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Understanding SPF

SPF stands for Sender policy framework, SPF is used to prevent your domain from spoofing and outgoing message from being marked as spam. SPF provides access to email servers that have permission to send email for your domain.

At receiving side mail server use SPF to ensure that incoming message delivered from your domain were send by a authorized server. Any organization don't use SPF and send bulk message from their domain name, it will be considered or marked as a spam on the mail server of reciever end. SPF facilitates a tons of security to your domain and make sure the outgoing message is delivered from your domain. With SPF, setup DMARC and DKIM and prevent your domain from phishing, spoofing and spamming.

Why SPF is Important?

SPF provides a robust email protection and ensures that the email is delivered from the expected domain. We can say that SPF does not work correctly, when it is integrated with DKIM and DMARC, it gives a new definition to email security. The SPF record is treated as a public list where everyone is aware from where you send your email. If you send an email and it doesn't match any of the records in the entire list, the receiving party marks the email as spam.

Let's take a look at how SPF proves to be important for email

Improve Deliverability Rate

SPF plays an important role of security for email domain, no attacker will be able to attack your domain for the purpose of sending spam email. When you prevent your domain from global blacklisting, it will automatically increase your email delivery.

Domain reputation will improve seamlessly

Have a SPF authentication, your domain gets high reputation and towards another server or blacklisted server shows that we are very dedicated for email security. this greatly decreased the chances of outgoing emails being marked as spam and helps to get better positioning inside cyber security and firewall.

Fight against spoofing

In SPF record, verify a IP address of sender compared with the domain order and this will help prevent phishing and spoofing.

How does it work?

SPF email policies, first deploy SPF records in the DNS. The record is a list contains all IP address that are permit to send a email on a behalf of domain. In SPF mechanism , it takes a domain in the return-path address to recognize SPF record.

When a sender tries to hand over email to the server "receiving" email for delivery, the server checks to see if the sender is on the domain's list of allowed senders. If so, a link has been established between the email fragment and the email domain. If not, the server continues to process the email as usual without this link, as several things could be going on.

SPF split into a two section- mechanism and qualifiers
Mechanism:Mechanism is kept to decide that who allowed to send email on a behalf of a domain. If condition would be match, one of four qualifier can be adapted.
Qualifier: The qualifier works as a result following when the mechanism is matched. If no qualifier is getting listed, the result defaults to +, see in below image

How does an SPF record look like

v=spf1 a ip4: include:marketingemailserver.com ~all

You see in the above example, the SPF mechanism allows both IP addresses and domain names to be sent email. Meanwhile, if the email comes from another domain name it is marked as SPF softail.

  • v1=spf1:Indicates which version of SPF is being used
  • a:If domain has a A or AAAA record and which matches with IP address, it would be considered a match
  • ipv4:Indicates that to sending email following IPv4 is authorized.
  • Specifies the server that is allowed to send. /28 Allows the entire network subnet to send mail instead of a single IP address. This is useful for organizations with multiple mail servers or dedicated subnets for servers. It is also a great way to shorten long SPF records.
  • Include:kindly note, another server have a permission to send emails on behalf of domain.
  • ~all:Tag anything not marked as SPF softfail and give permission to send bulk email.

How do I know if I have an SPF email record?

If you have an access to the DNS server used by your mail server. you may see TXT records beginning with "v=spf". I disclose a another way to check any of domain using mxtoolbox tool.

How can I create an SPF record?

Even if you don't have an SPF record before, but you have to follow some step at the time of creating SPF record. For make changes, you should know some essential information like hostname or IP address of your mail server, a list of IP address to whom you allow to send a email, location and login detail of DNS server.

  • Fill in the login details and log in to the DNS server. May be it login through webportal when you bought a DNS server by a third party
  • Generate new TXT record, In the beginning, some DNS servers show the option to add SPF type records, if it is not there then you should always use TXT records.
  • Input your SPF email rule in the Marked Text or Values section. Make sure that this version syntax begins with and ends with the "all" qualifier.
  • Note that after your SPF record is published, it can take up to 48 hours for it to take effect.

Does Migomail support it?

Yes. Migomail implements and adheres to email authentication standards including SPF. In fact, all email we deliver for our users is required to be authenticated. Configuring it is an important step for verifying sending domains when you set up a new Migomail account.

How can I verify my settings?

Migomail's Validator is part of our free email tools for developers. It’s the easiest way to verify your messages have working DKIM signatures.

Learn More about SPF

Read more about DKIM best practices

Learn more about SPF with these resources from Migomail’s email experts and elsewhere on the web.

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