I am trying to remove an IP address from the Spamhaus PBL blacklist. I fill out the form with the correct information (IP address, email, etc.), but I get the following message when I try to remove it:

The IP address removal process failed for the following reason:

The netblock owner's policy does not allow removal from the PBL

I don't know how to contact these people, as the "Contacts" page only has to do with other things, such as legal stuff, and they specifically say to not contact them about being removed from a blacklist there. What do you suggest I do?


The PBL is not a blacklist. It is a collection of blocks of (mostly, but not entirely) dynamic IP's, best practice is to block mail from these as per MAAWG Guidelines.

What the response from Spamhaus means is that the netblock owner (your ISP, unless you operate a /24 or larger) has registered an ISP PBL account and has set a policy to say you cannot remove yourself. It means (although it should really say this more clearly) that you need to contact your ISP to have the your IP removed from the PBL list.

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  • Ok, thanks for clarifying that. I suppose it is also possible to get around this without going through the process of contacting them and explaining the situation (I stupidly left my mail server as an open relay after reconfiguring it and a spammer got a hold of it, I have since resolved this) if my IP address changes, as it's dynamic? – Jack Humphries Jan 20 '13 at 0:28
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    You shouldn't be sending mail from a dynamic IP... Your ISP may have a smarthost service that would prevent this from happening in the future. – ewwhite Jan 20 '13 at 0:41
  • Why are you worried about explaining it to your ISP? – ceejayoz Jan 20 '13 at 1:12
  • @JackHumphries - Your presence on the PBL is not because you or anyone else did something bad. You basically have 2 options 1) get a fixed IP and then ask your ISP to remove that from the PBL if they haven't by default. 2) reconfigure your server to forward outbound mail via your ISP. the latter is generally the better option unless you have a good reason not to do so. – James Snell Jan 20 '13 at 13:44
  • @JamesSnell Thanks. In number 2, do you mean to use my ISP's server as a relay? I think I'm already doing this (I'm relaying outbound mail through smtp.comcast.net)? Anyway, I'll contact Comcast and explain the situation and see how I can fix this. I got put on the PBL a few days ago after a spammer found my server was open (and a customer rep said it was ok to host a mail server)... so, I don't know, I suppose Comcast was fine with me sending email from a dynamic IP beforehand. – Jack Humphries Jan 20 '13 at 14:58

I think the error is referring to YOUR netblock.

Do you understand why you were blocked in the first place? What actions did you take to remediate the issue that warranted your placement on a blacklist?

If you're in a situation where your ISP's netblock is prohibited, it could be a case like Verizon, where you're given a designated SMART HOST to relay through. (You're not sending from a home, consumer-class or dynamic address, are you?)

Please provide details on who your ISP is. At this point, I would go to them with the message and take their suggestion on how to resolve.

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