Deliverability

What are Sender Policy Framework (SPF) records?

A Sender Policy Framework (SPF) record is a type of Domain Name Service (DNS) record that identifies which mail servers are permitted to send email on behalf of a domain.

The purpose of Sender Policy Framework records is to prevent spammers from sending messages with forged ‘From addresses’ on sending domains.

Email providers use Sender Policy Framework records to ensure that messages claiming to be sent from a domain originated from an authorised mail server.

Sending domains that do not have SPF records run the risk of mail servers rejecting messages on the basis that the originating source cannot be validated as authorised or trusted.

Implementing SPF

We recommend that any domain used for sending email has valid SPF records set-up not least of all because it’s easy to do and costs nothing other than time.

You’ll need a good understanding of TXT records are and you’ll need login details for your domain name providers DNS management console.

To create the SPF record you’ll also need to know what IP range or ranges your email campaigns are sent using.
An example record
SPF records will vary as each is a customised definition of where email can be sent from and under what conditions.

There’s basically three component parts to the required DNS entry. The last part is the SPF information which must be defined using valid SPF record syntax.

mailer TXT "v=spf1 ip4:204.11.52.128/25 -all"

  1. Host name the record relates to e.g. mailer.yourdomain.com.
  2. Type of DNS record. Always TXT for SPF records.
  3. SPF record defining IP addresses, mechanisms and modifiers

TXT records

Configuring SPF requires TXT records be entered into the control panel where the domain name is registered e.g. 123-reg.co.uk.

The way to enter the information varies in each domain name control panel but pretty much all of them will allow you to create the required TXT records these days.

Domain providers such as 123-reg, FasthostsGoDaddy all have published guides on how to create SPF records but entering them should be fairly straightforward regardless of where the domain was registered.

If you are having difficulty setting up SPF records contact the domain provider for support.

Test your records

Port25.com has a really useful testing tool that provides a report on whether an SPF record is set-up correctly. Send an e-mail to check-auth@verifier.port25.com and you will receive a reply containing the results of a complete SPF check.

Using SuperTool on mxtoolbox.com you can check all kinds of DNS entries including SPF. To run an SPF check for a domain enter spf: followed by the domain name into the search box the click the button e.g. spf:mailer.mydomain.com

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