LAST UPDATED: 2014-04-25
Who should worry about this?
Anyone who is using iClassPro to send emails using an external email domain should implement a SPF record. It is highly recommended as some email providers are cracking down on spammers by authenticating the sending server of that email.
What is an SPF?
" An SPF record is a type of Domain Name Service (DNS) record that identifies which mail servers are permitted to send email on behalf of your domain. The purpose of an SPF record is to prevent spammers from sending messages with forged From addresses at your domain. Recipients can refer to the SPF record to determine whether a message purporting to be from your domain comes from an authorized mail server." Explanation from support.google.com
How does it work?
The way iClassPro emails work is quite simple- you create the email body and our servers send the email on behalf of your reply-to address. However, since these emails are really sent from the iClassPro servers and not your email server or inbox, some email providers will flag this as spam because it cannot authenticate the sending server (it doesn't match the server used by your email domain).
If you find that your customers have complained of not receiving emails, you find your emails are ending up in spam folders, or there are certain email addresses which show up as SENT in the email report for E-mail Blasts-- but the customer is not receiving the e-mails-- then this is the likely culprit! (Businesses using email addresses @yahoo.com or @aol.com are particularly vulnerable.)
NOTE: Also, if you are experiencing this problem, the FORGOT PASSWORD email will likely not end up in your customers' inboxes either!
Easily look up your SPF Record!
Want to know what servers have permission to email on your behalf? Certain services such as http://www.kitterman.com/spf/validate.html will allow you to quickly look up any SPF records on file for your domain/website!
How to use:
1. Go to the link above.
2. Type your domain into the lookup (Example below.)
3. Click Get SPF Record (if any)
4. In the results, look for the server you would like to allow to send emails on behalf of your email address (in this case, include:iclassprov2.com).
If you see our server listed, you should be good to go! If you don't, contact your website administrator for assistance with setting this up.
WARNING: These instructions are technical!
Creating an SPF (sender policy framework) to Allow Outgoing Emails on Behalf of your Domain:
The only way that you can send outgoing email from the iClassPro Email Blast Wizard and make it appear that it originated from your own email address (firstname.lastname@example.org), is to create or edit (if you already have one set up) an SPF (Sender Policy Framework) record to include a reference to iClassPro. The SPF record declares what SMTP servers other than your own are allowed to send email as if it originated from your domain, which is what prevents spammers from sending emails appearing as if they had come from your domain.
To create or edit an SPF record to allow specific servers (like iClassPro's) to send emails appearing to come from your domain, you need to edit your domain's DNS settings. The steps in this part of the process are going to vary depending on the hosting service you use.
To begin, it'll be helpful to understand more about SPF records and what you need to include in yours. We recommend using either of the following SPF records.
v=spf1 include:iclassprov2.com ~all
v=spf1 include:iclassprov2.com ?all
This is an example of a new SPF record. If you already have an SPF record, you add include:iclassprov2.com to it.
* Note: You might also need to include any other email services that you use to send email on your behalf such as Google Apps or Mailchimp. Below is an example of what a SPF record might look like for a user that uses Google Apps, Mailchimp, and iClassPro for sending emails:
v=spf1 mx ptr include:iclassprov2.com include:servers.mcsv.net include:_spf.google.com ?all
The only difference between the two is ~all and ?all. These differences will be explained after describing the other elements contained in the record statements.
The first element in the record is v=spf1, which sets the SPF version to 1. The include directive (include:iclassprov2.com) is then used to declare that iclassprov2.com has permission to send outgoing mail from your iClassPro account as if it came from your domain.
Finally, the all directive (~all or ?all) determines how mail received from a domain not included in the SPF record is handled. To reject all mail not coming from a domain listed in the SPF record, you would use -all. However, iClassPro and many other customers who have already set this up, recommend using either ~all or ?all. Here's what each means:
- ~all This is considered a 'soft fail' in that the email did not originate from a domain listed in the SPF record. However, it's not immediately rejected and may be evaluated further to determine if it will be accepted. In other words, the email might be rejected as spam.
- ?all This is a declaration that you have no policy about mail received from domains not listed in the SPF record. Using this minimizes the chances of the email being rejected as spam.
- -all This third option is not widely used, but means that if it does not match any of the conditions mentioned, then it should be rejected. You should only use this option if you know what you are doing and are absolutely sure that all SPF rules are correct. Incorrect settings with this option may prevent your email from being sent.
Which of these you choose is up to you and your domain administrator. Some iClassPro users have noted that using the more lenient setting (?all) helps to offset poorly configured mail servers that might otherwise over zealously reject the email.
* Note: If you're curious, you can read more about SPF records at www.openspf.org.
Creating an SPF record
This is a step that you'd ideally have your domain administrator take care of. If that's not possible, or if you're the de facto domain administrator, here are some examples of how add an SPF record to your domain.
SPF records are a single line of text and follow the format described above. If you have already set up an SPF record for another purpose, you can simply add a reference to the iClassPro domain to it. For example, users of both Google Apps and iClassPro have created SPF records that look like this:
v=spf1 include:_spf.google.com include:iclassprov2.com ?all
How you add an SPF record to your DNS configuration depends on how and by who your domain is being hosted by. As an example, here are the instructions provided by GoDaddy.com: Managing DNS for your domain names