Email Bounce: Retry Timeout Exceeded

Occasionally, you may send an email message that returns a bounce-back message with an error such as the following:

  This message was created automatically by mail delivery software.  A message that you sent could not be delivered to one or more of its recipients. This is a permanent error. The following address(es) failed:  [email protected] retry timeout exceeded

The following article explains some details on why this error occurs and some actions that the technical support team may need to take in order to resolve the problem.

Understanding the Email error: Retry timeout exceeded

This particular error message occurs when problems occur with either the server sending the email or with the receiving server that is the destination of the message. After a certain amount of failed attempts to deliver an email, the server sending the message will add the message ID to a database. The messages in this database are not included in the next cycle of attempts to transmit email messages. After a period of time, the messages in that database are then re-submitted for the next round of transmission attempts. This process continues until it reaches a failure point where the server will no longer attempt to send the message. After the attempts to deliver the message have been exhausted, you would then see the bounce-back message: Retry timeout exceeded.

Why does this error occur?

There are a wide variety of reasons that this error can occur. The issue will need to be reviewed by technical support to review the mail logs. This will help to identify the specific cause of the error. Here are a few of the common causes:

  • The mail box is full
  • SMTP port for sending messages is blocked
  • Spam filter issues
  • Network routing issues

Again, those are just a few of the possibilities. The issue requires that a technical support representative review the email logs in order to pinpoint the exact source of the problem.

What options do the Technical Support team have to resolve the issue?

If the problem is a typical email server error, then the support team can take standard measures to resolve the problem. For example, if the mail box is full or a port is blocked, then they can normally fix the issue fairly quickly. If there is something other than a typical error message causing the issue, the technical support team will need to escalate the issue to our systems team to try the following:

  • Force another attempt to transmit a specific message ID
  • Clear the retry database so that a repeatedly failing message can be resubmitted normally for re-transmission
  • Investigate the issue in more detail in order to determine the cause

These options require that our live technical support team to be contacted. Since this issue may require some time for investigation, you should send the issue through a ticket submitted through AMP.  The issue would then be escalated to our Systems team for investigation and resolution.

If you are looking for other information in troubleshooting emails, check out our Email Troubleshooting articles for further assistance.

Arnel Custodio Content Writer I

As a writer for InMotion Hosting, Arnel has always aimed to share helpful information and provide knowledge that will help solve problems and aid in achieving goals. He's also been active with WordPress local community groups and events since 2004.

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9 thoughts on “Email Bounce: Retry Timeout Exceeded

  1. I faced the same issue.mail sent successfully based PHP script. but not received.kindly anyone gives the correct solution

    1. Hello.

      I’m sorry to see that you are experiencing issues receiving emails sent from a PHP script. In order to determine the cause of the issue, I recommend you review your PHP error log, the bounce back message, and Exim logs. These details are needed to diagnose the issue you are experiencing. We are unable to provide a resolution/fix for your particular circumstances, however, if you are a customer of InMotion Hosting, I recommend you contact Technical Support for further assistance with this diagnosis.

      Best Regards,
      Carlos D

  2. one of our client from usa is sending to gmail id we receive.


    but when they send to company id we don’t receive. in fact the message is bounced to them with we knowing. we havent block it anytime. still it happenes. pl sugest

    1. 1. Verify the email address and/or forwarder is created for that email

      2. Check ‘cur’ and ‘new’ folders are present in email folder via cPanel and FTP. For this, path will we home > username > mail > domain name > email address. If ‘cur’ and ‘new’ folder are not there, then create it.

      3. Verify domain is working and MX records are pointing to correct server address.

  3. Hi guys


    I am having issues with receivers of my Imac emails saying –


    [email protected]
    retry timeout exceeded

    I have emptied emails and reset mail/accounts/advanced & removed now to immediately delete all emails outside of email account but still not receiving new emails.

    Any advice greatly appreciated guys!

    Chris Burke
    1. First, double-check to ensure that you have the correct server settings. If you have checked to ensure everything is correct, your settings within Mac Mail may have become corrupted and you may need to remove and re-add the account.

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