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Setting Up SPF, DKIM, and DMARC to Boost Your Email Delivery Rate

Setting Up SPF, DKIM, and DMARC to Boost Your Email Delivery Rate

Email delivery can be a tricky business. It’s very hard for a sender to guarantee that all emails get delivered properly to the intended recipient. As an email marketer, you know how important it is to ensure that your messages reach your subscribers. To help you maximize your deliverability, it is important to become familiar with a set of protocols called SPF, DKIM, and DMARC. By configuring SPF, DKIM, and DMARC for your domain, you will be able to create a chain of trust with the major mail providers, which will boost your email deliverability rate.

What is SPF, DKIM and DMARC?

SPF, DKIM and DMARC are important tools for email authentication and validation in order to prevent unwanted and malicious emails from being delivered to your inbox. These tools enable internet service providers and the receiving email server to determine the authenticity and source of the emails sent. SPF (Sender Policy Framework) is an authentication protocol which allows the sender to specify which servers are allowed to send their domain’s email messages. All the mail servers configured to send the messages will be verified during the transmission between the originating and destination server. If any of the incoming mail servers fail the authentication test, then most of the mail servers will reject the message. DKIM (Domain Keys Identified Mail) is an email authentication system used to validate and identify the sender of an email message. It is an authentication standard for emails that ensures the integrity and authenticity of emails by providing an encrypted signature. DKIM helps internet service providers and email clients by verifying the sender and the content of an email message and blocks malicious or unwanted emails from being delivered. DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance) is an email authentication system designed to protect domains from phishing and spoofing attacks. It is a combination of the SPF and DKIM protocols and combines them with an actionable policy to ensure the emails from that domain are trusted and authenticated. DMARC also enables the domain to receive reports from ISPs and mail servers on failures to authenticate messages sent from their domain. Together, these three authentication protocols are important tools for ensuring the security of emails and for keeping unwanted and malicious emails out of your inbox. They make sure the sender of an email is really who they say they are and also works to protect email domains from phishing attacks. SPF, DKIM and DMARC are essential tools for keeping your business’s emails secure.

Why Should You Set Up SPF, DKIM, and DMARC?

Ensuring a secure and reliable email experience is critical for any business. Unfortunately, the internet is filled with opportunists, cybercriminals, hackers, and spam artists who have made the lives of everyday people much less secure. However, there are steps you can take as a business to reduce the risk of email-based attacks. Setting up SPF, DKIM, and DMARC are three of the most effective measures you can take to protect your email communication. SPF (Sender Policy Framework) is an email authentication system that helps to verify the identity of the sender of an email and verify that the sending server is authorised to send the message. By setting up an SPF policy, you are telling the world that your email is legit and prevents malicious senders from using your domain name to conduct phishing and spam campaigns. DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail) is an anti-spoofing technology that basically authenticates your email. It uses a digital signature to verify sender and recipient while also protecting against email spoofing, which is when someone fabricates a sender address to send a malicious email. DKIM offers improved authentication through encryption, so only the valid sender will be able to write the message. DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance) is an email authentication system that is designed to protect domains from malicious actors. It uses both DKIM and SPF to validate messages and provides detailed feedback to the sender about any emails that didn't pass the authentication check. It also gives you the tools needed to define how and where to send email validation reports. In conclusion, setting up all three of these protocols can help to protect the legitimacy and security of your domain by verifying that all emails sent from that domain are authorised by you. This helps to prevent malicious actors from sending out malicious emails and reduces the risk that your IP address and domain name will be flagged as malicious by email providers.

How to Set Up SPF Records?

