What is an SPF record?

Adding an SPF record helps with deliverability on messages sent from Táve. Email providers look at this record to help determine the likelihood of a particular message being genuine or not.

If your mail isn’t getting delivered at all, not even to the spam box, chances are you already have an SPF record and it doesn’t include Táve. That’s the worst possible situation because it tells email providers the email probably isn’t genuine (and depending on your setup it may actually be saying that it definitely isn’t genuine). Updating your SPF record should fix the issue.

An SPF record is simply a DNS record of the TXT type. Your hosting provider can simply add this record for you, but most have interfaces which make this pretty simple to do yourself.

Be aware that it’ll take some time for changes to reach email providers. The expiration time set on your DNS records acts more like a minimum cache duration than a maximum; many email providers, especially in rural areas, may completely disregard your TTL and cache it for days at a time.

Adding an SPF record to DNS

If you already have an SPF record published, you would just add:

include:ca.spf.tave.com

If you send email from your website, Google Mail, and Táve, then this would be an acceptable TXT record for you:

v=spf1 a mx include:_spf.google.com include:ca.spf.tave.com ~all

If you send email from your website, your ISP, and Táve, then this is likely an acceptable TXT record for you:

v=spf1 a mx include:ca.spf.tave.com ~all

Be aware that it may take a day for your changes to be processed by most mail servers.

The difference between -all, ?all, ~all

The primary difference of these is how they help the spam scoring software determine valid senders.

-all: FAIL – anything except what is explicitly defined in the SPF record.
~all: SOFT-FAIL – anything not explicitly defined in the SPF record as a soft-fail — meaning, its mostly likely spam.
?all: NEUTRAL – we are not sure whether it is spam or not. This is the safest option

Testing and DNS Propogation

You can test your syntax by using an SPF validator.

You can verify it’s working correctly by using this form and entering this IP address: 50.31.39.46

How long you have your Time To Live (TTL) set for will govern how long DNS cache refreshing occurs (this TTL value is just a suggestion, ISPs can completely ignore it if they wish and what matters is the destination’s cache, not yours).

For initial testing, you should set the TTL pretty low (less 300 seconds), so that you can make changes without having to wait a long time for your DNS cache to expire. Once you have verified your changes and everything appears to be working, you can then increase the TTL.

Additional Resources

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