Can I stop our CiviCRM database from putting emails on hold when they bounce?

While it's useful from one point of view, it takes ages to keep removing the blocks.

3 Answers 3


not a direct answer to your question but I was wondering if you are aware that you can "bulk-unhold" emails:

  • use advanced search and select "Email on hold"
  • from the action menu select "Unhold Emails"

Regards Fabian

Search Unhold

  • Thank you - that's really useful. I've only recently got landed with IT, so I'm on a steep learning curve. Jan 20, 2016 at 17:01

Presumably a great number of the email addresses that you take off hold are good, hence your desire to remove the hold. Because you don't really want to blindly unhold addresses that truly bad especially with bulk email. Sending email to lots of addresses that bounce is more likely to get your mail server marked as generating spam.

Having said that, there is a threshold for each type of bounce before it is marked bounced. For example, if the bounce is because the user's inbox is full, then the default is not to mark it on hold until civi has received three bounces from that address for that reason.

If you have access to the database and knowledge how to update records you can change hold threshold. These values are stored in the civicrm_mailing_bounce_type table.

You can get more info on how civi bounces email here including what the thresholds are set to by default. (I'm not sure the table in this link is up to date, we have additional hold types listed in our version, like vacation, set to 30.)

  • Thanks - that's a really comprehensive reply. As a comparative novice, I'm still learning, but hopefully I won't need this - trying to explain to a colleague WHY we need the database keeping up to date and not misused! Jan 20, 2016 at 17:00

The simple answer is: sure, just don't enable (or disable) your bounce handling (which depends on your method of sending). But of course, it's usually a bad idea. I just put this answer in to point out that it's actually an important and non-trivial thing to handle bounces.

  • I know - was looking for a quick fix for the damage done by someone who doesn't understand the database. Hope to fix the errors very quickly. Jan 20, 2016 at 16:59

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