Setting up SPF (Sender Policy Framework) records for your domain is an important measure you can take towards preventing Domain Name Server (DNS) spoofing. With an SPF record, you can ensure that unauthorized users are not able to spoof emails from your domain. Creating an SPF record is fairly simple. There are a few basic steps that you should first take before creating the record. Step 1: Get the names of all of the mail servers that you need to include in your record. This might include the name of your own server as well as any other servers used to send emails from your domain. You should list their IP addresses so that you have a complete list of IP addresses to put in your record. Step 2:Next, you'll need to create the SPF record. It should start with the v=spf1 line, which tells the DNS server that this is an SPF record. After that, you'll need to enter the IP addresses (or host names) for all of the mail servers you identified in step 1. Make sure you separate them with commas and end the line with a semicolon. Step 3: If your domain sends emails using third-party services (such as an email marketing service) then you'll need to add their IP addresses (or host names) to your SPF record. Again, make sure you separate them with commas and end the line with a semicolon. Step 4: You can also add an “all” clause at the end of the record. This allows you to specify that any IP address not explicitly listed in the record should be allowed, or blocked. An example of this would be “+all”, which allows any IP address not listed in the record to send emails on behalf of your domain. Step 5: Once you have created the SPF record, you need to publish it in your domain’s DNS zone. You can do this by adding it to the zone file along with other records in your domain. Check with your registrar or hosting provider for information on how to do this. Following these steps should ensure that you have successfully configured an SPF record for your domain. Once you have done this, you can rest assured that you have taken an effective measure to reduce the chances of DNS spoofing on your domain.

How to Set Up DKIM Records?

DKIM records are an essential part of maintaining a secure email system. They act as a way to identify and authenticate email coming from a particular domain, which helps to make sure the email messages are coming from the correct source. Setting up DKIM records can be a bit of a technical task, but it's a process that must be done in order to make sure your email messages are properly authenticated. The first step in setting up a DKIM record is to create the key pair. This involves creating a private key and a public key with a special type of encryption. The private key will remain safely stored on the sender's server while the public key is published in the DNS system. It's important to note that the private key should never be shared or made available to the public for security purposes. Once the keys have been created, they must be added to both the email server as well as the DNS System. Depending on the server used, it may be necessary to generate a text record which contains the public key and the TXTrecord. This text record must be used by the DNS System to properly authenticate emails from the domain the DKIM record has been set up for. Next, the DKIM records need to be tested to ensure everything has been added properly. This can be done by using an online tool such as dmarcian or domain key checker. This will tell you if the DKIM record was set up correctly or if there are any mistakes. After the records have been tested and confirmed, the domain can then start sending authenticated emails. In order to keep the DKIM records properly authenticated, it's important to monitor them regularly. This can be easily done by using tools like dmarcian or visiting various websites such as or It's important to remember that when setting up DKIM records, they need to be kept up to date in order to ensure a secure email system. Setting up DKIM records can seem overwhelming at first, however, once the keys have been created and added to both the email server and the DNS System, the DKIM records will keep your email communications secure and easy to identify. By regularly checking the records, administrators can ensure that the records remain authenticated, providing an extra layer of security for the email system.

DKIM Records are an essential part of email delivery. They help ensure that emails sent from a domain are authenticated and valid. Setting up DKIM records correctly is important for protecting your domain against spoofing, spam, and phishing. Here's a guide on how to set up DKIM Records:

  • Verify Domain Ownership
  • Create DKIM Key Pair
  • Create DKIM TXT Records
  • Publish the DKIM Records
  • Test DKIM Records

How to Set Up DMARC Records?

Set up DMARC records can be confusing and intimidating, especially for a beginner. DMARC stands for Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance. It is a mechanism that helps email administrators protect their domain from spam and phishing attempts. To get started, you'll need to have an up-to-date DNS hosting provider, which will provide you with the information you need create your records. Once you have gathered the DNS information required, you can begin the process of creating the DMARC records. First, create a TXT record for the domain itself. This record will include a name field for your domain, e.g. '', and a text field which will contain the version of the DMARC protocol that you would like to use, as well as the policy you'd like to apply. Once you have created this record, you'll need to create a second TXT record for your domain's subdomains. This is necessary as the policy that you've created won't apply to any emails that are sent from subdomains. This record will include a name field for your domain’s subdomain (e.g. and, again, a text field which will describe your policy. Finally, you'll need to configure your DNS hosting provider to enable DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail) and SPF (Sender Policy Framework), and link them to the DMARC policy you have created. DKIM and SPF will provide a way of validating the authenticity of the emails that are sent from your domain. Finally, you'll need to enable reporting. To do this, you'll need create a dedicated email address, such as, and use that address as the 'rua' tag in the policy. That way, you'll be able to regularly receive reports about any emails that do not conform to the policy you have set. These are the basic steps to setting up DMARC records. It's a relatively easy process once you have the necessary information, and it should only take a few moments to complete. While it can be intimidating to set up, the results can be worthwhile as it will help you identify any spoofing of emails from your domain.

