Verify an Email Address – Ping It!

Often the situation comes when you need to verify if the given email is real or fake. What to do in order to verify the email address. One simple method is to send a test mail to the given email address. If the message bounced back, this means the email address doesn’t exist. However, there are certain web domains which are configured as a catch-all email address which means that even the mail sent to non-existent email address will not bounce back to the sender.

So, following are given few steps to verify an email address:

Ping an Email Address to Validate it!

Whenever an email message is sent on an email address, the message first reaches to an SMTP server which searches for the MX or Mail Exchange records of the email recipient’s domain. For example, if we send an email on to hello@gmail.com, the mail server will first look for the MX records for the gmail.com domain. On finding the records, the server will then look for the username (hello as given above) if it exists or not.

Working on the same logic, an email can be verified from the system without sending a test mail to the recipient. Follow the steps below:

Let us assume we want to verify whether the email address billgates@gmail.com present or not.

Step 1: First you need to enable telnet in Windows. In case you have the PuTTY utility, skip this step and move on.

Step 2: Go to the command prompt and type the following command in it:

nslookup –type=mx gmail.com

This command will help you taking out and listing the MX records for a domain. Now, substitute the gmail.com with the domain of the email that your want to verify.

gmail.com MX preference=30, exchanger = alt3.gmail-smtp-in.l.google.com
gmail.com MX preference=20, exchanger = alt2.gmail-smtp-in.l.google.com
gmail.com MX preference=5,  exchanger = gmail-smtp-in.l.google.com
gmail.com MX preference=10, exchanger = alt1.gmail-smtp-in.l.google.com
gmail.com MX preference=40, exchanger = alt4.gmail-smtp-in.l.google.com

Step 3: It is not unusual to get multiple MX records for a single domain. Your can select any one of the givens servers, most likely the one with lowest preference level number (in our case, gmail-smtp-in.l.google.com). Now, simulate to send a test mail to the selected server from your system. For this open the command prompt and enter the following commands in the same sequence:

  • Connect to the mail server.
telnet gmail-smtp-in.l.google.com 25
  • Say hello to the other server.
  • Present yourself with some fake email address.
mail from:<support@techreaders.com>
  • Give the recipient’s email that you want to verify.
rcpt to:<billgates@gmail.com>

You will get to know about if the email address is exists or not through the server response for ‘rcpt to’ command. If the email exists, you will receive ‘OK’, otherwise a 550 error such as:

  • abc@gmail.com – The email account that you tried to reach doesn’t exist.
  • support@gmail.com – The email account that you tried to reach is disabled.

This is all how you can verify an email address.

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Filed in: Guides & Tutorials

One Response to "Verify an Email Address – Ping It!"

  1. Rahul says:

    Good article. But this assumes that the smtp server runs on port 25 whcih may not be always true. for example, if the mail server uses secure SMTP, the port no will be 465 and we can’t get connection with simple telnet as it is secured.

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