SMTP quota overview

DreamHost limits the amount of outgoing mail from its servers in an effort to fight Unsolicited Bulk Email (UBE) also known as SPAM. This helps to prevent DreamHost servers from being black/gray listed and added to blocklists, which in turns prevents email from being delivered on time. In return, your email service is more reliable and stable.

When you exceed this outgoing quota limit, you will get a rejection notice that says the email failed to send due to "Policy Rejection- Quota Exceeded." This means that you have exceeded or attempted to exceed your mail sending limit for that particular account.

This article details the SMTP quota limits (depending on how you're sending email) along with examples of what may cause those limits to be hit.

Viruses, spyware, and adware

Viruses, spyware, and adware can infect your computer and send email to everyone in your clients address book. Or, they may just use your email account to send out its spam messages.

The sending limits help to curtail the amount of damage done by these breaches. If you know that you have not exceeded your sending limits and receive the error "Policy Rejection- Quota Exceeded", contact DreamHost support. When contacting support, make sure to add the email address/username that is being blocked. Support can then review the mail logs to determine what has happened.

It’s possible that email has been sent through your account without your knowledge. If that happens, you must run virus, spyware, and adware scans to clean up your computer.

Announcement Lists

If you need to routinely send email to a large number of recipients, DreamHost strongly recommends you use an Announcement List. You can set this up in your panel on the (Panel > ‘Mail’ > ‘Announce Lists’) page.

The Announcement List service makes it easy to deal with large groups of subscribers as you do not have to worry about sending limits or hitting quotas. The Announcement List service manages the opt-in confirmations for you as well which complies with Anti-Spam policies. For further information about this service, please visit the following article:

Log output

If DreamHost support sends you the output from your logs for your verification, here's how to interpret them.


-------1------- ------2--------- ---------3--------- ---------4------------- -----------5------------- 
Jan  2 07:40:47 throttle=new(a), host=,,, 

------6-------- ------7------- ---------8--------- ----------------9--------------
count=1/100(1), rcpt=1/100(1), threshold=0%|0%|0%,

The fields are as follows:

  1. Date and time
  2. Throttle status code (see details below)
  3. Host IP address of mail client (Webmail shows up as
  4. "From" address
  5. "To" address (can also be from CC or BCC field)
  6. Message count – number of messages during this period / period limit (messages can have multiple recipients)
  7. Recipient count – total during this period / period limit
  8. Threshold info (percentages) – the 3rd one is the only relevant one
  9. "sasl_username" – account used for SMTP authentication (Webmail does not show this field)
Ignore numbers or letters in parenthesis in the log output.
Throttle status codes and meanings
new = Initial throttle start (first message sent beginning a new period).
clear = Throttle restarted (first message sent beginning a new period).
update = Update to throttle (current period in process).
abuse = Throttle exceeded. Account blocked until throttle period expires. No messages sent.

See also