP address removed from the PBL begins to emit spam it is also instantly added to theSBLorXBL(not only added back to the PBL), and an IP which attempts to evade filters by mass removals of other IP addresses is itself eligible for theSBL.PBL Accountand make additions and removals of any sizeCIDRblocks of IP addresses within that range. Instructions are in this PBL FAQ,below.

Criteria the ISP must meet in order to be eligible for a PBL Account:
  • Must have at least anIPv4 /24orIPv6 /48allocation identifiable by IP-whois, rwhois or rDNS;
  • Network records for that allocation must clearly identify theirMain Domain;
  • Must have workingabuse@domaine-mail for that Main Domain;
  • Your Work Email and Role Contact addresses should also be at the Main Domain of your PBL Account application, or a domain we can identify as related to your ISP.

We do not assign "sub-nets." That means that if you get your IPs from a bigger network, and if their PBL Account claims their full IP ranges including the parts which they delegate to you, then we can't assign those delegated ranges to your PBL Account. That is not usually an issue, but just be aware that it can happen.

Be sure you understand the difference betweenMaster RangeandPBL Zonein Step 5 of thefollowing FAQbefore you enter IP ranges for a PBL account.

new user interfaceas of 19 May 2009, with improved web page layout, faster and easier control of your IP ranges and more features. This FAQ has been updated to reflect those changes, but the basic design of PBL has not changed.

1. Read the ISP Account description here:http://www.spamhaus.org/pbl/ispaccount/

2. Fill out the ISP Account application form here:http://www.spamhaus.org/pbl/signup/

3. Choose yourMain Domaincarefully. We must be able to verify that it matches the domain in IP-whois, rwhois or rDNS records. You must be able to read email sent to thatabuse@domainaccount.Abuse@domainis where we will send the authorization code required to confirm your application and the password for the account after it is confirmed.

4. Watch for the confirmation mail in yourabuse@domainaccount as soon as you complete the application. Read it and follow the instructions to confirm your account. As soon as you confirm your application, your account password will be mailed to thatabuse@domainaccount, too.

If you need a new confirmation code or if you need to reset your password, see this FAQ item below:"Password or Confirmation Code missing - How do I get a new one?"

The confirmation messsage will have these headers:

Subject: Spamhaus PBL Account Verification Code
From: Spamhaus PBL Verification <spamhaus_pbl_verify@spamhaus.org>

Important:Be sure you understand the difference betweenMaster RangeandPBL Zonebefore you enter your IP range(s) in this next step.

5.Log into your new PBL Account. Follow the link to "Add Master Range", and follow the instructions on that page to claim aMaster Rangein CIDR format. You may claim any or all ranges which are allocated to you, and you can add more of your IP ranges later on, any time. We will look up each range you claim, confirm it is yours, and assign the entire allocation to your account's Master Ranges, but not enter it into the PBL Zone. It may take us a day or two to verify ownership and approve new ranges. Check your PBL Account occasionally; you will see your Master Ranges marked "approved" as soon as we check them.

6. You may also enterPBL Zonelistings. They will be kept in "Status: Pending" and not entered in the PBL Zone until the respective Master Range for your account is approved. Be sure that any PBL Zone listings do not include IPs intended for mail servers. Most PBL Zone listings are dynamic IP ranges but it's OK to list static IPs which are not intended to send mail. PBL Zone listings will enter the actual PBL DNSBL Zone only after Spamhaus has verified and approved that the IPs belong to your Master Ranges. Within approved Master Ranges, PBL Zone additions or removals will happen immediately.

7. For each PBL Zone listing in your account, you must assign aPBL Policythat you want to apply to that listing. Your PBL Account has links to the PBL Policy page where you enter the text of one or more policies, select whether or not you allow individual IP removals by end-users and specify the length of time before such removals expire. You can apply any policy to any PBL listing within your range and you may change the policy whenever you wish, but only one policy at a time per listing, obviously. For existing Spamhaus listings within your Master Range, you may claim them as your own and assign a PBL Policy of your choice, you may leave them as-is under the general Spamhaus policy which allows end-user removals, or you may remove them if they are not dynamic ranges.

8. That's it! Log in whenever you wish to adjust your PBL listings due to changes in your network. Your PBL Account displays your Master Ranges and all PBL Zone listings within those ranges. You will find forms, links and buttons to add, remove, or claim ownership of PBL Zone listings from Spamhaus to your own PBL policy. Changes within your approved Master Ranges will take about 15 minutes to enter the PBL Zone. Policy changes will be visible immediately. Enjoy your PBL account, and thanks for helping make the Internet a better, more spam-free place!

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