How to authenticate your domain for email marketing

You may have recently been contacted by your email marketing service to say you need to authenticate your domain.  This has been triggered by changes in February 2024 to Google and Yahoo’s requirements for custom authentication and a published Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance (DMARC) record for anyone sending more than 5,000 emails to Gmail or Yahoo addresses in a 24-hour period.

Even if you’re not sending out bulk mailings on that scale the crackdown has prompted all email marketing platforms to improve their authentication requirements.

As well as adding the necessary records to the domain DNS, it is recommended that you don’t use free email services like Google or Yahoo as the sender of your marketing emails.  Even if you don’t intend to have a website it is strongly recommended you use a work email address to avoid your messages being treated as spam.

What is your domain DNS?

You’ve been told to authenticate your domain via your domain DNS so what does that mean? Simply put DNS stands for Domain Name System and it’s where different information relating to your domain name resides.

This might be the IP of the A record (the website) or the MX records which manage your email server settings.  It’s also where you can verify your domain for different services like Google Search Console and Meta.

Your domain DNS is managed by either your domain name registrar or your hosting company.  It’s wherever your nameservers are pointing.  If you are unsure you can check with your web developer.

How to add the correct records

Most email marketing providers will talk you through what changes need to be made.  These include:

  • TXT records
  • CNAME records
  • DKIM Signature
  • SPF record

When adding the SPF record to an existing domain with email addresses attached you may receive an error message saying the record already exists.  DO NOT DELETE THIS RECORD.  Only one SPF record can be present in the DNS so you need to merge them.  The record will look something like this:

v=spf1 +a +mx +ip4:32.218.103.173  include:_74a043da09c0fb844c990bce2fefef97.spf.dnssmarthosting.net ~all

You may, therefore, have to amend this record to add another “include:” phrase. For Mailerlite, for example, it would be “include:_spf.mlsend.com”

When you have added the relevant records you should be able to see a green tick in your email marketing platform.

And you’re done!

If you are struggling to add the necessary records or don’t know where to find your domain DNS you can drop us an email and we’d be happy to help.  Email marketing support is just one of the services we offer.

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