post

Is Your Website Blacklisted? Find Out Now!

I discovered a few weeks ago, through no fault of my own, that my website had been blacklisted.  To be more precise it was the IP address of my hosting company that was the problem and this immediately rang alarm bells as you can imagine.

How did I find out?  Well, it was actually by accident.  I had prepared a follow-up email through AWeber to send out to my mailing list and in the email it had a link back to my website.  AWeber’s spam filter, which refers to The Spamhaus Project for its results, had given my email a whopping spam score of 10 out of 10.

On contacting AWeber they advised the problem was my hosting company’s IP address, not my website.  I use Hostgator as my main web host but I also use Cloudflare and this was where the problem was.  Cloudflare had been blacklisted!  I couldn’t believe that they would put me in this position!

Cloudflare were aware of the spam issue and after discussions with Spamhaus everything was sorted out.  I originally removed the Cloudflare service from my website when this happened but it really does help with overall speed.  So, I decided to check if my AWeber account was back to normal and that would then make my decision as to whether I would give Cloudflare a second chance.  Luckily it had so the service now remains on my blog.

So, the moral of this story is…

Check If Your Website Is Blacklisted

How do I do this you ask?  Well, there are a number of blacklists out there, with the goal of identifying websites and domains which may be problematic.  These lists help internet service providers and other companies in blocking spam and malicious software.

BlackListAlert.org

You can check whether or not yours is listed on any of the blacklists using BlacklistAlert.org.  Put in your domain or IP address and the website will check whether it appears on more than 30 spam and malware blacklists.

If any of the blacklists return a status of anything other than OK, there will be a link which you can click on to find out why.  You should then get in touch with your web host for further information.  Your web host will need to contact the particular blacklist to ask that they be removed.

I hope you found this useful.

Did you try this out?  Were any of your websites showing as blacklisted?  I would love to hear your comments and whether this has happened to you.

Please also share this post as well if you would so that others are aware of BlacklistAlert.org.

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Tim Bonner

Tim Bonner is a Stay At Home Dad, Blogger and Internet Marketer. Learn more about him here.

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Comments

  1. Praveen Rajarao says

    Hello Tim – Followed you here from your comment on Adrienne’s website. This is an awesome tool, and I just checked that my site is doing just fine. Thanks for sharing this with others.
    Praveen Rajarao recently posted…Promote Your Blog At DMCMy Profile

    • says

      Hi there Praveen

      Thanks for coming along to my blog and for your comments.

      After the experience I had recently, I thought it would be useful to share with everyone just in case they find out they have a similar problem.

      There are other free resources out there which will do the same thing but I think BacklistAlert.org has the most comprehensive blacklist I’ve seen.

      Glad to hear that you site is doing just fine. :-)

      Tim

  2. says

    Hey Tim,

    Yey, I passed… Every once in awhile I’ll see that in Aweber but not often, just a few spam alerts but I guess they didn’t link my particular link. I’ve never hit 10 out of 10 before though.

    Glad you found this out and that’s why I don’t use any of these cloud services. I’ve heard about too many problems with them and I just don’t need that.

    By the way, your Twitter ID is set up in your sidebar plug-in but not the ones below your posts. Just thought I’d tell you since that was the topic of my post today.

    Have a great weekend.

    ~Adrienne
    Adrienne recently posted…Why I Will Not Share Your Blog PostsMy Profile

    • says

      Hey Adrienne

      I’m still considering getting rid of Cloudflare as I’m sure this could happen to me again in the future.

      I just found out that the JetPack Twitter button doesn’t automatically put in your Twitter ID when someones clicks on it.

      Thanks for pointing this out Adrienne, I never would have known.

      It’s the same for a number of plugins apparently. I’m just trying out a new one tonight which does include it.

      Thanks for your comments. I really appreciate them.

      Tim

  3. Jeevan Jacob John says

    Just checked mine and found out I had one blacklisting (I have taken necessary steps to remove it).

    Sorry that you had a bad experience with Cloudflare, Tim. I also have had some issues with them, mainly my site being down several times (So currently, I have my Cloudflare account paused).

    Anyways, thanks for the tutorial :) Appreciate you sharing your experience, Tim!

