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How to Know if an Email Exists: 6 Proven Methods

John Pratt
Wednesday, 8th May 2024
how to know if an email exists

You’ve got an email ready to send to a potential client, a new subscriber, or a long-lost friend, but you’re not sure the email address in your contacts list is real. You don’t want to send an email into the void, never to be seen again. So, how can you tell if that email actually exists?

Listen up, folks! I’ve been crafting emails for what feels like forever, and I’m here to spill the beans on how to make sure your messages are landing in real inboxes.

I’ve got six tried-and-true methods that I swear by, and I’m ready to share them with you. These aren’t just some half-baked ideas – they’re the real deal, and I’ve used them successfully more times than I can count.

So, whether you’re trying to clean up your email list, improve your deliverability, or just make sure you’re not wasting your time on fake addresses, keep reading. By the end of this post, you’ll be able to verify email addresses like a pro.

Table Of Contents:

What Is Email Verification?

Before I dive into the nitty-gritty of email verification, let me paint you a picture.

You’ve spent hours crafting the perfect email campaign, pouring your heart and soul into every word. You hit send, expecting a flood of engagement and conversions, but instead, you’re met with a tsunami of bounces and a plummeting sender reputation.


That’s where email verification comes in. It’s the secret weapon in any email marketer’s arsenal, the key to unlocking inbox success.

How Email Verification Works

Email verifiers weed out all the fake email addresses and potential troublemakers. It works by analyzing each email address, checking for proper syntax and domain existence, and even pinging the server to confirm if the address is active and accepting mail.

Think of it as a virtual detective, leaving no stone unturned in the quest for a clean, valid list.

Email verifiers like Emailable use advanced algorithms and real-time data to ensure your emails reach their intended destination.

Why Should You Verify Email Addresses?

By regularly verifying your email list, you’ll see higher deliverability rates, better engagement, and a sparkling sender reputation that’ll make even the most discerning ISPs take notice.

Plus, you’ll save money by not wasting resources on invalid email addresses, and you’ll protect yourself from the dreaded spam traps and blacklists. It’s a win-win situation.

On the flip side, neglecting email verification can have some pretty dire consequences. Your emails could end up in spam folders, or worse, get your IP or domain blacklisted.

And let’s not forget the wasted time, money, and effort spent on crafting email campaigns that never even reach their target audience. It’s a marketer’s nightmare.

How to Know If an Email Exists

Want to know if you’re sending to a valid email address? I have compiled a list of the top six methods to check if an email address exists.

Whether you’re a seasoned email marketer or just starting out, these techniques will help you maintain a squeaky-clean email list and ensure your messages always hit the mark.

1. Use an Email Verification Tool

If you want to take the guesswork out of email verification, using a dedicated tool is the way to go. These nifty little programs do all the heavy lifting for you, checking your list against a massive database of known invalid and risky addresses.

When it comes to email verification tools, you’ve got plenty of awesome options to choose from.

My top picks? ZeroBounce, NeverBounce, and Clearout. These bad boys are incredibly easy to use, crazy accurate, and won’t cost you an arm and a leg.

To run an email verification tool, simply upload your list, sit back, and let the tool work its magic.

Most tools will process your email list in a matter of minutes, and you’ll get a detailed report on the status of each address.

From there, you can segment your list, remove any invalid or risky addresses, and focus your efforts on the engaged, active subscribers who actually want to hear from you.

2. Check Mail Server Records

If you want to get a little more hands-on with your email verification, checking the mail server records is a great option. This method involves looking up the MX (mail exchanger) records for a given domain, which can tell you a lot about the validity of an email address.

What are MX records?

MX records are essentially a roadmap for email delivery. They specify which servers are responsible for accepting mail for a particular domain.

Checking MX records is pretty simple. You can use a tool like MXToolbox or just do a quick DNS lookup in your terminal.

Enter the domain you want to check and you’ll get a list of the MX records associated with that domain, along with some additional information like the priority and TTL (time to live) values.

Once you have the MX records for a domain, you’ll need to interpret the results to determine the validity of the email address in question.

Generally speaking, if a domain has valid MX records pointing to a reputable mail server, that’s a good sign that the email address is legitimate.

On the other hand, if there are no MX records or the records point to a suspicious or non-existent server, that could be a red flag.

3. Send a Test Email

Sometimes, the simplest solution is the best one. If you want to know if an email address is valid, why not just send a test email and see what happens?

Sending a test email is easy — just compose a quick message, address it to the email address in question, and hit send. You don’t need to include any fancy formatting or images, just a simple text message will do.

When sending a test email, it’s important to keep it short and sweet. You don’t want to come across as spammy or pushy, so just include a brief message explaining that you’re testing the validity of that email address.

For example:

“Hey there, just wanted to make sure this email address is valid. If you’re reading this, could you let me know? Thanks.”

Once you’ve sent your test email, keep an eye on your inbox for any bounces or error messages. If the email goes through without any issues, that’s a good sign that the address is valid and active.

