What are SPF Records?
Sender Policy Framework is an email authentication method designed to detect forging sender addresses during the delivery of the email. SPF alone, though, is limited only to detect a forged sender claimed in the envelope of the email which is used when the mail gets bounced.
Why are SPF Records required?
SPF records are used to prevent spammers from spoofing your domain name. Recipient servers can use the SPF record you publish in DNS to determine whether an email that they have received has come from an authorized server or not.
They can then make a decision about how to treat that email. Over recent years SPF has gone from a “nice to have” to a “must-have”. Even if they aren't perfect, they are quite effective and are part of being a good email citizen on the internet.
How can SPF record Impact Email Delivery?
In the case of SPF, its chief role is to prevent email spammers from using your domain and sending “spoof” emails. SPF records prevent spammers from sending messages with bogus From addresses attached to your domain. This stuff gets fairly technical, but let's keep it simple for now.
Have you ever received one of those nonsense emails that looks like it is being set out from a user posing to be someone else, but is actually from a spammer posing as a known user at your end? This is called a "spoof" email because it's quite easy to fake the domain associated with an email (like the spammer in this case). SPF was created to combat these sorts of fake sender issues.
Unless you set up an SMTP configuration, Flock sends emails on your behalf when you reply to a customer. For the sake of illustration, let's say your mailbox address is firstname.lastname@example.org. When you reply to a customer and the email goes out, the customer's server will ask the following questions:
- Who sent this email?
- Does the sender have permission to send on behalf of this domain?
In our example, the "who" is email@example.com and the "sender" is Flock. Without an SPF record specifying Flock as an approved sender, it's likely your email will be marked as spam. If there is an SPF record that includes Flock as an approved sender, then it's virtually guaranteed to skip the spam filter. That's why this is so important!