You have to know this. Especially if you do email outreach. Each host has its own email sending limits. The limits may be daily, hourly, and sometimes also per minute. If you’re sending cold email campaigns without being aware of your email provider’s limits, your email account may get blocked before you know it. In this post you will find information about sending limits of popular email service providers including Gmail, Office 365, GoDaddy and more.
Why is it crucial to be aware of the limits?
If you’re sending your cold emails using tools like Woodpecker, which send the emails from your own mailbox (your own SMTP), the limits of your email service provider are the ones to keep an eye on when setting up your cold email campaigns.
Woodpecker does not internally limit the number of emails you send a day, but your provider does. Sending too many emails a day (or sometimes even too many an hour, or a minute) may cause your email account to be blocked, i.e. you won’t be able to send any kind of email from this account for 24 hours or more.
If you know the limits, and set up your delivery time and the number of emails sent daily per campaign according to those limits, your campaigns will be smoothly sent as planned – provided that you’re not sending poor quality content without any personalization whatsoever. If you’re sending spam or anything that is considered spam by your recipients, you will get blocked anyway and probably sooner than you reach your daily sending limit. Remember: the deliverability of your emails is also crucial if you want to avoid being blocked.
The limits posed by your provider are for all the messages getting out of your address. That’s why if you have several follow-ups planned within your campaign, you should keep in mind that after a few days or weeks, there will be not only your first touch emails queued to be sent a day, but also a number of follow-ups. As all the scheduled types of emails overlap, the limits may be easily exceeded. The same goes for sending a few campaigns from the same email address at the same time.
What are the limits?
In this post, I included the information I found about the limits as of 10th May 2017. However, the limits may change with time. So it’s crucial to follow the links for the direct resources to make sure you get updated information.
Jump straight to your provider:
- Free Gmail
- G Suite (Google Apps for Business)
- Yahoo! Mail Plus
If your email provider is not on the list, please let me know in the comments so I can add them.
Daily limit: 500 messages
Hourly limit: There is no official information. However, from our experience, it’s good to send no more than 20 messages an hour from a free Gmail account.
Additional good-to-know: If you exceed the limits, your account will get blocked for 1-24 hours. We usually don’t recommend sending cold email campaigns from a regular free Gmail account, but setting up an address on a separate domain using G Suite (a business email service from Google) instead. This gives you greater opportunities as to the outreach volume and more control over your sending settings.
Plus, your recipients will definitely treat you more seriously if they get an email from an address including a business domain, rather than from email@example.com. So if you do decide to use free Gmail account for your outreach anyway, make sure the address looks safe and legit to your recipients. Check out why the from line is so important in cold email outreach.
What’s most crucial to keep in mind, however, is that controlling the quantity of your outreach is one thing, but there’s also the quality to take care of. If you send poor quality cold emails with no personalization to a bunch of non-verified addresses, your provider may block you even before you hit the quantity limit. Especially if your provider is Gmail. So bear in mind that quality is even more important than quantity in this respect.
Direct resource: Limits for sending and receiving mail for free Gmail accounts >>
G Suite (Google Apps for Business)
Daily limit: 2000 messages (500 on trial)
Hourly limit: Officially, there are no hourly limits
Additional good-to-know: If you exceed the limits, your account will be blocked for up to 24 hours.
Just like in the case of a free Gmail account, the quality of your messages is tremendously important for deliverability, and poor deliverability may cause your account to be blocked before you even reach the quantity limit. So, if you get blocked even though you send a limited number of messages, check your email copy for spam words, broken links, html-to-text rate, and lack of personalization.
If Google’s anti-spam mechanisms find anything that may suggest your emails may be spam, you will get blocked. It makes a lot of sense if you think about it: one of the most effective ways to prevent spam from getting into people’s inboxes is preventing people from sending spam in the first place.
Direct resource: Gmail sending limits in G Suite >>
Daily limit: 10 000 recipients
Hourly limit: There’s no hourly limit, but a limit per minute, which is 30 messages max
Additional good-to-know: If you take your outreach seriously, you won’t even get close to the daily limit of Office 365. 10K per day sounds ridiculous for quality email outreach. But, be aware of the limit per minute, especially if you use some automation to send your outbound campaigns.
Using Woodpecker, you won’t get even close to the Office 365’s limit per minute, as Woodpecker sends your messages one by one, at random times, but no more frequently than every 10-20 seconds. Which means you won’t be able to send more than 6 messages per minute with Woodpecker.
