As per, the ‘sender score’ for any email account is a number between 0 and 100 that identifies your sender reputation and shows you how mailbox providers view your IP address.

Different ISPs (Internet Service Providers) and email service providers use the sender reputation to determine whether or not emails coming from that sender should be classified as spam.

Therefore, sender reputation or sender score is a very influential factor in determining the email deliverability for any email address.

Table of content
1. Why is the sender score important?
2. How is sender reputation determined?
3. How to check the sender score
3.1 SenderScore by ReturnPath
3.2 TaloIntelligence by Cisco
3.3 TrustedSource by McAfee
3.4 BarracudaCentral by Barracuda Networks
3.5 ReputationAuthority by WatchGuard
3.6 Postmaster Tools by Gmail
3.7 SDNS by Microsoft
4. Request to remove from blacklists
5. How to improve and maintain a good sender reputation

Why is the sender score important?

When you send an email to someone, it has to overcome a few hurdles before it can enter the recipient’s inbox.

process of email deliverability

First, the mailing server will check if the recipient’s email address is valid and that their mailbox isn’t already full. If you get through those checks, then the ISP or email service providers (at your email recipient’s end) will check that your email address and email content are trustworthy.

Your email content will be checked for any unsafe files, links, scripts, etc. If it passes that test, your email address’s reputation will be checked. That’s when the ‘sender score’ becomes important.

If you have a low sender reputation, there are good chances that your email will either be blocked or sent to ‘SPAM’ or ‘JUNK’ folders. That’s why it is important to ensure that you always have a healthy email reputation score, in order to avoid any email deliverability problems.

How is sender reputation determined?

metrics that help to determine sender score

ISPs and email service providers use different factors to determine the sender score for any email address –

  • Industry blacklists – If your email address has been flagged or blacklisted by any mailbox service, your sender reputation is almost irreversibly damaged. From there, it becomes very difficult to get past the spam filters for most email services.
  • Spam complaints – If your email recipients start flagging your emails as spam, it damages your sender score in a big way.
  • Unsafe email contents/attachments – If your emails contain unsafe attachments, scripts, and links to unsafe/unsecured sites, that also increases your chances of getting flagged or blacklisted.

How to check the sender score?

Let’s take a look at different tools which can help you to check your sender score. The sender score or email reputation score is usually calculated for a domain or IP address used for sending emails.

1. SenderScore by ReturnPath

This service is provided by Return Path. The basic tool is free you can simply register with your email account and then log into this tool. Here you can check the sender reputation of any domain.

Check sender score with SenderScore

A Sender Score is a measure of your reputation, similar to a credit score. Sender scores are calculated from 0 to 100. Sender score numbers are calculated on a rolling 30-day average and illustrate where your IP address ranks against other IP addresses. 

A higher sender or email reputation score means better deliverability and higher chances of reaching the inbox.

2. TaloIntelligence by Cisco

TaloIntelligence is a tool provided by Cisco. It is also a free tool, easily accessible, where you don’t even need to create a login account.

Check sender score with TaloIntelligence

This tool returns the sender score in terms of – Good, Neutral, or Poor scores. Good means there is little or no threat activity. Neutral means your IP address or domain is within acceptable parameters, but may still be filtered or blocked. Poor means there is a problematic level of threat activity and you are likely to be filtered or blocked.

3. TrustedSource by McAfee

TrustedSource is provided by McAfee. It is quite similar to TaloIntelligence. It is easy, and freely accessible to check your domain / IP sender reputation.

4. BarracudaCentral by Barracuda Networks

The BarracudaCentral Reputation System is a real-time database of IP addresses that have a “poor” reputation for sending valid emails. Barracuda Central maintains and verifies all IP addresses marked as “poor” on the Barracuda Reputation System.

Check sender score with BarracudaCentral

This is a very basic tool for sender score checks. It will only tell you if your domain or IP address has been flagged on their database or not.

5. ReputationAuthority by WatchGuard

This tool indicates your sender score on a scale from 0-100. It is calculated as the % of ‘good’ emails Vs ‘bad’ emails. So if 60% of your emails in the past have been classified as ‘Good’ (not containing spam or malware etc.), then you will get a sender score of 60.

Check sender score with ReputationAuthority

Note that, in absence of a minimum amount of data on your domain, it will simply give you a sender score of 50%.

6. Postmaster Tools by Gmail

Postmaster Tools is a free service by Google. It offers insights regarding spam complaints, IP reputation, delivery errors, authentication, feedback loops, and transit encryption.

To check your sender score in Google Postmaster Tools, you must first log in to the Google Postmaster Tools website with your Gmail account. If you haven’t already, the tool will prompt you to do so.

Once you are logged in, select or add the domain you want to check the sender score for.

Then visit the dashboard, look for the “Sender Score” section and you will see your score displayed as a number between 0 and 100.

A higher sender score indicates a better reputation and may result in higher deliverability rates for your emails.

Note: Regularly monitor your senderscore and work to maintain a good reputation in order to ensure that your emails reach your intended recipients.

7. SNDS by Microsoft

SNDS offers services similar to Postmaster tools.

With regards to email deliverability, SNDS gives you filtered results with three indicators:

  • green result indicating less than 10% spam
  • yellow indicating 10% and 90% spam
  • red indicating over 90% spam.

It also displays junk mail data, including complaint reports, trap hits, sample messages, virus-infected emails, malware hosting, and open proxy status.

Request to remove from blacklists

Sender scores are tracked and maintained by email security solutions, spam filters, ISPs, etc. Many of them also maintain email blacklists. When you check your sender scores with the tools listed above. They will also tell you if you have been blacklisted anywhere.

If somehow your domain or IP address has landed in any of the blacklists, you can go to that particular list and request them to delist your domain from the blacklist.

How to improve and maintain a good sender reputation?

Here are a few things you can do to ensure you stay clear of any ‘bad’ or ‘poor’ sender reputation –

  • Strictly avoid unsafe attachments/email contents.

Unsafe attachments and email contents can pose significant security risks like virus or malware transmission, phishing scams, data breaches, and compliance violations. Hence, it is important to be cautious of attachments from unknown sources and check for viruses before sending them.

  • Avoid sending emails to strangers

Don’t send emails to strangers without their permission to minimize the chances of getting flagged as a spammer. Because sending emails to strangers may increase your bounce rate and spam complaints.

Plus, there is a high chance that the viewers may not engage with your content. This can lower your sender reputation by indicating to email providers that your content may not be valuable or relevant to your recipients.

However, you can avoid it with the help of a cold email automation tool like SafeMailer. It will allow you to customize your emails as well as the sending pattern according to your audiences’ behavior. Thus, reducing the risk of being marked as spam.

  • Minimize spam complaints

You can do this in the following ways:

  1. Give your recipients an option to unsubscribe.
  2. Make sure the content you’re sending is relevant and valuable.
  3. Keep an eye on your complaint rate and make adjustments to your email strategy.
  • Minimize the use of mass mailing tools.

Instead, you can use a cold email automation tool, which mimics human-like email-sending behavior and doesn’t get detected by spam filters.

  • Personalize your emails.

Generic emails are much more likely to appear as spam. Use a mail merge tool for personalizing your emails with data from a spreadsheet. A guide on how to use CRM with email marketing may help you to dynamically personalize your emails.


A high sender score is important to indicate to the email service providers that your domain is trustworthy and reliable. This helps you increase your domain reputation and email deliverability.

You can regularly check your sender score with the tools listed above and improve it consistently by following the best practices. So, get ready to run successful email campaigns.

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