On the other hand, if you receive a bounce message or the email is returned as undeliverable, that’s a pretty clear indication that the address is invalid or no longer in use.

Indeed, sending a test email isn’t a surefire solution. Some email services are more forgiving than others when it comes to invalid addresses, and strict spam filters can block your test message. Yet, for the vast majority of cases, a simple test email can quickly confirm whether an email account is valid or not.

how to know if an email exists

4. Check Social Media Profiles

You’d be surprised how many people leave their email addresses right out in the open on their social media profiles. It’s like they’re just begging to be added to your email list.

But before you go on an email-hunting spree, let’s talk about the best places to look.

LinkedIn is a goldmine for email addresses, especially if you’re targeting professionals or B2B leads.

Twitter and Facebook can also be good sources, but people tend to be a bit more cautious about sharing their contact info on those platforms.

When you’re scrolling through profiles, keep an eye out for the “Contact Info” or “About” sections. That’s usually where people will list their email addresses if they want to be reached.

Now, I know what you’re thinking – “But John, I don’t have time to stalk hundreds of social media profiles.”

Trust me, I get it. That’s where email finder tools come in handy.

These nifty little programs can scan social media profiles and extract any email addresses they find. Some popular options are Hunter, Anymail Finder, and VoilaNorbert.

Just enter a name or company, and let the tool do the heavy lifting. It’s like having your own little email detective on staff.

5. Use an Email Address Checker

Alright, so you’ve got a list of email addresses from your social media sleuthing. But before you hit “send” on that mass email, you need to make sure those addresses are actually valid.

That’s where an email address checker comes in. These tools will verify that an email address is formatted correctly and that it actually exists on the server.

Email checkers work by pinging the server associated with an email address and waiting for a response. If the server confirms that the address exists, it’s marked as valid. If not, it’s flagged as invalid.

Some checkers will also perform additional tests like checking for typos or syntax errors in the address format. The more advanced tools can even detect disposable or catch-all addresses that are likely to bounce.

Now, it’s important to note that email checkers aren’t foolproof. They can only verify that an address is formatted correctly and exists on the server. They can’t tell you if the address belongs to a real person or if that person actually checks their email.

There’s also a risk of false positives, where an address is marked as valid but still bounces when you try to send an email. This can happen if the server is configured to accept all incoming messages, even if the specific address doesn’t exist.

So while email checkers are a helpful tool, they shouldn’t be the only step in your email validation process.

6. Verify Emails in Bulk

If you’re working with a large email list, verifying each address individually would take forever. That’s where bulk email verification comes in clutch.

With a bulk verification tool, you can upload your entire list and let the software work its magic.

The biggest benefit of bulk verification is the time savings. Instead of spending hours or even days manually checking each email address, you can verify thousands of emails in just a few minutes.

Bulk verification can also help improve your email deliverability rates. By weeding out invalid or risky addresses, you’re less likely to get flagged as a spammer by email servers. That means more of your messages will actually make it to the inbox.

To get started with bulk verification, you’ll need to export your email list as a .csv or .txt file. Most email marketing platforms or CRMs will have an export option built in.

Then, choose a bulk verification service like NeverBounce or ZeroBounce. Upload your list and the tool will start verifying those addresses faster than you can say “unsubscribe.”

Looking for a particular email address? Read our blog post on how to find someone’s email.

Best Practices for Maintaining a Clean Email List

Bulk verification is a great way to clean up your email list, but it shouldn’t be a one-and-done thing. To keep your list squeaky clean, you should be verifying it regularly – at least once every few months.

Maintaining a tidy inbox is easier than you think. Just stick to these simple email hygiene habits:

  • Use double opt-ins to confirm new subscribers
  • Remove bounced or unengaged addresses regularly
  • Segment your list to send targeted, relevant content
  • Give subscribers an easy way to unsubscribe or update their preferences

By combining bulk verification with these best practices, you’ll be well on your way to email marketing success.

Getting too many spam emails? Learn how to block an email address.

FAQs: How to Know if an Email Exists

Is there a way to check if an email address exists?

Yes, use an email verification tool. It pings the address without sending mail.

How can I see if an email address is still active?

Send a polite test email. If it bounces back, the account’s likely inactive.

How do I verify an email that doesn’t exist?

Email verification tools spot nonexistent emails by checking against real-time databases.

How to check email address availability?

Social media searches and specialized search engines can reveal if an address is in use or available.


So there you have it — six proven methods of how to know if an email exists. From using verification tools to sending test emails, these strategies will help you keep your email list clean and your deliverability rates high.

But don’t just take my word for it. Try out these methods for yourself and see the difference they can make. Trust me, your email marketing game will thank you.

When your email list starts to feel overwhelming, turn to our premium bulk email checker tool for relief. You’ll thank yourself later for the time and trouble it saves you.

Written by John Pratt

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