Skip to main content
My preferencesSign out
Proofpoint, Inc.

Inbound and Outbound Email Limits

Situation You need to send a large amount of outbound mail, or are receiving a large amount of inbound mail, and want to know what our policies are regarding limits on outbound and inbound mail.
Solution See below for explanations on our limits and what those limits specifically are.


Why outbound limits?

Sending spam through Proofpoint Essentials is strictly prohibited.

Proofpoint Essentials does not condone the use of our platform to send bulk mail.  Most users respect our fair usage policy and use dedicated email marketing systems to send out bulk mail campaigns.  Unfortunately, there will always be a small number of users who, often unwittingly (via a compromised account), abuse the system and may end up affecting the quality of service we can provide for everyone. 

If a user has had their account compromised (downloaded a spambot from the internet or been infected by malware/virus) and is sending out huge quantities of email, that user could inadvertently be putting the entire platform at risk of being throttled or blacklisted by outside entities.  By placing per-user limitations on Outbound usage, Proofpoint Essentials protects the system as a whole, as well as the reputation of the user and customer.

Why inbound limits?

Proofpoint Essentials introduced inbound limits to improve platform resiliency. To exceed stability and performance expectations, we expanded protection from inbound mail bursts by introducing throttling. If a user is the subject of a large quantity of email being targeted at their address (e.g. mailbomb at user level or directory harvest attack at domain level), we will process this over a longer period. As a result, we reduce the immediate impact to our customer's local mail environment and ensure our platform can continue to exceed stability and resiliency goals.

Detailed Limits

For more detailed limits on our inbound and outbound controls, please see: Acceptable use policies for email

Outbound limits to control bulk mail abuse

In order to prevent the sending of spam and bulk mail through our system we have the following limitation in place:

  • Standard Users:  permitted to send out 500 emails over a 10 minute period or 2500 emails over a 24 hour period (All users are created by default as 'Standard Users').  If you have a business need to increase an account's limits, please see see this bulk KB article.
  • Bulk Sending Users: able to send out 2,000 in a 10 minute period, or 10,000 per day over a 24 hour period

The 24 hour time periods are reset at Midnight UTC (this applies to the 2000 and 10000 limits only).

What happens if a user reaches the outbound limit?

If a user hits the outbound sending limit within 10 minutes they will automatically be prevented from sending out any more email until their moving average of the past 10 minutes drops below the limit. When a user reaches the 10 minute limit, any messages sent beyond the limit will be bounced back to the sender.

The bulk message error is automatically generated by the system and does not give a false alarm. The message count also includes bounce backs that a sender may receive but are not in the logs.

Will these outbound consequences affect the entire organization?

No. Proofpoint Essentials will not punish other users within an organization because of the abusive usage or misfortune of one user.  Only the outbound abilities of the user responsible for sending the bulk mail will be affected.

Inbound limits

For registered accounts, it is 200 messages in 60 seconds.

For unregistered accounts in a domain there is a 500 message limit in 60 seconds (at the domain level).