What is SPF?
Sender Policy Framework (SPF) is a protocol used by email providers to confirm that the sender of an email is who they say they are.
SPF is one of the message authentication tools used by the DMARC protocol to verify email senders. Most email providers use the DMARC and SPF protocols.
What does it do?
When you send an email, your message's header shows your name and email address. This shows your recipient who you are, and establishes trust between them and you. Unfortunately, any person can send an email that appears to be from you by manipulating the header of their emails. People engaging in spamming and phishing can pretend to be any person they want, and a common scam is to send emails that appear to be from trusted senders, like your bank, a shopping website, or a government agency. These emails encourage you to enter your personal information in fake websites, which is then used to commit fraud.
SPF gives your email tool a shield against this kind of attack. When your email server receives a message that appears to be from a particular domain, your email system can use the SPF protocol to check in with that domain to identify if the email was legitimate or if it was suspicious. The domain uses an SPF record to store a list of tools that send emails on behalf of that domain. If the email was sent from one of those tools, then your mail system marks it as safe. If not, it marks it as spam to shield you from a potential attack.
How does SPF affect emails I send to my members through SilkStart?
If you have not set up SPF records authorizing SilkStart to send email on your behalf, then the recipient's email system may not be able to authenticate SilkStart as a legitimate source of emails from your organization. Consequently, this may prevent members from receiving emails you send through SilkStart, including automatic emails and email campaigns.
In order to send messages to your members through SilkStart and avoid having them tagged as potential spam, all you need is an SPF record on your custom domain authorizing SilkStart to send email on your behalf.
How do I set up an SPF record for SilkStart?
- In the DNS settings for your custom domain, create an SPF record with the following text: v=spf1 include:_spf.silkstart.com ~all
- If you already have SPF records, add the following at the end of your existing record instead: include:_spf.silkstart.com ~all
SPF records are commonly added as TXT records. If you are not using a subdomain, set your TXT record's host name to @. For specific instructions on creating SPF records, find your DNS registrar in the list here: https://www.mail-tester.com/spf/