Wrapping it Up: Troubleshooting Your SPF, DKIM and DMARC Setup

Congratulations! You have completed your SPF, DKIM and DMARC setup and you are ready to send out emails. By now your server is authorized and configured to send out emails while following the industry standard protocols for authentication. However these protocols do have a finicky nature and so you should troubleshoot regularly. Doing this requires you to keep your eyes on the logs and to analyze incoming reports sent by receiving mail servers. It also requires frequent updates to the protocols as needed. First thing you should do is to analyze the reports you get from the receiving mail servers. Most of the times those reports are quite helpful and detail the issues found. Once you evaluate the report, determine the cause and fix the issue. Once that is done, the reports should show that your mail has been authenticated and isn't flagged for spam. Next, test your SPF and DKIM records. There are several types of websites available that will help you test your SPF/DKIM record. This helps give you a clear picture of what your legitimate sending sources are so you can make adjustments as needed. You should also be monitoring your logs to see if the number of emails being blocked has increased. If it has, it's likely due to SPF/DKIM issues, and so you should review your setup. On the other hand, if it's lower, you can be confident that the protocol setup is correct. Once everything is set up correctly and you have made all the necessary adjustments, don't forget to schedule regular maintenance tasks. Technologies continue to change and evolve and your server might need to stay up to date with them. Checking for new domains, adding new SPF/DKIM records or adjusting your DMARC record are important steps to take when necessary. Wrapping it up, by setting up the SPF, DKIM and DMARC protocols correctly, you make sure your server is secure and send non-spammy emails that get delivered. Troubleshooting is not a one-time job and changes in protocols may require adjustment in your configuration. Just make sure that you monitor the mail server to keep it running smooth and authenticate all incoming and outgoing mail.

What is SPF Record Syntax?

An SPF record is a form of Domain Name System (DNS) record that allows email administrators to define which internet protocol (IP) addresses or subdomains are authorized to send mail under their domain name. SPF stands for sender policy framework. An SPF record is designed to protect against email spoofing, which occurs when someone sends email under a domain name they are not authorized to use. SPF records help authenticate a domain and can be added to existing DNS records to help ensure the legitimacy of the domain and emails sent from it. SPF record syntax is based on the TXT record type, which is a free-form method of formatting text within a DNS record. In order to create an SPF record, email administrators need to be familiar with the syntax used in a TXT record. The syntax of an SPF record is specific and must be written correctly in order for the record to function properly. An SPF record is composed of several fields, each containing information about the domain and the allowed hosts for that domain. The overall structure of an SPF record includes a version tag, a list of accepted IP addresses or subdomains, an optional list of rejected ones, and the administrative end of the SPF record. The version tag is the first thing that must appear in the record, and it specifies which version of SPF the record is utilizing. The next section of the syntax will contain a list of accepted IP addresses or subdomains. This list is referred to as the mechanism and it contains all the authorized hosts to send mail from the domain in question. In addition to the accepted addresses, an SPF record may also contain a list of rejects. This section is an optional part of the record that specifies IP addresses or subdomains that should be rejected from sending emails from the domain. This serves to blacklist certain hosts from being able to send emails. This section is also optional, and if the list of rejects is omitted, all other IP addresses and subdomains will be accepted by default. Finally, the administrative end of the SPF record specifies how other mail servers should treat emails from the domain. This section will usually contain either an "all" or "-all" tag which is used to specify whether all mail from the domain should be accepted or rejected. SPF record syntax is a complex system that takes some time and practice to understand. However, by utilizing the syntax correctly, email administrators can prevent email spoofing and ensure that all email sent from their domain is legitimate.

A SPF (Sender Policy Framework) record is a DNS record that validates the sender's domain and prevents email address forgery. It identifies which mail servers are authorized to send emails from a particular domain or organization. It is important to understand the syntax of a valid SPF record so that you can manage and maintain your SPF policies for your organization. Here is an overview of the SPF record syntax:

  1. v=spf1 - This is the SPF version parameter
  2. mechanisms - These are the authentication mechanisms implemented by the sender for authorization
  3. qualifiers - These are used to determine how the record is going to be interpreted
  4. modifiers - These are used to adjust or refine the logic of a policy
  5. redirect - This allows you to reference another SPF record for authorization

What is DKIM Record Syntax?

DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail) is a security protocol used to validate the origin and contents of an email, as well as to prevent forgery or theft. In order to use this protocol, an email sender must implement a DKIM record in their domain’s DNS (Domain Name System) records. DKIM record syntax deals specifically with the syntax, or rules, for creating and managing DKIM records. A DKIM record is a type of DNS record that contains a public key that is used to identify the sender of an email. This key is included in the message's header to ensure email authenticity. The DKIM record consists of two parts: the "selector" portion and the "key" portion. The selector is a prefix added to the domain name of the sending company. The key is a unique string that acts as the public half of the public/private encryption key needed to authenticate the email. The syntax for the record must follow the specified standards placed by its governing body, in this case the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). Generally, the syntax for a DKIM record consists of the following: • Subdomain record: _domainkey • Selector for the key: 2009.myselector • Options: v=DKIM1; k=rsa; • Public key: [Public key goes here] Another important rule for DKIM records is that all text must be entered in lowercase. This is done to keep the syntax consistent and to make sure that the records are easily read by the servers. When configuring a DKIM record, it is essential to ensure that all of the syntax is correctly entered. All records should be validated after the setup is complete to make sure that it is valid and functioning properly. If the syntax is incorrect, the DKIM record may not be recognized and email sent via this record will not be authenticated properly. Overall, a DKIM record syntax is a vital part of email authentication. Strict adherence to the syntax and standards is necessary to ensure that the protocol functions properly. Following these rules and guidelines will help ensure that email sent from a business is successfully authenticated and reaches its intended recipients.

What is DMARC Record Syntax?

DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance), a security standard for email recipients, is a technique used to verify messages are sent from an authenticated sender. It is an authentication protocol that uses a “DMARC record” — a small text-based record — to validate incoming emails and verify whether the email is authentic or not. A DMARC record provides email service providers like Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc. with an extra layer of spam and phishing protection for their users, ensuring that emails coming from unauthorized domains are not delivered to their subscribers. The syntax of a DMARC record is as follows: 1. The version tag. All DMARC records must start with the “v” which is used to denote the protocol version. This should always be set to “DMARC1”. 2. The policy tag. This specifies how the policy should be applied, i.e. whether to quarantine, reject, or mark the email as suspicious. 3. The subdomain tag. This specifies whether to apply the policy to all subdomains of the domain, or just the top level domain. 4. The percentage tag. This specifies the percentage of emails that should be affected by the policy. 5. The report tag. This enables the generation of a report, which can be sent by the receiving server to the sender, with detailed analysis on which emails were affected by the policy. 6. The sp tag. This specifies which email providers can trigger the policy, e.g. Yahoo/Gmail/Hotmail. 7. The pct tag. This defines which percentage of emails from the “sp” tag should trigger the policy. The syntax of a DMARC record may look daunting at first, but is quite straightforward. To ensure that emails reaching your recipients are not malicious and from legitimate sources, set up your DMARC record correctly to help prevent spam, phishing attempts and other malicious activity.

Benefits of Setting Up SPF, DKIM and DMARC

Proper email authentication plays a key role in helping make sure your emails reach their required destination. An effective email authentication system is critical for reputable senders to protect their email deliverability. Setting up SPF, DKIM and DMARC are the three key components to an effective email authentication system. Each of these plays a different but complementary role. Together, they help boost email deliverability while helping to prevent phishing and spoofing. SPF (Sender Policy Framework) is a system that email providers such as Google, Yahoo and Microsoft use to verify that an email is coming from the sender they expect. It does this by verifying that emails are sent from specific IP addresses or from specific domains. With SPF, you can easily identify if someone is trying to send an email from a domain that does not belong to you. DKIM (Domain Keys Identified Mail) verifies that an email has not been changed in transit. It helps prevent malicious actors from changing either the content or the destination of a message. For example, someone attempting to spoof your own email address could be identified by DKIM. DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance) ties the two previous email authentication strategies together, and also adds the ability to get feedback reports to ensure the authentication is working. This helps you become aware if someone is spoofing your domain, so you can take the appropriate steps. By setting up SPF, DKIM and DMARC, you are able to effectively authenticate your email sending practices, protect from malicious activities and increase your email delivery rates. Furthermore, many major mailbox providers now require that these authentication techniques are set up. Without them, you may risk their messages being rejected or delivered to the spam folder. Moreover, Google now gives preferential treatment in the inbox to messages that pass all of its user authentication tests. Set up of SPF, DKIM and DMARC is an important part of your email authentication," delivering a reputable deliverability, as well as enhance your reputation as a legitimate email sender. As a result, it will help your messages get into the inbox of your recipients.

