Emails not getting through? Add an SPF record!

I just migrated my company’s email over to Google Applications. So far, we really love the freedom it’s providing us. Prior to being on Google, we used to have to put requests in for any changes, list additions, etc. Now we can handle it all through Google’s simple interface.

One setback we did notice, though, was that some email from our system isn’t actually making it to us. I did some reading up on Google’s advice for Bulk Email Senders and quickly got to work. We have email coming out of 2 applications that we host, another application that someone else hosts in addition to an Email Service Provider.

My only thought is that Google is randomly blocking some of the email because it can’t validate the sender through an SPF record. In a nutshell, SPF is a method where you register all your domains, IP addresses, etc. that you’re sending email out of within a domain record. This allows any ISP to lookup your record and validate that the email is coming from an appropriate source.

It’s a great idea – and I’m not sure why it’s not a mainstream method of both bulk emailers and spam blocking systems. You would think that every domain registrar would make it a point to build a wizard right into it for anyone to list out the sources of email they’d be sending. Everyone should be using and verifying with SPF! Here’s an in-depth article about SPF and the advantages, one of them being the ability to protect your domain from being blacklisted by spammers pretending to be you.

TIP: You can verify your SPF record at 250ok.

To write your SPF record, you need only go so far as the SPF Wizard, an online tool to help you to write the record for you. Then you simply copy and paste it into your Domain Registration. We’re updating our records as I write this post!

Next on my list is researching Domain Keys. We took a big step forward when we were whitelisted with AOL last year. I have a feeling the war will never cease! Too bad it’s actually reputable companies that have to jump through all the SPAM hoops still!

2 Comments

  1. 1

    The problem with SPF and Sender ID is essentially that it breaks email forwarding. DomainKeys (and the standard that is now called DKIM) are the wave of the future, as far as most people are concerned; however, it is more difficult to deploy and validate.

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