Create an SPF record like a boss

What’s an SPF Record?

Well friend, an SPF record helps to provide verification that an email came from a legitimate source. Why would you care about that? You see, most SPAM comes from illegitimate sources (go figure).  Spammers can make it look like an email came from a certain email address even though it didn’t; which is a reason why SPAM sometimes gets past SPAM blockers.

Quite inconspicuous.

This is where the SPF record comes in: the SPF record is actually just a listing of the addresses of a domain’s email servers. Basically, a domain like abnergoodwin.com has a set of email servers that it uses to send it’s emails through. The SPF record for abnergoodwin.com will contain a list of those email servers that I use to send emails. If abner@abnergoodwin.com sends an email to you, your email service can make sure that the email actually came from the abnergoodwin.com domain by checking abnergoodwin.com’s SPF record.

If a spammer tried to send SPAM email and make it look like it came from an abnergoodwin.com email address any email server that received that email could check abnergoodwin.com’s SPF record and confirm that the email was illegitimate. If all email services used SPF records, it would make it much harder for spammers to waste our time and resources with their inane, offensive, junk.

That’s cool. How do I set one up?

There’s a wizard over at openspf.org that can guide you through the record creation process. Before you get all click-happy on that link, there is some information that you’ll need to gather first. You’re going to need:

  • A list of all of your domains – even the ones that you don’t send email with
  • A list of all of your outgoing email servers
  • Access to change your domain’s DNS records

Now you can go to http://old.openspf.org/wizard.html and plug your domain/server info into the wizard. The wizard generates your SPF record for you which you can then add to your DNS records. Once you’ve generated your own SPF record, you might want to run it through this nifty SPF Record Checker to make sure that it works.

If your email is hosted by a service like Google Apps, the email service may provide information on creating SPF records for your domain. Check out these links for SPF record information for the following email hosting services:

Google Apps

Go Daddy

Rackspace

Aaannd yeah, you can pretty much find this information on your own by searching for a minute or two on Google.

Pro Tip: search for the name of your hosting service  + SPF record. Works like a charm.
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