SPF records are a simple yet powerful tool to safeguard your email domain from the spam folder and to combat spammers.
But it can be confusing to learn how to set them up and make sure your domain is configured correctly.
What SPF records are and how to add them step by step for Google and Office 356 accounts?
An SPF record (Sender Policy Framework) is an email authentication system that mail servers use to make sure that emails that appear to come from your domain actually do come from you.
Basically, it’s designed to stop phishing attempts and scammers from sending fake messages that claim to be from legit domains.
Technically, you don’t have to set up an SPF record in order to send emails. But it adds a layer of security to your campaigns, which makes your domain more trustworthy to ISPs (internet service providers).
This makes it more likely that your emails stay out of spam.
That’s why it’s so important to set up an SPF record: to protect your domain from spoofing, and to keep your cold emails out of spam.
An SPF record simply identifies the mail servers that are allowed to send messages from your domain.
It’s a type of DNS TXT (Domain Name System ”text”) with a list of APIs, software, etc., that you’ve approved to send messages on your behalf.
It looks like this: v=spf1 include:_spf.google.com ~all
The syntax is divided into a version prefix and one or several mechanisms 👇
The version prefix simply explains that this TXT record is to be used for SPF checking, and the mechanism specifies what the SPF is checking for.
Here are the possible qualifiers that could exist in an SPF record:
Technically, you can create multiple SPF records, but it can generate an “SPF PermError,” which will harm your email deliverability.
So, before doing anything, always check if the SPF record has already been set up. If the answer is yes and you still want to add your primary domain, there's a way to merge the original record with the new one.
All you have to do is copy/paste your new SPF record in front of the old one and separate them with a single space.
For example, to add Outlook to the SPF example we included in the previous section, it would look like this:
v=spf1 include:_spf.google.com include:spf.protection.outlook.com ~all
If you’re using lemlist, it takes less than a minute to check if your SPF record is good to go.
(If you don’t have an account yet, you can sign up here, for free.)
First, go to your dashboard and find the Health tab, under Reports 👇
Next, open the DNS Checks tab and click on “Refresh checks.”
In a couple seconds, you’ll get a full overview of not only your SPF record, but also your MX record exchanges, DMARC record, Email tests, and your Spamassassin score.
Of course, if you see the green “All good” sign, then your SPF formatting is already set up and protecting you from scammers and the spam folder.
If it needs configuring, all you have to do is follow the steps below.
If Microsoft Office 365 is your email provider, here’s how to set up your SPF record for the relevant server.
We’ll start with a simple process you can follow for any domain provider, then add more specific details for popular domain providers like Namecheap, Cloudflare, and Bluehost.
No matter what domain hosting you use right now, there are only a few steps to follow to validate your Microsoft Office 365 SPF:
And save it!
If you're using Namecheap, here are more specific steps:
SPF configuration for Microsoft Office 365 and Cloudflare
To configure your SPF record for Microsoft Office in Cloudflare, here's what to do:
Finally, here are the steps to input your Office 365 SPF record in Bluehost:
Now, here’s how you can add your Google domain to the SPF record mechanism for your domain provider.
No matter what domain provider you use right now, follow the steps below to validate your SPF.
You can also check in the documents and tutorials of your domain provider itself to see if they already give instructions on how to configure your SPF.
Save it to publish it!
If you’re using Namecheap, here are the steps to add Google to your SPF record:
For Cloudflare users, here’s how to add Google to the SPF TXT record.
Finally, for Bluehost users, here’s how to add your Google domain:
Yes, if you want to prevent spammers from spoofing your domain and sending emails that look like they come from you.
An SPF record tells receiving email servers which IP addresses are authorized to send emails from your domain, and helps them reject or mark as spam any emails that fail this check.
An SPF record is a type of DNS TXT record that contains a list of IP addresses or domains that are allowed to send emails on behalf of your domain.
For example, if your domain is example.com, and you use Gmail to send emails, your SPF record might look something like this: v=spf1 include:_spf.google.com ~all.
This means that only emails sent from Google’s servers are valid for your domain, and any other emails should be treated with caution.
Yes, you can use DKIM without SPF, but it is not recommended. DKIM is another email authentication method that uses digital signatures to verify that an email has not been tampered with in transit.
However, DKIM does not prevent spoofing of the sender’s address, which is what SPF does.
Therefore, it is best to use both SPF and DKIM together to ensure the integrity and authenticity of your emails.
DKIM is not better than SPF, but rather complementary.
SPF verifies the sender’s identity based on the IP address of the sending server, while DKIM verifies the content of the email based on a cryptographic signature.
Both methods have their advantages and limitations, and using them together provides a stronger level of email authentication and security.
Yes, DMARC uses SPF, as well as DKIM, to validate emails.
DMARC is a policy that tells receiving email servers what to do with emails that fail SPF and DKIM checks.
For example, you can set your DMARC policy to reject, quarantine, or accept such emails, and also receive reports on how your emails are being processed by different email providers.
DMARC helps you monitor and improve your email deliverability and reputation.
SPF and DKIM records are DNS TXT records that store the information needed for SPF and DKIM validation.
SPF records list the authorized IP addresses or custom domains for sending emails from your domain, while DKIM records store the public keys that are used to verify the digital signatures of your emails.
You need to create and publish these records in your DNS settings to enable SPF and DKIM for your domain.
Yes, SPF is a DNS record, specifically a TXT record.
A TXT record is a type of DNS record that can store any text information related to your domain.
SPF uses TXT records to store the list of authorized senders for your domain.
You can create and manage your SPF TXT record using your DNS provider’s website or tools.
There are two major things: