Including ClickDimensions in your SPF record
For Your Network/Technical Admin
To include the ClickDimensions mail servers in your SPF record, simply add this include statement to your SPF record at your domain's DNS host:
TIP: Check to make sure your SPF record is valid by using a tool like Kitterman.com, MXToolbox, or 250ok.
For Your Team
SPF, or Sender Policy Framework, is a standard framework that mail services use to verify the source of an email (sending IP) is allowed to send email for the domain. SPF records reside on the DNS server for the sending domain, and when a recipient email server receives an email, it may request the SPF record for the sender’s domain to make sure that the server sending the message has permission to do so. For example, if an email is sent from email@example.com through ClickDimensions, the recipient's mail server might ask if ClickDimensions IPs are authorized to send mail on behalf of the mycompany.com domain. If the SPF record for mycompany.com includes ClickDimensions, it will pass this test.
NOTE: Not all domains have SPF records. If you do not have an SPF record, it is not necessary to add one, though it is a good practice to have an SPF record that specifies all of the mail servers that are permitted to send mail for your domain. You should read more about SPF and make sure you understand the implications of adding or modifying your SPF record prior to making any changes. More information is available here.
You’ll want to update the SPF record for the domain(s) that appears in the email addresses you will use as the “Sender” for marketing email. For example, if your email address is firstname.lastname@example.org, you will modify the SPF record with the domain registrar or DNS provider where mycompany.com’s DNS is hosted. You may already have an SPF record for sending email from your company's primary mail provider through your domain. If so, it may look like this:
"v=spf1 include:myemailprovider.com ~all"
This is a simple text entry stored with your domain's DNS that tells anybody who inquires that if an email originates from myemailprovider.com it is okay to accept it. The ~all portion of the SPF says that any other source is questionable and will send a "soft fail" response.
Updating your SPF Record
To modify your SPF record to permit mail that is sent through the ClickDimensions service, you can add an "include" statement that shows that our servers are permitted to send email from your domain: "include:customers.clickdimensions.com" Your SPF record might then look like this.
"v=spf1 include:myemailprovider.com include:customers.clickdimensions.com ~all"
This SPF record will tell servers that it is okay to accept mail whether it originates from your primary email provider's domain or from the ClickDimensions mail service.
Any changes to your SPF record may take time to propagate through the DNS system. The amount of time is dependent on your DNS provider and domain settings and can take as long as 48 hours to propagate around the internet.
What are the impacts if I don’t update my SPF record?
If you choose to not update your sending domain's SPF record, you may see some soft bounces, and/or some emails delivered to the junk folder. SPF is one of the many factors that spam filters and receiving mail servers use to determine the legitimacy of an email. To maximize deliverability, we recommend making this update but it's not a hard requirement. See the below question about Mail From vs. Header From for more detail.
What is the difference between the Mail From and the Header From?
There are actually two From domains in an email. What we refer to as the sending domain is the domain used in the Header From. Header From is also called the Display From or Friendly From. This is the address/domain that recipients will see in their email client and is the domain of the customer sending the email.
The Mail From is in the email headers and is also referred to as the Envelope From or Return-path address. In a default set up, the Mail From domain will be either email.clickdimensions.com (US/AU/CA) or emaileu.clickdimensions.com (EU).
Mail Servers check the SPF of the Mail From domain. They are not supposed to check the SPF of the Header From/Sending domain since its an obsolete standard (SenderID). We still recommend updating the SPF of your sending domain though because in practice we’ve seen it have an impact.
What is included in the customers.clickdimensions.com SPF record?
We include all Shared IPs (from all regions) and all Dedicated IPs in our SPF record.
What are my options if I don’t want to use the standard include?
You have 3 options for updating the SPF record.
- Use our standard include statement
- Include the regional-specific statement
- include:_spf.messagegears.net (US/AU/CA) (1 lookup)
- include:_spf.eu.messagegears.net (EU) (1 lookup)
- Include the IPs
- Shared IP customers will have to include anywhere from 4 to 16 IPs or the IP ranges (see the Email Server IP article)
What should I do if I have too many lookups in my SPF record?
An SPF record can include up to 10 lookups. It you are at or near 10, the option to include just the regional statement might help. If you are well beyond 10, we usually recommend that you review the SPF statement for any unused domains or use sub-domains for sending.
Should the SPF record be set up as a “TXT” or “SPF” DNS record?
SPF records should be set up as TXT DNS records. There was a DNS record of type SPF but it's no longer in use. DNS Providers may still allow for this type of record to be set up (even though they shouldn’t). If you have a SPF record set up as both TXT and SPF, it will cause issues.
“-all” or “~all” (or “+all” or “?all”)?
We recommend using “~all” but either “~all” or “-all” is fine. “~all” means soft fail and “-all” means hard fail.
“+all” and “?all” are rather useless and we don’t recommend using either of those. “+all” means allow all mail to pass and “?all” means neutral (both are equivalent to not having a SPF record at all).
Are there tools I can use to check my SPF record?
- Kitterman – will tell you if the record passes and if not will provide the error.
- 250ok SPF Analyzer – will tell you how many lookups you have, if the record is valid and what the underlying records and the IPs contained in each.
- MXToolbox – will tell you if the record is valid or not.
- WiseTools - will tell you how many lookups you have, if the record is valid and what the underlying records and the IPs contained in each.