What is a List Unsubscribe header?

For businesses looking to create successful email campaigns, it is essential to understand the importance of a List-Unsubscribe Header. An unsubscribe header can help ensure compliance with data protection regulations and ensure that recipients of emails don’t feel bombarded by unwanted messages. With this in mind, we have created this blog post to provide an overview of all you need to know about the List-Unsubscribe Header. By understanding the list-unsubscribe header, marketers can maximise their email campaigns’ effectiveness while respecting users’ privacy. 

What is a List-Unsubscribe header?

List Unsubscribe Header is an essential feature in email marketing that allows recipients to opt out of newsletters and automated emails easily. As per The Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003 (PECR), businesses should include this feature in all their emails to ensure compliance with consumer protection regulations. A List-Unsubscribe Header should consist of a link that takes the recipient to a page offering an unsubscribe or opt-out option from receiving future messages from the sender. Businesses need to include this feature as it provides customers with an easier way to manage and control the email communications they receive from a business and allows them to protect their privacy rights.

List-Unsubscribe, what is it?

List Unsubscribe is a feature of email marketing protocols that provides recipients of commercial emails with the option to unsubscribe. It’s essential for GDPR compliance and the practical implementation of email unsubscription rights. When opening an email from a business or organisation, this header in the source code allows recipients to opt out of future communication easily. Companies must ensure each email contains this header as it enables recipients to remove themselves from the list without needing to contact customer support – sending marketing emails without this header is illegal. Your business could face fines for non-compliance!

What is the purpose of a List-Unsubscribe header?

A List-Unsubscribe Header is an option that businesses can include in their email messages, allowing recipients to easily opt out of receiving further emails. This header acts as a form of proactive consent management, helping businesses comply with relevant data protection laws and regulations. The header is particularly useful for companies sending bulk emails as it saves them from dealing with many unsubscribe requests every time they send out an email campaign. As well as containing the actual ‘unsubscribe’ button, the header provides other related information like how long it will take for the recipient’s preferences to be applied and who is responsible for processing any complaints about data protection issues. In this way, List-Unsubscribe Headers are an important tool for businesses sending emails to stay compliant with current regulations.

How do they work?

To keep up with compliance regulations, businesses always need to allow their customers to opt out of their emails; this is where the List-Unsubscribe Header comes in. This header is essential for all businesses emailing customers because it gives them a choice of whether they want to receive emails. The header works by providing an option to the customer, typically at the top of the email, that enables them to opt out of any future correspondence from that specific business. It’s important to note that when a customer does opt-out, consistent and secure procedures must be put in place so that their decision is respected and enforced immediately. Doing so will help businesses maintain trust between customers and increase customer satisfaction both now and in the long run.

How are List-Unsubscribe headers enabled?

Enabling list-unsubscribe headers is a straightforward process for most email clients. Customers can turn on the required feature in their account – thus generating a list unsubscribe header – this option may be labelled “automatic list-unsubscribe” but will vary depending on your mail provider. Additionally, some mail clients allow you to enter the list-unsubscribe path into your code. This enables customers to view the link and choose to remove themselves from the mailing list – allowing them to take more control of their subscription life cycle. It also helps businesses comply with privacy regulations and makes unsubscribing as straightforward for users as possible.

Why you should use List-Unsubscribe headers

Some of the reasons you should use list unsubscribe headers include:

Sender reputation

A sender’s reputation is a critical factor that determines the success of their business email campaigns. Therefore, it’s essential to consistently monitor performance metrics such as open rates, click-through rates, and delivery rates to ensure a healthy reputation. Large corporations must also pay attention to their list-unsubscribe header or what data is displayed when someone clicks the ‘Unsubscribe’ link from an email. A good list-unsubscribe header should include the name of the company that’s sending out emails, contact information for customer support and a way to confirm that the request has been processed. Failure to provide this type of data can hurt the sender’s reputation, resulting in decreased engagement with potential customers and, ultimately, fewer sales for the business.

Maintaining your mail list

For businesses seeking to ensure they’re compliant with data regulations, there should be a visible ‘unsubscribe’ option in the footer of all emails. This is called the list-unsubscribe header, and its purpose is to allow customers to quickly and easily opt out of receiving any further emails from that company. In addition, customers should also be able to request their data not be shared with other third parties. The law dictates businesses must make it easy for customers to manage their contact preferences as part of consent-based marketing tactics or risk action being taken against them. By offering a dedicated list-unsubscribe header, this process is achieved with minimal effort required from both sender and recipient mail users.

Improves deliverability

List-unsubscribe headers are essential tools for addressing sender authenticity and increasing email deliverability. This header, inserted into the HTML code of an email, allows users to opt out with a simple click. Having this feature ensures that not only does your audience feel in control of their inbox, but it also helps to protect your sender’s reputation from spam filters that reduce the deliverability of emails. With the implementation of list-unsubscribe headers, businesses can avoid ending up with poor delivery rates as customers can unsubscribe straightforwardly. Take the time and effort to set up a good email infrastructure, including a list of unsubscribe headers, to maintain or even improve your deliverability rate.


Having a List-Unsubscribe header is a crucial step when it comes to staying compliant with laws like the GDPR. A List-Unsubscribe header informs email clients that recipients can opt out of emails from a particular sender. This process keeps your business in compliance with current laws and regulations and maintains respect for those who want to avoid receiving emails from you. Therefore, it’s essential to consider the necessary precautions for successful list management to avoid legal implications and maintain communication with customers. Additionally, these steps can positively impact customer satisfaction and ensure that only interested parties receive your emails.

At Instiller we provide email automation tools that are already trusted and utilised by countless major brands and smaller companies. If you are interested in learning more about our services, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Ready to try Instiller out?

Take a free & unlimited 14 day trial of Instiller and discover
how our solution could work for your agency.

Free trial

There's no commitment and we don't ask for payment details.