Just as in the case of other providers, poor deliverability of your emails may result in getting blocked before you reach the sending emails. It’s really more important how many of the emails you send actually gets to your prospects’ inboxes. If the delivered/sent ratio is low, you look like a spammer and you may get blocked because of that. To make sure your deliverability is at a decent level, carry out the 14 Deliverability Checks.
Direct resource: Exchange Online Limits, Office 365: Receiving and sending limits >>
GoDaddy (Workspace email accounts)
Daily limit: 500 recipients,
Hourly limit: max. 300 messages per hour; max. 200 messages per minute
Additional good-to-know: It’s quite easy to hit the daily recipients limit if you send a few campaigns with follow-ups using automation. So if you do send a few campaigns with follow-ups, make sure to schedule the messages within all your campaigns for various days of the week. Or use more than one email address to make sure your first touch emails and follow-ups won’t overlap in a way that will get you blocked from sending.
As to the limit per minute, using Woodpecker you’re totally safe from exceeding it, as you won’t be able to send more than 6 emails per minute, even if you were trying very hard to send more 😉 Be smart when setting the delivery hours for your messages, though. If you set a single-hour window and decide to send your campaign to more than 300 prospects, you’re getting dangerously close to the hourly limit of GoDaddy.
Direct resource: GoDaddy Workspace email account limitations >>
BTW, beware of spikes in your mailbox activity
It’s always a good idea to set longer periods for sending a message to a larger group of prospects, because then particular messages are being sent less frequently, and there are no spikes in your email account’s activity. If you have an email account dedicated for outbound, and barely send anything from this account on a daily basis, but then suddenly you’re trying to send 300 emails during one hour, this just looks suspicious to any email provider. The key is to organize your outreach in a way that will allow a fluent, steady flow of outgoing messages.
I bet someone has told you at least once in your life that there are some “golden hours” for sending emails (you surely know, the “don’t send on Mondays, send on Tuesdays before lunch” kind of advice). So you might be tempted to schedule all your campaigns to be sent on Tuesdays between 10 and 11 am. Well, brace yourself and resist this temptation! This isn’t a newsletter – it’s cold email (check the difference here).
And I believe there’s no such thing as universal “golden hours” to send emails. You need to discover the “golden hours” for your specific prospect group. And if you send automatically, give your emails more time than just one hour to get sent more naturally to avoid getting blocked for an alarming, unnatural spike in your mailbox activity.
Ok, let’s go back to the sending limits.
Daily limit: 10 000 recipients/24h, but “automated email and spam are restricted at much lower limits to protect the integrity of the system.”
Hourly limit: No official information about an hourly limit
Additional good-to-know: From our experience, Rackspace pays attention to the quality of your messages more than to the quantity of them. Don’t get easily misled by the 10K daily limit. If you’re sending emails of low quality using Rackspace, you’ll get blocked much much sooner than that.
Remember that it’s very much about how many of your emails actually get to their destination. If they are classified as spam, either by anti-spam filters, or what’s worse, by your prospects, you may be blocked after just a few hours from hitting ‘send’.
Again, I know there are may more email service providers, and I’ll gladly include them here if you let me know which one you use.
Update for May 5, 2018.
Daily limit: I couldn’t find a direct info about daily sending limit.
Hourly limit: 150 emails per hour with a frequency of 70 emails per 30 minutes.
Additional good-to-know: BlueHost says you can increase the hourly limit once you have a valid reason for doing that. Just contact their support team.
After you experience email bounce, you’ll either get a warning or a time-out error. BlueHost will disable your account until it gets reviewed. Once the account is cleared, it’ll be activated within a 24-hour span.
Hourly limit: 100 recipients per hour when it comes to sending a single message
Additional good-to-know: To send 5 different messages to 5 recipients, a sending frequency is no greater than 25 emails per 15 minutes. To send a single email to many recipients, you can use a configure an announcement list.
Yahoo! Mail Plus
Daily limit: up to 500 emails a day
Hourly limit: 100 emails per hour
Direct resources: Yahoo Mail deliverability FAQ >>
Hourly limit: set to 500 emails/hour
Direct Resources: Email Policy >>
All in all
Regardless of which email provider you chose, all of them pay attention not only to what goes out of your mailbox, but also how many of the outgoing messages actually get delivered to your recipients. That’s why taking care of deliverability of your emails is so important.
That’s why it’s good to check out: