Are you a business owner or webmaster trying to get your message across through email? Making sure emails reach their intended recipients involves many factors. You may have heard of something called SPF, but not be entirely sure what it is and why it’s important for your business operations.
SPF stands for Sender Policy Framework and serves as an authentication method that helps protect organizations from email abuse such as phishers and spammers attempting to send out malicious activities using the organization’s name.
In this post, we’ll explain more about SPF and how it can help benefit your company’s email strategy.
Protects email from spoofing and phishing attacks
SPF is one of the most effective methods for protecting emails from spoofing and phishing attacks. It works by listing which servers can send emails from a domain—if an email does not originate from an officially designated server, it will be rejected as suspicious by the recipient’s spam firewall. Business owners and webmasters can check their SPF record to ensure their domain is set up correctly and protect themselves from fraudulent attempts to use their domain for malicious purposes. In addition, SPF contributes to reducing spam emails; since these emails are rejected before they reach the recipient, they never show up in inboxes. This makes it an immensely important tool in keeping delicate information safe and secure online.
A DNS-based email authentication system
DNS, or Domain Name System, is an essential part of the internet. It stores information about domain names and their associated IP addresses so that web browsers can access websites quickly and easily. DNS is the service responsible for managing SPF records.
SPF is a DNS-based email authentication system that allows the owner of a domain to specify which mail servers are authorized to send emails on their behalf. This information is saved in DNS records and used to validate incoming mail from specified IP addresses, mitigating against unauthorized use of a domain name for sending spam.
Having an SPF record configured in DNS removes the reliance on receiver-side filtering and enables domain owners to take control of their reputation.
Using SPF to determine if a message is legitimate
When an email server receives a message, it needs to determine whether or not the message is legitimate. This is important to ensure that users’ inboxes remain secure and free from spam. The SPF record is a key tool used to verify messages sent via email; it helps the email server decide whether the message has been sent from a valid source. It does this by checking that the sender’s IP matches the one listed in the domain’s SPF record. By examining this information, email spam firewalls can quickly detect any message that is not coming from a legitimate and authorized source. This helps maintain an additional layer of security for all email accounts.
When a message fails the SPF check
When an email message fails an SPF check, it means that the sender cannot be verified. The email server will not accept the message and will send an error message back to the sender, informing them that their message was not accepted. As a result, the recipient of the attempted email will not receive it and any efforts to contact someone through that particular email address will be unsuccessful.
Add all authorized mail servers to your SPF record
You can improve your organization’s SPF record by adding all of your authorized mail servers to it. Start by compiling a list of the servers or services that send emails using your domain name which includes the IP address of the web server where your website is hosted if emails are sent from your website. You might have multiple sites under other subdomains on different servers that send mail through a main domain name, different than the subdomain, so list them too. Also list any external systems or services, such as cloud services used for marketing communications or advertising campaigns, and external mail services.
Use an online tool to create an SPF record
There are many SPF record generators available online and you can pick the one that works best for you. Use your favorite search engine to look for “SPF generator” and then select one from the list. Enter the information from the list you created in the previous paragraph where prompted. Upon completion, the generator will provide you with the information you need to enter into your domain name’s DNS record.
Now that you’ve discovered what it takes to properly configure your organization’s SPF record, get out there and change it up!
If you need help configuring an SPF record or adding it to your DNS records, we’re here for you. Just describe and order the job here or give us a call and we’ll take care of it for you. Easy peasy!