How to enable DKIM and SPF?
If you have any doubts about DKIM and SPF, you’ve reached the perfect post for you. In the next lines we’ll tell you step by step how to enable these systems to make sure you can lower the chance of sending your Emails to the Spam folder.
- Why is it important to have your own domain to send Email Marketing Campaigns?
- What is DKIM and how does it work?
- What is SPF and how does it work?
- Why do you need to configure DKIM and SPF to ensure your Campaign’s Deliverability?
- Step by step to configure DKIM and SPF in your Doppler account.
Before we start… Do you know why it’s so important to have your own domain to send Email Marketing Campaigns?
First of all, sending Emails from your own domain is beneficial for your brand image and builds trust towards the Subscribers that receive your communications. It also helps you to:
:: Reduce the chances of your Emails reaching the Spam folder, which may be frequent when you send Campaigns to large Lists from public domains such as Gmail, Hotmail, Outlook and others.
:: Improve the performance of your Campaigns after reaching your Contact’s Inbox. You’ll see this positive impact reflected on your Reports: lower Rebounds Rate, higher Open and Click To Rates, among other metrics.
:: Ensure the protection of personal data contained in your Campaigns, both your own and those from third parties.
In Doppler we encourage our Users to implement good practices to keep their Database optimized (content in SPA). Actually this has a huge impact on the effectiveness of their Campaigns, and at the same time it strengthens their reputation as Senders. These are some of the main reasons to have your own domain properly configured under DKIM and SPF standards.
IMPORTANT: When you have more than 10.000 Subscribers in your Doppler account, you must configure your own domain to send your Campaigns.
If you already have your own domain, then your next step is to configure DKIM and SPF in your Doppler account. It will certainly help you take your Deliverability to its highest level!
Let’s see what DKIM and SPF are and which are the steps to configure them in your Doppler account.
What is DKIM and how does it work?
It’s an Email authentication mechanism that allows the sender to take responsibility for sending an Email. It can either be the author of the message, the server that manages the Email or even a server that performs as an intermediary in the Email route.
DKIM uses the public key to sign legitimate Emails so that they can be verified by the people who receive them. Two examples of Email clients that implement this mechanism are Yahoo! and Gmail.
This is how DKIM works:
- DKIM includes a header with a digital signature in the message (it’s unique for each body and header)
- When an Email is sent, the destination server makes a query to the DNS of the Sender’s domain. If the DKIM is configured in the signature field, it gets the public key of the domain, and it will use it to uncode the value of the signature in the header and to recalculate the one of the signature for the message (as we said before, the header and the body)
- If those two values match, the authenticity of the message is confirmed. That’s great news!
What is SPF and how does it work?
SPF (Sender Policy Framework) is a protection system against the falsification of addresses when sending Emails. In other words, it avoids Senders from issuing Emails on behalf of others. This system identifies, through domain name records (DNS), the mail servers authorized to send messages.
The use of SPF improves the Sender’s reputation and reduces phishing: spammers posing as your identity.
This is how SPF works:
- The mail server that receives the Emails compares the domain of the Sender’s address with the List of IPs authorized to send messages from that domain.
- In order to be valid, the sending server must have a SPF record in its DNS, and the server that receives the Emails has to be able to verify it.
- If the SPF is unvalid, the receiver’s Anti Spam Filters will rate that message negatively, making it more difficult to reach the Inbox.
So far, we see that DKIM and SPF affect the Deliverability of your Campaigns. This leads us to the next question…
Why do you really need to configure DKIM and SPF?
The configuration of both systems not only improves your Email’s protection and security, but also helps you avoid bad practices in Email Marketing, such as Spam and phishing.
What happens if you don’t use them? The effectiveness of your Campaigns decreases in those mail servers that verify domain’s DNS records. By the way, we are talking about the most popular mail servers.
So if you want to reach your Subscribers’ Inbox with your Campaigns, configure the custom DKIM authentication for your domain and add Doppler in your SPF record.
It’s easy! We’ll show you step by step how to configure both. You may also learn more about the importance of DKIM and SPF in this theoretical pill of Doppler Academy (content in Spanish).
