SPF, DKIM, and DMARC adoption is on the rise across industries and countries. What’s pushing the domain owners to take forward steps are- regulatory compliances and a swift increase in the rate of phishing, spoofing, data breach, and ransomware attacks.
The foremost step in being a DMARC-compliant domain owner is creating an SPF record with all the valid IP addresses and email servers allowed to send emails on your behalf. Although generating an SPF TXT record using an online tool is a relatively easier task, people still need some clarification. So, here we have gathered 15 frequently asked questions related to this topic. We recommend you read them before creating a record and also if you feel stuck while generating one for your domain or subdomain.
FAQ 1: What is an SPF record?
An SPF record is a TXT record that includes all the IP addresses and email servers that you trust and are officially authorized to send emails from your domain. It also contains instructions for recipients’ mail servers on how to treat emails coming from your domain that aren’t sent from the sending sources mentioned in the SPF DNS record.
FAQ 2: Why do I need to create SPF records?
SPF records help prevent email spoofing and phishing by authenticating the source of email messages, reducing the chances of your domain being used for malicious purposes. The existence of SPF and/or DKIM record is essential for DMARC deployment.
FAQ 3: How do I create SPF records?
FAQ 4: What does an SPF record look like?
An SPF record is a text string that begins with “v=spf1” followed by mechanisms and qualifiers specifying which mail servers are allowed to send email for your domain.
FAQ 5: What is a mechanism in an SPF record?
A mechanism specifies a rule for validating the sending server, such as ‘a’ for A records and ‘mx’ for MX records.
FAQ 6: What is a qualifier in an SPF record?
Qualifiers like “+,” “-,” or “~” define the result of the mechanism – whether it’s a pass, fail, or a soft fail. A fail instructs recipients’ servers to reject the entry of illegitimate emails, while a softfail directs to place such messages in the spam folders.
FAQ 7: What are modifiers in an SPF record?
Modifiers appear at the end of an SPF TXT record and provide additional information. These are name/value pairs that are separated by an = sign and should not appear more than once.
FAQ 8: Can I have multiple mechanisms in an SPF record?
Yes, you can have multiple mechanisms in an SPF record, and they are evaluated sequentially.
FAQ 9: Can I create multiple SPF records for a domain?
You can create multiple SPF records for a domain; however, it isn’t recommended and can even trigger authentication issues. If you already have multiple SPF records, merge them into one.
FAQ 10: How to include multiple IP addresses or ranges in an SPF record?
You can list multiple IP addresses or ranges by separating them with spaces, like “ip4:192.168.1.1 ip4:203.0.113.0/24”.
FAQ 11: What if I want to allow any server to send emails on behalf of my domain?
You can use the mechanism “all” to allow any server, but it’s not recommended due to security concerns.
FAQ 12: What to do if my SPF DNS record exceeds the lookup limit?
You can use AutoSPF’s automatic SPF flattening service that minimizes the requirement for frequent and multiple lookups, thus helping you stay within the limit. We have solutions for enterprises and SMBs looking forward to fortifying phishing and spoofing by protecting their domains and DNS records.