Knowledgebase

8. Sending Domain DKIM & SPF Records

hat are DKIM records? What are they for?

DKIM stands for “Domain Keys Identified Mail”. They allow receiving servers to confirm that mail coming from a domain is authorized by the domain’s administrators.

What are SPF Records? What are they for?

SPF stands for “Sender Policy Framework”.  An SPF record is in place to identify which mail servers are authorized to send mail for a given domain. It is used to prevent spammers from sending mail with fraudulent From addresses at that domain.

With Sending Domains you can verify the authenticity of the domain used in the campaigns FROM email field.

Verification is very simple, it involves adding just two DNS TXT records in your Web Hosting Control Panel for the domain used in the FROM field of a campaign.

Once a Sending Domain is verified, all future campaigns sent from the verified domain will be DKIM signed and will pass SPF validation, thus giving a higher inbox delivery rate.

One has to set up the necessary DKIM and SPF Record as above if you are using your own Domain.

The requirement applies to your own Domains – not the likes of Yahoo, Hotmail etc. and the other Free Email Address Domains – they have been pre-verified. It is a simple automated process as below.

NOTE: Using Gmail as a Sending Domain is not good a policy as the Blacklists and others add a negative score of 5 to the online reputation of anyone doing so for email marketing mailouts.

SPF1

SPF2

The system goes online and checks your existing DNS records automatically and generates the required DKIM TXT and SPF Record TXT as below, ready for copying and pasting to a control panel such as cPanel or Plesk, or forwarding to your Hosting Company depending on what type of Hosting Account you have.

SPF3When copying and pasting the TXT copy it as highlighted above including the opening and closing quotes, for both DKIM and SPF.

In cPanel go to “Advanced Zone Editor” and to setup the SPF Record add –
Type = TXT
Name (“Host Record” in some versions) = The name in the SendReach “Verify This Domain” page as in the screen shot above – which in the illustration above is wickedrewards.com. (yours will of course be different as is the screen shot below and MUST include the final full stop)
TTL = 14400
TXT Data = All the SPF TXT as highlighted in the screen shot above INCLUDING the Opening and Closing Double Quotes

Click “Add Record”

cPanel2

Now repeat the excercise this time to add the DKIM as below. Of course in this case the TXT Data is the DKIM TXT taken from your SendReach “Verify This Domain” page, including the opening and closing double quotes..

The Name is the one in the SendReach “Verfiy This Domain” page, this time however at the beginning of the DKIM Field and this one does NOT end with a full stop. That “Name” may be just   mailer._domainkey   or it may have the domain name itself added as in mailer._domainkey.whittinghamj.com  –  just copy whatever it shows in the top left hand corner preceding   TXT    in the SendReach “Verify This Domain” page DNS Records / DKIM window.

NOTE: Some “Shared Hosting Accounts” do not support DKIM and you will find there is nowhere to set that up in Control Panels such as eXtend. In such a case complete the SPF entry as above then click “Verify DNS Records” as above. The DNS verification systems recognise that DKIM is not supported if it is not and verify based on just the SPF Record being correctly set up.

cPanel1

Finally, go back to your SendReach “Verify This Domain” page and click on “Verify DNS Records” and the system will go online and check that you have updated them correctly as above, and automatically change the “Status” as below.

SPF4We cannot possibly illustrate the dozens of similar Control Panels – but the concept is similar in all of them – maybe some different terminology but the concept is the same and achieves the same end result. Ask the question in the right way on Google however and you will get illustrated guidance on most if not all alternatives.

 

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