When we assist customers with email delivery problems, one of the more common questions we get is, “Should I just get a new IP address?” On the surface, this can seem like an easy way to hit “restart” for your email program and start fresh.

But while it is important to act quickly to correct delivery problems, it is equally important to ensure that what you are addressing is the source of the issue. Changing to the wrong element of your email program not only runs the risk of not correcting the problem, but can continue to harm to your email deliverability.

The wrong reasons to add IPs

Today’s inbox providers look at more than just IP reputation and are increasingly sensitive to sender’s attempts to “game” their systems when it comes to inbox placement and sending reputation. If they see a sender spreading traffic over IP addresses and feel that it is an attempt to dilute negative impacts to sending reputation, they will treat that sender as a snowshoe spammer.

Snowshoe spammers (as the name suggests) try to spread the impact of their poor sending practices over a wide IP footprint in order to avoid filters–much the same way a real snowshoe spreads a person’s weight over a large area to avoid sinking into the snow. While real snowshoeing is a wonderful and healthy winter hobby, a snowshoer is not something you want to be seen as in the world of email.

Only add new IP addresses to your email program when you are addressing an issue that is not caused by poor sending reputation.

If you are experiencing the following, IP addition will not solve these issues:

• Poor inbox placement
• IP blacklist
• Deferrals or blocks
• Recipient spam complaints

Address the issues above by making sure you are sending wanted email–not just adding another IP address.

Making sure you are only sending to recipients who have opted-in to your mail specifically, only sending relevant content, and not continuing to send to recipients who never open your email are the keys to a good sending reputation. Along with the potential negative impact of being viewed as a snowshoe spammer, switching to or adding new IPs to address reputation issues does not address the underlying causes of those reputation issues. A new IP address will not make your email wanted nor will it prevent recipients from reporting it as spam.

For delivery issues that are related to sending reputation, the best way to correct those issues is by reducing email sending for a time to the inbox provider where you are seeing problems at–and only send to your most engaged subscribers while you repair your sending reputation.

For example, for the first couple of weeks, sending only to recipients who have opened or engaged in the past two weeks is a great start to repairing your reputation. As you send and monitor your results, you can start adding in less-engaged subscribers, making sure to pull back on adding recipients if you see your results begin to suffer.

Ultimately, implementing a sunset policy to prevent excessive sending to non-engaged addresses will be critical in preventing further reputation issues. We typically suggest avoiding sending to any addresses that have not engaged with your email in the last 6 months.

When and why would I need to add a new IP address?

If you are sending more mail than the inbox provider is willing to accept over time, adding a new IP will help you with your delivery rates. If you see a spike in deferral or block messages that reference “too many connections” or “too much mail this hour/day,” or if you are seeing rising end to end times for your emails to a specific ISP, adding a new IP address to help spread the traffic going to that ISP will help you mitigate and avoid those deferrals.

Adding a new IP address to your email program can be helpful to segment out your mail streams. For example, a best practice we often suggest is to segment your transactional messages onto one IP address while sending your marketing messages on another IP. This helps make sure that any issues with your marketing mail stream do not overly impact your critical transactional messages.

SendGrid Pro and Premier customers can add up to 3 additional IP addresses directly in their account dashboard.

The service also allows for users to designate subusers, enable our automated IP warmup, and directs users to whitelabel their new IP addresses. And if you are hungry for more great information on IP address management, avoiding blacklists, and more, check out our great resources below:

Email Reputation 101: IP Reputation vs. Domain Reputation
What Is and What Isn’t an IP Warm Up?
Avoiding Email Blacklists: Best Practices for Reducing Your Risk of IP and Domain Blacklisting
SendGrid’s Guide to Email Infrastructure

Takeaways

Ultimately, when delivery issues arise, it is critical for your long-term success as a sender to address the root causes of those issues, rather than seek a quick, temporary fix. Since your sending reputation is tied to much more than just your IP addresses, that reputation can and will follow you as a sender.

If you are experiencing delivery problems that appear related to your sending volume and rate, adding a new IP address just might help you get more emails to the inbox in a timely fashion. On the other hand, if your problems seem to stem from how your recipients are reacting to your messages, you will want to revisit your list collection practices, sending frequency, and content to make sure you are sending wanted and relevant email.



Will Boyd

Will has spent the last 5 years in the email delivery world helping senders get their messages to the folks that want them. Having spent most of his life in his home state of Tennessee, Will is loving the ‘real’ mountains of Colorado and lack of humidity. When he’s not thinking about email delivery, Will is an avid blues music fan and amateur blues historian. “