What does 'Domain has exceeded the maximum defers and failures per hour' mean?

To help stop spam, we have started monitoring the number of bounce-back emails each account sends out. If our system detects that 10% or more of the emails sent from an account within a one hour period are resulting in defers or failures (bounce backs), the system will prevent the account from sending further emails for up to one hour.

You will know this has occurred when you get an immediate bounce-back that says:

This message was created automatically by mail delivery software. A message that you sent could not be delivered to one or more of its recipients. This is a permanent error. The following address(es) failed:


Domain your-domain.com.au has exceeded the max defers and failures per hour (5/5 (50%)) allowed. Message discarded.

There are generally two circumstances in which this will occur:

  1. You are sending out mass emails and some of the addresses in your mailing list are inactive
  2. Your account has been hacked and is being used to send out spam 

What should you do to prevent/fix this?

If you are sending out mass emails

If you are sending out mass emails and this has occurred, it most likely means that some your subscribers are no longer using the email addresses they subscribed with. You will need to clean up your mailing list and stop sending emails to these inactive accounts. There is a tool in cPanel called Email Trace, which will help you clean up your mailing list. To use it:

  1. Log in to the Admin Panel
  2. Hover over 'Domains' and click 'Manage'
  3. Click on the domain you want to edit
  4. Click on cPanel
  5. Click on the Email Trace icon
  6. Leave the Recipient Mail field blank and Click [Run Report]
  7. Information about all the emails sent out from your account will be displayed. Use the information provided to determine which email addresses you should stop sending emails to, and remove them from your mailing lists.

If you are not sending out mass emails

If you are not sending out mass emails but are getting the "max defers and failures per hour" bounce back message, it might mean that your account has been hacked. Before you panic, follow the above steps to see what emails have been recently sent from your account. If you do not recognise many of the email addresses in the Email Trace report you should update the password for the email account that is being used to send out these emails.

If the problem continues, we recommend you read through the below support articles relating to hacked websites. Contact us if you require further assistance.

  • Password security
  • Protecting your site against hackers