Step by step to configure DKIM and SPF in your Doppler account
You have to follow 4 simple steps to configure DKIM and SPF in your account. Make sure you complete all of them, otherwise it won’t be activated.
Step #1 – Add your domain
First of all, go to the Control Panel (on the top right of the navigation chart) inside your account.
If you scroll down, you’ll find the section Advanced Preferences. Click on DKIM & SPF.
In the DKIM & SPF Setup section, you have to add the domain or domains you want to use to send your Email Campaigns. Just click “Add domain”.
A Pop-up window will appear. There, you must write the domain you want to add. You may add a maximum of 10 domains in your account. Note that the first one you add will be used by default.
Step #2 – Configure your domain
Before going any further, please note that in order to authenticate your domain, you must take actions both in Doppler and in the DNS editor of your domain provider. You need to copy and paste information from our tool into your domain server Website. We suggest that you work this in two open tabs to be more comfortable.
Once you’ve added the domain, another window will appear with the following information:
Record name, Public Key and SPF Record.
What do you need to do with this information? Copy the Record name and the Public Key. Then go to the DNS configuration panel of your domain provider and paste them in the right place, according to that Website.
Regarding the SPF Record:
If you have one of your own, you must add include:spf.fromdoppler.com in the DNS configuration panel of your domain provider.
If you don’t have one of your own, you must copy the record that appears in that window.
Do you feel lost? Don’t worry! In the next lines we’ll show you how to insert this information in the platform of the most used domain providers.
How to edit DNS records in domain providers?
Domain providers use different names to their fields associated with a TXT record. For example, GoDaddy includes fields with the name TXT Name and TXT Value, while Name.com uses the same fields but calls them Record Host and Record Answer.
No matter which provider you use, you must insert the DNS Host name (TXT Name) in the first field and the Value (TXT Value) in the second one.
Here is a List with information about how to edit your DNS records in the main domain providers. If your service isn’t in this List, we recommend you search for Help Documents in your provider’s Website or get in touch with their Support Team.
- Amazon Web Services: DNS Configuration – Supported DNS record types
- Dreamhost: Basic DNS records
- GoDaddy: DNS Administration
- Google Domains: DNS basics
- Hostgator: Hosting DNS
- Hover: Managing DNS records
- Namecheap: SPF & DKIM
- Squarespace: Advanced DNS settings
- Stablehost: Web Hosting Information
How to generate a TXT for SPF?
Advice to set up SPF correctly
- It must be configured with a TXT Record instead of a SPF Record.
- When you make changes, be sure that the other Email (ESP) or Internet services (ISP) providers you use are included in your SPF Record.
- Do not create more than one TXT Record per SPF.
- Include your ESP or ISP values in your SPF Record.
- Some DNS providers may need the value to be between quotation marks. For example: “v=spf1 include:spf.fromdoppler.com ~all”
Step #3 – Verify your domain
After completing all this information in the DNS configuration panel of your domain provider, you must go back to Doppler and click the “Verify” button in the DKIM & SPF Set up panel. Then you will see the different status for your DKIM and SPF configurations:
- Pending. You still haven’t verified your domain. To do so, just click the button “Verify”. If you have completed all the other steps, the status will become “Verified”.
- Verified. You have completed every step. Well done!
- Verified with error. Something went wrong during your configuration. Check the process step by step both in Doppler and in your domain provider. If you need extra help, just contact us: [email protected].
- Not configured. You still need to go to the DNS panel of your domain provider and proceed with the configuration. Click the icon right next to the “Verify” button in the DKIM & SPF Set up panel and follow every step we talked about in this post.
Step #4 – Check everything works right
When you finish the DNS configuration process, you’ll get your request approval from us: the Doppler Team. Then, send a test Email to a Gmail or Outlook account.
Open the Email and click in “Show original”.
Tap Ctrl + F and search the word DKIM. You’ll see this information:
And that’s it! Note that you need to complete the 4 steps to validate correctly both DKIM and SPF. There’s no harm in overlooking all the process again to find some mistakes or uncompleted actions.