Getting Started with Recipient Validation

March 12, 2020 Contributors

Send with confidence!

Recipient Validation helps you remove bad email addresses before you send to them to protect your sender reputation so your emails land in the inbox.

We leverage hundreds of millions of delivery and engagement events, in addition to the existing hard bounce events, giving us the most powerful validation algorithm in the market.

Start using Recipient Validation if you’re running into any of these challenges: 

  1. Experiencing a high number of hard bounces when sending email campaigns
  2. Seeing poor deliverability with major mailbox providers such as Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, and Microsoft
  3. Dealing with recipient lists that haven’t been sent to for months, most likely filled with email addresses that are no longer engaged and or invalid
  4. No way of auditing email addresses entered in as part of your upfront sign-up  or opt-in process flow
  5. Sending to low-quality email addresses, including both masked email addresses and disposable throwaway email addresses, that hurt your reputation
  6. Using a current validation tool that takes either minutes or days to complete your validations. You need your validations faster, especially if it is a part of your sign up flow!

Start validating and see improvements in your inbox performance and sending reputation. 

The best part is, you can quickly validate your email lists or integrate Recipient Validation into your sign up flow through the API.

Recipient Validation is available to all SparkPost senders on the Starter plan and higher.

How do I Validate? 

Validate an email list in app

Using Recipient Validation, you can quickly validate a list of email addresses. In addition to your regular list hygiene, you should be sure to verify your list when sending to recipients for the first time in a while, and when you migrate between email delivery providers.

Learn how to validate your list.

Validate a single email address in app

While in the SparkPost app, you can quickly validate a single email address for spot checking purposes.

Integrate the API

You may want to add Recipient Validation when you first collect an email address. When you validate email addresses the moment you collect them, not only are you able to block undeliverable and risky addresses from making it past your digital front door. Additionally, you are able to catch your user’s typos and recommend a correction, so your user isn’t confused when they never get emails from you.

Learn how to protect your forms with Recipient Validation.

Understanding the results

A more robust set of result categories allows you to catch typos and syntax errors for real and valid emails and further investigate other addresses that come back with more information. We help you decide whether to use the email address or not. Let’s learn about them.


The result field contains the overall status of this email. It will show the status of the email address as either valid, neutral, risky, undeliverable, or typo. You should never send to addresses classified as undeliverable.

Result Description
valid Data indicates a delivery and/or engagement event associated with email address. You should send to it.
neutral Data indicates no hard bounce, delivery, or engagement event associated with email address.
risky The email address is risky to send to because it is suspected of hard bouncing in the past.
undeliverable The email address is undeliverable because of hard bounces, syntax, invalid domain, or invalid recipient issue.
typo The email address may have a misspelled domain. Please see did_you_mean for our best recommendation to correct


Recipient Validation provides a reason field, which describes how it reached the result.

Reason Definition
Invalid Syntax Given email is not valid email syntax
Invalid Domain The domain does not exist or is not set up to receive email
Invalid Recipient Email address does not exist, according to our data

Did you mean?

When the response contains the did_you_mean field, it indicates there is probably a typo in the domain of the email address. An example of this is “” instead of “”. You can pass this correction on to your user when you integrate Recipient Validation through the API or use it to correct the email address in your list.

Email address types

Disposable email address

Disposable email providers are services that create email addresses that are discarded after one use or a short period of time. People use them to avoid giving out their real email address. Our data shows that disposable email providers have engagement rates of less than 1%.

Role-based email address

Role-based email addresses represent a group or activity, like sales or abuse. They tend to engage less, and unsubscribe and complaint more. These email addresses should be avoided since they risk harming your reputation.

Free email address

Free email providers such as Gmail allow anyone to sign up for an email address. In most cases, these email addresses are not low-quality leads. However, certain businesses may consider requiring professional email addresses and not allowing free personal ones.