    Jeevan Jacob John

    • says

      Hi Jeevan

      Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog. I really appreciate it.

      I’m glad that the website allowed you to find out about one blacklisting. One isn’t serious so hopefully you should be able to get that sorted in no time.

      I was annoyed with Cloudflare that they knew about the issue with Spamhaus and did not warn any of their customers. If they had, I would have paused my account straight away. I’m sorry you’re also having problems with them.

      Thank you for your comments Jeevan.

      Have a great weekend.

      Tim

  4. Annie Andre says

    I’m ok. YAY!

    You are the third person i’ve heard that has problems with cloud flare. To think, i’ve come close several times to implementing it but couldn’t find the time to do it.

    I’ve started to monitor my site on Yahoo and Bing. I figure if i get blacklisted for some strange reason maybe ranking high in the other search engines will save me? WHo knows.

    • says

      Hi Annie

      Really glad to hear your website is fine. It was a shock to me I can tell you when I found out about Cloudflare!

      I still have Cloudflare active on my website but I’m in two minds as to whether to keep it or scrap it. Certainly if this happens to me again, they are gone forever from my site!

      Hopefully you’ll never get blacklisted. When Cloudflare got blacklisted I believe any emails I sent got marked as spam. Thankfully the blacklist they were on didn’t affect search engines.

      And Cloudflare knew about it but never informed their customers. Hey, so I use the free plan but they could have at least warned me.

      I’m not sure whether ranking high on Yahoo or Bing would make any difference but it sounds like a good plan to me.

      Thank you for your comments Annie. I hope you are enjoying Berlin or enjoyed Berlin in you are now back in France.

      Have a good weekend.

      Tim

  5. Donna Merrill says

    Hi Tim,

    Thanks for taking the time to post these links to check out our sites. I’m OK Horrraaay! I’ve heard about Cloudflare’s recent problems. I don’t use it so maybe that’s why I’m fine. Well…so far so good!

    Thanks again,
    Donna

    • says

      Hi Donna

      No problem. When I found out about Cloudflare it made me concerned that I might be on other blacklists as well. I’m on a shared server with Hostgator so even more chance, I guess!

      I thought the least I could do was pass on Blacklistalert.org so that other people could have peace of mind!

      I’m really glad your website domain is fine. Long may it stay that way! At least we can now check our domains every now and again with this tool.

      Thank you for your comments Donna.

      Have a great week.

      Tim

  6. Nilesh Srivastava says

    Hello Tim, thanks for the tool information which you provided. I am going to check mine website that it is blacklisted or not.

    • says

      Hi Nilesh

      No problem. I hope you find it useful and that your domain isn’t listed.

      I discovered that because I’m on a shared domain at Hostgator that my IP address does appear on a couple of lists still.

      I checked it out with Hostgator though and they told me not to worry about one of them because nearly 40% of the internet are on that list and they are sorting the other blacklisting out.

      Most things can usually get sorted out!

      Thank you for your comments Nilesh and for visiting my blog.

      Tim

    • says

      Hi Bhavesh

      Thank you for visiting my blog.

      No problem. I’m glad you found the post useful. Hopefully your domain or ip are fine and not on the list!

      Thank you for your kind comments Bhavesh. Good to see you.

      Tim

  7. RK Stephenson says

    I think the solution is to dump Aweber. Here’s why:

    They should check the SmapHaus DBL rather than the SBL. I have a client who is clean in the DBL, but their CloudFlare IP is listed in the SBL.

    They use Google Apps for email so their email is “clean.”

    Aweber’s emails should not be flagged as spam and my clients email will never be flagged as spam (I have never seen GApps email flagged as spam).

    Therefore, Aweber’s check is giving a bogus impression of their spam risk.

    I spoke with Aweber about fixing their spam check and they just played dumb. Ergo, dump Aweber.

    • says

      Hi there

      Welcome to my blog.

      I had a problem with using and AWeber and Cloudflare at the same time as you indicate.

      As I understand it though this was sorted out by Cloudflare following discussions with SpamHaus? I haven’t had any issues with AWeber in relation to this since.

      On the other hand, I have had numerous issues with CloudFlare in terms of speed and errors.

