Cold Email Deliverability: what’s an SPF record?

Warm up that cold email

When it comes to cold email there are a lot of things to talk about that are a lot more sexy than ‘SPF records’. However if you’re looking to permanently steer away from the SPAM folder, taking audit of your current technical setup is a must.

One crucial thing to pay utmost attention to when managing email promotional campaigns is the Sender Policy Framework (SPF) record. If you fail to do that, you’ll undoubtedly be leaving a lot on the table.

What’s an SPF record?

SPF record is an email-authentication technique used in detecting and preventing spammers from sending messages on behalf of your domain during email delivery.

An SPF record gives your sent-emails VIP travel-pass into the intended recipient’s inbox. Hence, it improves email deliverability and prevents unnecessary loses associated with emails ending in spam and bulk mail filters of the recipient.

Why Do SPF Records Exist?

Have you got an email server devoid of an SPF record? You’re invariably sitting on a ticking time-bomb, and that’s it! The purpose of SPF records are to prevent forged-messages pretending to be from you from spammers using your domain as a tool. Failure to do that could be disastrous to your company’s reputation.

Have you got an email server devoid of an SPF record? You’re invariably sitting on a ticking time-bomb, and that’s it!

If a spammer uses your domain to send a ton of messages to other servers, the recipient servers reject these messages and list your IP address on the Real-Time Black List (RBL) servers. I believe you know what that portends? This may soil the company’s reputation in the long-run as many of your legitimate emails may end up rejected, and that’s the reason companies need to take SPF records seriously.

In the present days and age of security threats online, it’s pertinent to seek extra ways of preventing and securing our e-environment as it helps secure that vital information we share via email messages on a daily basis.

Therefore, as crucial as the communications via emails is for the growth of your company, setting up an SPF record on that domain is just as crucial to avoid any unnecessary fuss and an uphill task of getting in touch with folks at the RBL to remove your IP address from their list.

Breaking it down — Parts of an SPF Record

An SPF record is usually defined with TXT record type. It consists of many parts while starting off with a version number and must be authorized by at least a mechanism to validate the sender’s identity.

Here are the parts of an SPF record. Let’s dive right in:

Though this used to be the second version of SPF created by Microsoft. This part defines it as an SPF, and in fact, an SPF records must start with this section to make it a valid one.

Without doubt, an SPF record can have multiple mechanisms as written above; this defines a DNS record of the current domain as a trusted sending source. Here, a mail server runs to see if the IP server of the sender is the same with the IP address already defined in the mechanism, then act.

Here are the symbols used:

+ denotes pass

- denotes fail

~ denotes soft fail

? denotes neutral

SPF modifiers are value pairs usually separated by an = sign that provide additional information about the sender. It’s usually at the tail end on a SPF record and rarely appears more than once in the whole record.

There’s the redirect modifier that functions as a point of reference for another SPF record to work. It’s usually used when you’ve got multiple domains, and you’re trying to apply the same content of your main SPF record across the remaining domains. But it should be stated here that you must be in charge of both domains.

The limitation of SPF records is important to note as well. Each qualified name can’t have more than one SPF record, which is defined as a TXT record. Also, there are different limitations on the number of items and lookups allowed in any SPF record. They are as listed below:

The importance of a SPF record to any organization can never be overemphasized as it protects your brand and customers from spoofing attacks.

The importance of a SPF record to any organization can never be overemphasized as it protects your brand and customers from spoofing attacks. If you take care of this authentication protocol, it’ll surely take care of not just your organization but your growth as well in the industry.

What’s next?

If you’re unsure about your current technical setup and you need a second pair of eyes, talk to a professional. Cold email is powerful when utilized correctly, but useless when all you’re doing is landing in spam.

Visit me at my website to get in touch!

Founder of Leadaro, the leading cold email agency. I write about outbound and prospecting. I’m cold email’s #1 fan.

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