“Error” Return Codes for Spamhaus Public Mirrors

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New "Error" Return Codes From Spamhaus

Spamhaus implemented the following new error return codes for their public mirrors back in March 2021. These new codes are not related to the query’s reputation, but indicate an error. 

Incorrect parsing of these new query return codes, may result in your system reading all responses as “Listed” or “Not Listed”. – Typing error in DNSBL Name

This code will be returned as a result of typos in the DNSBL name in the code. 
An example would be using “zin.spamhaus.org”, not the correct name “zen.spamhaus.org” in your query.  Using the wrong name will result in a query to a non-exsiting spamhaus blocklist, and will not return any data. 

If your query returns “”, please review that you are using the correct DNSBL names in your configuration. – Query via public / open resolver / generic unatrributable rDNS 

Spamhaus does not allow open or public resolver to query their DNSBLs.  Spamhaus public mirrors are free service for non-commercial organizations under a certain query limit.  Using open or public resolvers does not allow Spamhaus to see which users are overquerying their public mirrors. 

If your query returns “”, please review this guide on configuring Spamhaus public mirror queries with popular MTAs

To continue using Spamhaus data with an open resolver, Spamhaus recommends creating a Spamhaus account for their free* Data Query Service (DQS). Spamhaus free DQS accounts provide some additional benefits, including more frequent updates, and requires few changes in your current configuration. 

*Note:  The Service is provided for free to non-commercial users. Users that exceed the free usage may be required to purchase a subscription to continue querying the Spamhaus data. Excessive Number of Queries

As mentioned, Spamhaus public mirrors have a free usage limit. This limit helps maintain the quality of service for all Spamhaus users. If your query return code is, this means the IP address you are using has exceeded the allowed number of queries. 

 If you receive return code “”, please sign up for a free trial so we can assist with setting up your commercial license to use Data Query Service.

Users of the free public mirror are strongly encouraged to review their configurations so ensure the return codes are parsed correctly.  Wrong configurations of these codes can result in your system incorrectly marking all email traffic as “listed”. Regular review of your logs can help identify these return codes, so your team can take action.

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