SPF, DKIM and Tracking FAQ

Learn more about SPF, DKIM and Tracking validation.

If you've just landed here from your Elastic Email account and want to find out more about setting up your domain, you've come to the right place. Setting up your sender domain will help your email reach the inbox.

The following topics are reviewed here:

Verified Sender Domain,

SPF Records,

DKIM Records,

Tracking Domains.

Now, we know for some it might seem a bit complicated or too technical to set this up. Don't worry, just take it step by step, it's basically like filling out a form. And if you get stuck, our support team can help.What is a "Verified Sender Domain"

What is a "Verified Sender Domain"

A verified sender domain is a domain that has given Elastic Email permission to send email from your domain. This means that the emails are being sent by Elastic Email servers, but the emails are using your domain as the "From" address.

Why is it a good idea to verify your sending domain

Recipient ISPs need to verify that the domain has given permission for Elastic servers to use it. They can verify this by looking up certain records in your domain's DNS.

What does DNS mean? Can anything be a domain?

DNS stand for Domain Name System. Each Hosted Domain can be looked up by a server by its domain or corresponding IP address. Each domain has its own settings.Nearly anything can be a domain, for example: kdfaoiefodfj.com could be a domain.

What is a TXT record

This is a short form which means "text record" and can be nearly any form of text.

Where do I start, where do I go to fill in the correct form for this? What will I see?

First, you will go to where your domain is hosted (ie. GoDaddy, Dreamhost, Hostgator etc), there will be an option there to adjust your DNS settings. You will see several fields of information to fill. The most common are SPF, DKIM.

What are SPF Records? What are they for?

SPF stands for "Sender Policy Framework". An SPF record is in place to identify which mail servers are authorized to send mail for a given domain. It is used to prevent spammers from sending mail with fraudulent From addresses at that domain.
Though many DNS editors allow for the creation of an SPF record, it is recommended that the SPF record is entered as a TXT record.
If you are creating the SPF record you will likely see a form with at least two fields, they are: "Host" or "Name" and "Value".
Here is what you enter under those fields:
Host/Name: @ (yes you put the @ symbol here under the host or name category)
Value: v=spf1 a mx include:_spf.elasticemail.com ~all
TIPS:
Check to see if there are any other SPF records in your domain's DNS. There can only be one SPF record per domain, so if there is an existing record just add "include:_spf.elasticemail.com" to that record.
Make sure you remove the quotes.

For example, if your domain already has the record:   v=spf1 a mx include:_spf.google.com ~all

....then you would just add:                                       include:_spf.elasticemail.com

The final record would look like this:    v=spf1 a mx include:_spf.google.com include:_spf.elasticemail.com ~all

Another tip: Sometimes '@' needs to be replaced with something else specific to your hosting. Check with your hosting provider to see if a special entry is needed in the Host/Name field if there is one. There are MANY different DNS editors and the set up can be different for each.

What are DKIM records? What are they for?

DKIM stands for "DomainKeys Identified Mail". They allow receiving servers to confirm that mail coming from a domain is authorized by the domain's administrators.
This record also needs to be entered as a TXT record, you will see at least two fields, they are: "Host" or "Name" and "Value".
Here is what you enter in those fields:
Host/Name: api._domainkey

Value:

k=rsa;t=s;p=MIGfMA0GCSqGSIb3DQEBAQUAA4GNADCBiQKBgQCbmGbQMzYeMvxwtNQoXN0waGYaciuKx8mtMh5czguT4EZlJXuCt6V+l56mmt3t68FEX5JJ0q4ijG71BGoFRkl87uJi7LrQt1ZZmZCvrEII0YO4mp8sDLXC8g1aUAoi8TJgxq2MJqCaMyj5kAm3Fdy2tzftPCV/lbdiJqmBnWKjtwIDAQAB

(Yes, it really is this long list of numbers and letters, make sure you copy and paste correctly)
In some DNS settings the Host/Name field may require you to enter "api._domainkey.yourdomain.com", replacing your domain with your actual domain.

Once I've entered those records in my DNS settings, what do I do next?

Once those records have been added to your domain's DNS settings, visit your Elastic account's Settings screen.Green Check marks mean that the domain records are valid and you can now send email from "anything@yourdomain.com".

What if the domain is set as the "Default"?

It is good practice to have a default verified sender domain. Our system will use the default verified sender domain if a non-verified domain is used for the email for the account. This is particularly important if sub-accounts are using the main account sender domain or resellers want notification emails to send using their domain.

What is a Tracking Domain

If tracking is enabled for your account, then our system re-writes links in the emails. Any link will first direct the user through "api.elasticemail.com".
So, for an instant, while the link is rerouted to its original destination the URL will show "api.elasticemail.com".
We offer the ability to "whitelabel" this URL with your own domain.In your domain's DNS settings create a new CNAME record:
Host/Name: tracking
Value: api.elasticemail.com
Then go to your Elastic account's Settings Screen and click "Verify". Our system automatically looks for the CNAME "tracking". So if you enter anything else please contact support so that we can validate the record manually. A green check mark means that the tracking domain is active.
If you need any help at all we are here! Contact our support team using the button below.