Email Authentication to Enhance Security: The Importance of SPF, DKIM, and DMARC for Mailing List Platforms

How to Guide

In the ever-evolving landscape of online communication, email remains a cornerstone for businesses, organizations, and individuals alike. However, with the proliferation of spam, phishing attacks, and email spoofing, ensuring the security and authenticity of email communications has become paramount.

Recent changes in mailing list platforms now require the addition of SPF, DKIM, and DMARC records to hosting accounts, ushering in a new era of email security.

So many acronyms: SPF, DKIM, and DMARC

So, what exactly are SPF, DKIM, and DMARC, and why are they crucial for mailing list platforms?

SPF (Sender Policy Framework) is a protocol designed to prevent email spoofing by verifying that the sending mail server is authorized to send mail on behalf of a specific domain. By publishing SPF records in the Domain Name System (DNS), domain owners can specify which mail servers are allowed to send emails for their domain. This helps reduce the likelihood of fraudulent emails being sent from spoofed addresses, thereby enhancing email security.

DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail) adds another layer of security by enabling email recipients to verify that an email message was indeed sent and authorized by the owner of the sending domain. DKIM works by adding a digital signature to each outgoing email, which can be verified by the recipient’s mail server against a public key published in the DNS records of the sending domain. This prevents tampering and ensures the integrity of email messages throughout their journey from sender to recipient.

DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance) builds upon SPF and DKIM to provide domain owners with greater control and visibility over their email authentication practices. DMARC allows domain owners to specify how they want email messages that fail SPF and/or DKIM authentication to be handled, whether to be quarantined or rejected, and provides reporting mechanisms to monitor email authentication activity. This helps organizations protect their brand reputation and combat email fraud effectively.

Why do I need to add SPF, DKIM and DMARC records all of a sudden?

Now, you might be wondering, why do I need to implement SPF, DKIM, and DMARC records for my mailing list platform?

The answer lies in safeguarding your organization’s reputation and ensuring the trustworthiness of your email communications. With SPF, DKIM, and DMARC in place, you can mitigate the risk of your domain being exploited for malicious purposes, such as phishing scams or distributing spam.

By authenticating your email messages, you enhance deliverability, reduce the likelihood of your emails being flagged as spam, and ultimately foster trust with your recipients.

IS this going to affect my normal emails I send from my account?

This particular instruction is specifically for sending emails through a third-party platform like a mailing list provider.

However, if you also use a third-party email provider, like Google Workspace or Microsoft Office, it is best practice to also have these records set up.

Each platform will provide their own authentication so you may need to add more than one set of records.

How can I check if I have these records set up already?

If you go to Google Toolbox Dig and add your domain name (without the https:// or the www) you can then click on the different types of records and see what is already on your domain.

You can se on this screenshot below that I have spf records showing that authenticate my emails with Zoho – my email provider.

So how on earth do I do it then?

Setting up SPF, DKIM, and DMARC records for your mailing list platform is relatively straightforward.

You need to have the following before you start:

  • login details for your hosting account
  • login details for your mailing list platform (e.g., mailchimp, Sender, Aweber, Mailerlite, etc.)

If you are not familiar with adding records to your hosting account, you can try submitting a support ticket with your host and they may be able to add the records for you.

First, get the records from your mailing list platform.

You need to login to your mailing list platform and find the place where you can VERIFY YOUR DOMAIN. Many platforms will have some sort of flag on the system so this is easy to find, but if it is not obvious then I suggest Googling: How do I authenticate my domain with ***insert mailing platform name here**.

For example, here are instructions for Mailchimp, Malterlite, Aweber, Sender, Brevo.

Then, copy the records into your hosting account

This is the more complex side of things as not every hosting account will appear in the same way, and you may or may not have access to this depending on the hosting plan. if you are in any doubt, you could try Googling “How do I manage dns records on ***insert host account name here***.

Many hosting accounts use a standard interface (called C-Panel) and there are instructions for how to add records for C-Panel here.

  1. SPF Record Setup: Log in to your domain’s DNS management console and create a TXT record containing your SPF policy. Specify the IP addresses or hostnames of the mail servers authorized to send emails on behalf of your domain.
  2. DKIM Key Generation: Generate a DKIM key pair using your email server software or a DKIM key generator tool. Publish the public DKIM key in a TXT record in your domain’s DNS settings.
  3. DMARC Policy Configuration: Create a DMARC TXT record in your DNS settings, specifying your desired DMARC policy (e.g., quarantine or reject) and providing an email address for receiving DMARC reports.
  4. Monitor and Fine-Tune: Regularly monitor DMARC reports to assess the effectiveness of your email authentication practices and make adjustments as needed to improve security and deliverability.

It’s not that hard and it’s really important to make sure your emails don’t get flagged as spam.

In conclusion, the recent changes requiring SPF, DKIM, and DMARC records for mailing list platforms represent a proactive approach to enhancing email security and combating fraudulent activities. By implementing these authentication mechanisms, you can bolster the integrity of your email communications, protect your brand reputation, and foster trust with your audience. Take the necessary steps to set up SPF, DKIM, and DMARC records for your domain today, and safeguard your organization’s email ecosystem against threats.


Well I can do it for you if you need some help. I am offering a special package of £20 per platform authentication. I just need the login credentials for both your host and your email platform and I can do the rest. (Please note, most hosts and emails require factor authentication to login – basically they send an email or sms code with a time limit. This just means we have to co-ordinate a mutually convenient time for me to login when you are available to send over the code.

Get in touch if you want to take me up on this offer.