How to Fix Outlook Error 503 Valid RCPT Command Must Precede DATA?

The outlook error 503 valid RCPT commands must precede DATA is usually encountered while sending email simply implies that the message did not reach its intended destination or recipient.

As ugly as the error message sounds, you need not fret if you get the Outlook error 503 message as this may happen to any user due to several reasons.

If you are using the Outlook Express on your PC and receive this message while sending an email, this article is especially for you. We will extensively discuss the cause of Outlook error 503 and how to fix the error.

Major Causes of Outlook Error 503 valid RCPT command must precede DATA

Usually, when you get the Outlook error 503 message while trying to send emails, it may be as a result of any of these two major reasons listed as follows:

  1. You need to confirm the email first before sending an email (checking email first is one of the numbers of ways email providers can use to secure your email account). If you did not verify the email before sending, you may receive the Error 503 Outlook message.
  2. The most common reason for this message is wrongly or improperly setting up the email client for SMTP authentication.

These two are the causes of the Outlook error 503 valid RCPT commands must precede data. Let us now discuss how to fix this error.

How Do I Fix Outlook Error 503 valid RCPT command must precede DATA?

Usually, the Outlook error 503 problem arises as a result of some errors in the settings connected to the email server. The email cannot be sent because of a few trivial mistakes, as well. Here are some arranged solutions which have been tested to remove and fix the 503 error Outlook problems;

1. Remove Apostrophes

Most users who had the error 503 Outlook issue have found this very useful. While inputting the name of the recipient for the email make sure you remove apostrophes. Also, should the sender of the email inform you that he or she cannot seem to send an email, ask them to remove any apostrophes present.

Confirming if apostrophes are used can solve this unwanted problem. After removing the apostrophes, you can go ahead to confirm if you can send the email.

2. Switch off your VPN

VPN connections help make you anonymous online. If you are using any and you encounter the 503 Outlook error, make sure you turn off the VPN connection because a VPN connection can malfunction at any time as a result of some security measures. After turning your VPN off, try sending an email again or confirm if the error 503 message still appears.

3. Check your Mailbox

Is your mailbox full? If yes, you need to have it cleared out immediately. The 503 valid RCPT command must precede data error may also arise due to this seemingly minor issue.

Using Outlook to send an email, confirm that copies of emails are not saved on the server by;

confirm that copies of emails

  1. Clicking on the file option
  2. Clicking on the account settings option
  3. Clicking on the select menu setting option
  4. Unmark the checkbox next under the advanced option next to the leave a copy of this message on the server.

unmark the checkbox

After following these processes listed above, try to resend the email or refresh your mailbox after clearing out your mailbox to confirm if the error 503 outlook problem persists.

4. Confirm Before SMTP

Before attempting to send a new email to anyone, it is important you confirm if there is any new message in your mailbox. Using Outlook, press the F9 key from the keyboard to perform that same task.

After that, you need to reboot the email service. Remember to run the spam filter on the email application which may take up to 30 minutes to reach completion and allow it reset to be able to send emails like as previously. After this, you may attempt to send the email.

5. Configure SMTP Authentication

This happens to be the most helpful fix to completely obliterate 503 valid RCPT commands that must precede DATA. As a result of incorrect authentication of SMTP, a lot of users have had to deal with this problem. To authenticate the email service simply navigate to the ‘My server requires authentication’ option.

Also, you may decide to change the outgoing port from 25 to 26. This swift change can relieve you from the hassle instantly. Sadly, some Service Providers may not support port 25 for email services.

Should you, however, use the Outlook 2016 application, then here is an excellent solution to resolve issue 503 valid RCPT command must precede DATA. To configure your SMTP and resolve 503 issues, follow the steps as listed below;

configure smtp

  1. Click your particular email account as shown from the Account Settings window then click the account and choose the ‘Change’ option. Next, choose the More Settings option.
  2. Next, navigate to the tab labeled Outgoing Server.
  3. Ensure that you mark the checkbox which is seen next to the ‘My outgoing server (SMTP) requires authentication’. Then, choose the option labeled ‘Use the same settings as my incoming mail server’. After this, continue with the Advanced tab.
  4. Below the Advanced tab, you have to select the ‘Outgoing Server option’. Make sure you set its port as 465. Also, ensure you choose the SSL option from the ‘Use the following type of encryption’ menu. Then select the OK button.
  5. After this, continue with the Next option from the Internet Email Settings window. Clicking the finish option completes the process.

6. Try the professional Outlook repair tool

Various reasons can cause Outlook error 503 valid RCPT command error. But you can fix the problem using the best third-party tool like Wondershare Repairit for Email. It scans all the corrupted PST files, repairs, and restores all mailbox contents speedily.

Wondershare Repairit for Email

1,010,994 people have downloaded it.

  • Repair damaged PST & OST Files in Outlook in all Email corruption scenarios, such as hard disk crashes & bad sectors, virus attacks & tojan horse, outlook corruption & malfunctions, improper shutdown procedure, etc.

  • Restore Outlook emails deleted for a long time and extract the email messages, folders, calendars, etc. within seconds.

  • Fix outlook error 0x8004010f in MS Outlook 2016, 2013, 2010, 2007, 2003, 2002 (XP), & 2000.

  • Restore Outlook Emails deleted for a long time with a very high success rate.

  • Repair emails in bathes without size limits and support to preview all of them before saving.

  • Compatible with Windows 7/8/8.1/10/11, Windows Server 2012/2016/2019, and MacOS X 10.11~ MacOS 12 (Monterey).

The repaired email attachments are saved as new PST files. You can then import them in Microsoft Outlook.

Here are the detailed steps to repair pst with this software:

Step 1: Add .pst File.

Download and launch Repairit for Email and click the "+Select File" button in the home tab. A pop-up window will appear. It asks you to Browse or Find the PST file for data recovery.

add corrupted pst file

Step 2: Repair the pst File.

Now hit the Browse button if you know the location. If you do not know, click Find to search the PST.

Then, click "Repair" to start the PST repairing process for Microsoft Outlook mailbox recovery. The scan and repair time depends upon the PST size and extent of corruption data.

find corrupted pst file

start repair pst file

Step 3: Preview and Save.

Preview the restored Microsoft Outlook mailbox items. If you're satisfied with the repair results, then choose 'Save' in the Home tab to save the fixed mailbox data.

save the pst data


Trying to reach friends, loved ones, or business associates via email and not being able to do so can be frustrating. Carefully apply the tips and suggestions as rendered in this article, take note of trivial things that may have caused the 503 issues to prevent it from occurring subsequently thereby fixing the Outlook Error 503 valid RCPT command must precede DATA.