SPF, DKIM and DMARC Compliance

SPF, DKIM and DMARC are three email authentication protocols that help protect emails from being intercepted and used for malicious means. SPF (Sender Policy Framework) is an authentication protocol used to validate incoming emails from specific domains. It uses a list of IP addresses associated with the sender’s domain and compares them against the actual source address. Any email sources not found on the list will be flagged as potentially fraudulent. DKIM (Domain Keys Identified Mail) is another authentication protocol that uses digital signatures to validate emails. It adds encrypted information to emails to verify that the sender is who they claim to be. DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance) is an authentication protocol that combines the features of SPF and DKIM to ensure email messages have not been changed in transit. It also provides reporting and control tools that help protect against phishing and other malicious emails. For organizations that exchange emails with customers and other third parties, SPF, DKIM and DMARC compliance is essential. An effective authentication protocol will guarantee the integrity of email correspondence and protects emails from being exploited by hackers. It can also provide organizations with valuable insight into where email messages are coming from, and help them identify any external sources that might be attempting to spoof their identity. Compliance with SPF, DKIM and DMARC helps organizations protect their reputation and prevent unauthorized access to account information. It also allows recipients to confidently distinguish between legitimate emails and malicious ones, ensuring that important communications are delivered as intended. Compliance with these authentication protocols also helps organizations meet service-level agreements and avoid punitive measures from email providers that could result in reduced delivery rates.

Achieving SPF, DKIM and DMARC compliance are important aspects of email authentication as it helps establish trust with your email recipients. This table outlines the differences between each service.

Allows domain owners to set parameters that identify which servers can send email from the domain Uses cryptographic authentication to verify an email was sent from the authorised server for a domain
Ensures incoming server can determine the email is legitimate Authorises incoming servers to verify that email is legitimate
Allows other domains to authenticate the legitimacy of an email from your domain Allows other domains to trust the email in your domain
Verifies if SPF and DKIM both pass  
Gives instruction on what actions the receiving email servers should take if an email fails the authentication process  

SPF, DKIM and DMARC Settings and Add-Ons

Setting up security for email can be as difficult as it is important for any business. Data breaches, malicious links, phishing scams, and other threats continue to be a prevalent problem in communication. By implementing SPF, DKIM and DMARC settings, businesses can ensure their messages are safe and their customers can trust that communication is secure. SPF, or Sender Policy Framework, is used to help identify fraudulent emails that have been sent from a domain that has not been approved. It allows the owner of a domain to specify which mail servers are allowed to send emails from the domain. This means the email server not listed in the SPF record won't be able to send emails from the domain. DKIM, or Domain Keys Identified Mail, adds digital signatures to emails to prove that the email comes from a trusted source. A DKIM signature will be added to each email and it will guarantee the sender of the email, as well as modern security protocols used to encrypt the message. DMARC, or Domain-based Message Authentication Reporting and Conformance, is the final layer of security. DMARC is designed to protect users from fraudulent emails coming from a domain and gives companies the chance to define how emails should be handled if they fail authentication checks. In addition to setting up these security settings, businesses can take advantage of add-ons that enhance the protection for their emails. Email filtering services will scan emails for malicious content, and email providers can set up two-factor authentication to help protect accounts from being compromised. They can also use email encryption add-ons, providing an extra layer of secure communication for customers. Overall, setting up SPF, DKIM and DMARC for emails can provide a stronger level of security for a business. With these measures in place, emails sent from the domain can be verified as being from a trusted source. Businesses can also use add-ons to give an extra level of security for all that send or receive emails.



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