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How Blocklists Work
The ZEN Blocklist
|The Policy Block List
The Spamhaus PBL is a DNSBL database of end-user IP address ranges which should not be delivering unauthenticated SMTP email to any Internet mail server except those provided for specifically by an ISP for that customer's use. The PBL helps networks enforce their Acceptable Use Policy for dynamic and non-MTA customer IP ranges.
PBL IP address ranges are added and maintained by each network participating in the PBL project, working in conjunction with the Spamhaus PBL team, to help apply their outbound email policies.
Additional IP address ranges are added and maintained by the Spamhaus PBL Team, particularly for networks which are not participating themselves (either because the ISP/block owner does not know about, is proving difficult to contact, or because of language difficulties), and where spam received from those ranges, rDNS and server patterns are consistent with end-user IP space which typically contain high concentrations of "botnet zombies", a major source of spam. Once aware of them, the ISP/block owner can take over such records at any time to manage them further.
The PBL lists both dynamic and static IPs, any IP which by policy (whether the block owner's or -interim in its absence- Spamhaus' policy) should not be sending email directly to the MX servers of third parties.
IP Address Self-Service Removal Mechanism
A feature of the PBL is the elimination of 'false positives' with a server-identifying and automatic removal mechanism for single IP addresses. This allows end users with static IP addresses within a larger dynamic pool, and legitimate mail server operators, to assert that in their opinion their IP addresses are a trustworthy source of email and to automatically remove (suppress) their IP addresses from the PBL database. Safeguards are built in to prevent abuse of this facility by spammers (and particularly by automated bots).
How to use the PBL
The PBL can be queried directly as pbl.spamhaus.org and is also integrated into zen.spamhaus.org (do not query both, use either one or the other). We recommend you use zen.spamhaus.org which combines all of the Spamhaus zones, see: ZEN.
Before including this blocklist as part of your mail server's spam filters please see Spamhaus's DNSBL Usage Terms to check if you qualify for free use.
Caution: Because the PBL lists normal customer IP space, do not use PBL on smarthosts or SMTP AUTH outbound servers for your own customers (or you risk blocking your own customers if their dynamic IPs are in the PBL). Do not use PBL in filters that do any ‘deep parsing’ of Received headers, or for other than checking IP addresses that hand off to your mailservers.