      I have removed CloudFlare from my website as it was causing too many problems when I was lead to believe it would speed things up not slow them down!

      Thank you for your comments.

      Tim

  8. RK Stephenson says

    I had a problem with using and AWeber and Cloudflare at the same time as you indicate.

    Yesterday? =^)

    As I understand it though this was sorted out by Cloudflare following discussions with SpamHaus? I haven’t had any issues with AWeber in relation to this since.

    Nope. Incidentally, AWeber is the only mailing list provider I know of that does this bogus check.

    They say they do it because an MTA “might” check the email body for domain names. Unlikely.

    I chatted with their tech support — it was like talking to a rock. They acknowledge doing a DBL check, which comes back clean. But they gave a high risk score because of an IP lookup (SBL) that is completely unrelated to any spam risk for the domain in question.

    SpamHaus is the only RBL that lists the IP in question and AWeber is the only mailing list that uses SpamHaus’s SBL to risk-check mailing list email. Hmmm … I see a pattern developing. ;^)

    On the other hand, I have had numerous issues with CloudFlare in terms of speed and errors.

    Are you sure it was CloudFlare? I manage domains with a variety or technologies and anywhere from a few up to millions of visitors a month. I have no problems. I wonder, if yours was a common experience, would they be serving 70 billion page views a month?

    TechCrunch – CloudFlares exploding growth

    • says

      I’m relatively happy with AWeber apart from the cost but I’ll bear what you’ve said in mind, so thank you for pointing that out.

      I was thinking of looking at the other providers in the next few weeks anyway.

      It was definitely CloudFlare that was causing the issues. I got numerous errors saying my site was down and it was so slow all the time.

      As soon as I moved my nameservers back to Hostgator all was well in the world again.

      I won’t be going back to Cloudflare. It is a fairly common issue if you do a search on the web you’ll see a number of articles describing the same problems.

  9. says

    Hi Tim, I’m late to the party, but saw this in your sidebar and had to check it out. My domain is fine, yea!, but my IP was blacklisted somewhere due to my ISP. I use an ISP that is very large in the US so I’m not too concerned, but this was a very useful exercise!

    Now that it has been a while, how has Cloud Flare been working for you? I tried it once but it conflicted with an old theme and crashed my blog. I have been thinking of using it again, but am nervous.

    Perhaps an article on your experience with Cloud Flare if you have lessons you would care to share with us?
    Carolyn recently posted…The iPad Mini: You May Not Want It…Until You Hold ItMy Profile

    • says

      Hi Carolyn

      My ISP was blacklisted on a couple of lists and still is. I contacted them about it and they said not to worry about it as the particular lists pretty much had 90% of the internet blacklisted!

      It concerned me when I first saw my ISP was blacklisted but now I’m not too bothered. It’s definitely a useful exercise to check once in a while though as sometimes your ISP won’t necessarily know they’re on any of these lists either.

      I’ve had my ups and downs with Cloudflare to be honest Carolyn. I had started to draft a post about Cloudflare so I’ll definitely make sure I get that finished soon!

      Thank you for your suggestion and your comments Carolyn.

      I hope your week is going well.

      Tim

  10. says

    Great info Tim, been checking all mine out and Hostgator is checking into mine as well. Thanks for providing this. I think most are the IPS as I’m reading in the comments now. Hopefully it’s nothing major. Thanks for sharing this informative post on it. Love that tool to check!

    • says

      Hi Lisa

      I’m with Hostgator too.

      They were on a couple of lists but they told me not to worry about them as almost the entire internet is on those particular ones!

      I’m glad you liked the tool and I hope everything turns out ok with Hostgator.

      Tim

    • says

      Hi Reginald

      Cloudflare managed to sort out the issue with Spamhaus but it could happen again.

      They don’t seem to be too fussy about who they will allow through their servers.

      Glad to hear your domains not blacklisted on any sites!

      I hope you had a great weekend.

      Tim

    • says

      Hi Tom

      Glad to hear that your domain got the thumbs up.

      I still use Cloudflare and haven’t had any problems since. Only time will tell whether this will happen again though.

      Have a great week.

      Tim

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