The Spamhaus Project


Good-bye, Blocklist Removal Center. Hello, IP and Domain Reputation Checker.

by The Spamhaus TeamMarch 04, 20214 minutes reading time

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We’ve been making changes to the Blocklist Removal Center (BRC). “Thank you,” we hear some of you say. For those not familiar with the BRC, it’s the online tool used to check if an IP or domain is listed on any of our DNS Blocklists (DNSBLs).

When it was first released over a decade ago, it did its job; however, in 2021, we wanted to build a tool fit for today's audience that can be developed to deliver further insights. Here’s the first iteration on that journey – The IP and Domain Reputation Checker,

The vision

This was, in part, driven by feedback from our users. The Checker has a broad audience from highly technical engineers to your Grandma, whose IP address has been listed due to a third-party proxy silently spewing out spam from her smartphone.

The process needed simplifying and making approachable. Additionally, there was a requirement to step users through the removal process, provide the right information at the right time, and make what is potentially a stressful situation easier, with less friction.

What’s changed?

Here’s an outline of the main changes to the IP and Domain Reputation Checker:

  1. It’s mobile-friendly. You can easily search our data from a smartphone, tablet or desktop without any usability issues.
  2. One search field. IPv4 addresses, IPv6 addresses, domain names, email-addresses, and hash strings can all be searched from the same search field.
  3. Auto IP recognition. As mentioned, many users of the Checker are technical novices, so for ease of use, the user’s client IP address is automatically detected. If this IP address is listed on our reputation blocklists, the Checker will immediately advise them. For frequent users of the Checker, one can easily disable this feature.
  4. Helpful tooltips. Another aid for our technical novices is the inclusion of tooltips, providing additional information without affecting the user experience for those who know what they're doing.
  5. Listings in order of relevance. Some IP addresses may appear in several different blocklists. We now list these in the required removal order, as detailed below:
    1. Spamhaus Blocklist (SBL)
      • As always, if your IP address is on the SBL, you need to contact your Internet Service Provider’s (ISP)abuse team to request them to contact Spamhaus for removal.
      • You will not be able to remove your IP from any additional blocklists until your ISP has removed your IP from the SBL.
    2. Exploits Blocklist (XBL) and/or CSS Blocklist - in the new tool, if you are listed on both of these blocklists, one removal request simultaneously covers the XBL and CSS.
    3. Policy Blocklist - the Checker explains that inclusion on the PBL is normal, and delisting from this blocklist should only be requested if you run a mail server from the entered IP address.
  6. Clear listing and removal information. We are providing increased information as to why users are listed and what actions they need to take before they request removal from a blocklist, to prevent them from being re-listed. Regular users of the current tool may have noticed that we started to supply this information last year for CSS listings, and more recently, for XBL listings.
  7. Ticketing Center - Where we can't process a removal immediately, we will automatically raise a ticket with our delisting team. Our new Ticketing Center now manages all communications relating to tickets to make following a case more manageable.
  8. Re-design - We’ve updated the look and feel to meet the user experience expected in 2021.

What’s next?

The clue is the new name, IP and Domain Reputation Checker. As we release further iterations of this online tool, we hope to provide more intelligence relating to an IP or Domain’s reputation.

In the meantime, we hope you find this new tool easier to use. Of course, we can’t guarantee this is perfect, but in the words of Confucius, “Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without.”