My Email Isn’t Being Delivered or is Marked As Spam

Ensure your business emails reach your intended recipients and safeguard your domain's integrity with SPF, DKIM, and DMARC records.

on March 13, 2024 | 
Reading Time: 7 minutes

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Recently updated on April 3rd, 2024 at 12:20 pm

Imagine you’re mailing out a business proposal to a prospective client, per their request. You want to ensure that this important message not only reaches their inbox instead of their junk box, but also maintains its integrity, signaling that it’s genuinely from you and not an imposter. But then the prospective calls you a few days later wondering why you haven’t sent the proposal yet. You check your sent box and see it was sent. Then you notice in your inbox a bounce back email stating your message failed to deliver.

If you’re reading this blog because this is your situation, we’ve got you covered. You need SPF, DKIM, and DMARC records! These records are your safeguards in the digital mailing world, ensuring your message is delivered correctly and securely. So, what are SPF, DKIM, and DMARC, and how do we use them?

An Introduction to SPF, DKIM, and DMARC Records

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We’ve outlined the tenacious trio of email delivery below:

  • SPF (Sender Policy Framework) acts like a whitelist, specifying which mail servers are authorized to send emails on behalf of your domain. If an email is sent from a server not on this list, it raises a red flag, much like a security check for your email’s origin.
  • DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail) adds a digital signature to your emails. This is akin to a unique seal on your message, verifying its sender and ensuring the content hasn’t been altered in transit. It’s like sending your proposal in a tamper-evident envelope.
  • DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance) is the strategy that leverages both SPF and DKIM to decide what happens if an email doesn’t authenticate. It’s your policy for handling unverified emails, providing instructions to the recipient’s email system, and it even sends you feedback on who’s trying to misuse your domain.

Together, SPF, DKIM, and DMARC form a robust defense mechanism that helps ensure your emails reach your prospective clients as intended, protecting your business communications from being lost in spam filters or mimicked by fraudsters. It’s crucial for maintaining the professionalism and integrity of your business emails.

Why SPF, DKIM, and DMARC Records are Important

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SPF, DKIM, and DMARC are essential for several key reasons in the context of sending emails, especially for business owners communicating with prospective clients:

  • Enhance Deliverability: These protocols help ensure your emails actually reach the intended recipient’s inbox. By verifying that the email is legitimately from your domain, you reduce the risk of your messages being flagged as spam or phishing attempts, which is crucial when you’re trying to establish a connection with a new client.
  • Protect Your Brand’s Reputation: Email fraud, such as phishing or spoofing, can significantly harm your brand’s reputation. If clients receive fraudulent emails appearing to be from your domain, they may lose trust in your business. SPF, DKIM, and DMARC collectively safeguard your domain’s integrity by preventing unauthorized use, thereby protecting your brand reputation.
  • Improve Email Security: By verifying the authenticity of the emails sent from your domain, you’re not just protecting your recipients from fraud; you’re also enhancing the overall security of your email communications. This is particularly important when sharing sensitive information or conducting transactions via email.
  • Compliance and Trust: For certain industries, there may be regulatory requirements around data protection and privacy that necessitate the use of these email authentication methods. Moreover, even outside such industries, implementing these standards signals to your clients that you are serious about protecting their information and value their security, which can increase their trust in your business.
  • Feedback and Visibility: DMARC, in particular, provides feedback on emails sent from your domain, including reports on authentication failures. This visibility allows you to monitor and address potential vulnerabilities in your email security posture, ensuring that your communications are as secure and effective as possible.

In today’s world of digital communication, SPF, DKIM, and DMARC are vital components in the secure and effective delivery of business emails. They not only ensure that your messages reach their intended recipients without being diverted by spam filters but also protect your brand from being exploited in email-based attacks, thereby maintaining the trust and confidence of your prospective clients.

How to use SPF, DKIM, and DMARC Records

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Implementing SPF, DKIM, and DMARC for your business emails involves a few technical steps, usually manageable with some basic domain management knowledge or your IT team’s help. Here’s a simplified guide on how to use them:

SPF (Sender Policy Framework)

  • Create an SPF record: An SPF record is a TXT record in your domain’s DNS settings that lists all the mail servers authorized to send emails on behalf of your domain. You’ll need to identify which servers and third-party services send emails for you and include them in the record.
  • Publish the SPF record: Add the SPF record to your domain’s DNS. The record might look something like this: v=spf1 ~all, indicating that emails sent from your domain are authorized only if they come through Google’s servers.

DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail)

  • Generate a DKIM key pair: You or your email service provider can generate a public/private key pair. The private key is used to sign outgoing emails, while the public key is published in your DNS for recipient servers to verify the signature.
  • Add the DKIM record to your DNS: Publish the public key as a TXT record in your domain’s DNS. This allows receiving email servers to retrieve the key and use it to verify the authenticity of messages sent from your domain.
  • Configure your email server or service to sign emails with DKIM: Ensure your outgoing emails are signed with your private DKIM key. Most email service providers offer an option to enable DKIM signing automatically.

DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance)

  • Create a DMARC policy: A DMARC policy is formulated as a TXT record in your DNS. It uses SPF and DKIM to determine the legitimacy of an email from your domain. Additionally, it instructs receiving servers on what to do with emails that fail authentication (e.g., reject, quarantine, or none) and where to send reports.
  • Publish the DMARC record in your DNS: The record will look something like v=DMARC1; p=quarantine;, specifying the policy and the email address where aggregate reports of DMARC results should be sent.
  • Monitor and adjust your DMARC policy: Initially, you might set your DMARC policy to a less strict setting (like p=none) to monitor the reports and understand how your emails are being handled. Based on the feedback, you can adjust your SPF and DKIM configurations if necessary, and then move to a stricter DMARC policy (like p=quarantine or p=reject) to enforce stronger email authentication.

Tools of the Email Delivery Trade

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If all of this sounds like a foreign language, don’t despair. Luckily, there are several online tools and resources available to help you set up SPF, DKIM, and DMARC records correctly for your domain. These tools can assist you in generating, validating, and troubleshooting these records, ensuring they are correctly configured to protect your email communications. Here are some commonly used ones:

SPF Record Tools:

DKIM Record Tools:

  • DKIM Record Generator: Generating a DKIM record can be more complex due to the cryptographic key pair involved. Online tools like EasyDMARC’s DKIM Record Generator ( and SparkPost’s DKIM Wizard ( can guide you through creating a DKIM record for your domain.
  • DKIM Record Checker: Once your DKIM is set up, you can verify its validity using tools like MxToolbox’s DKIM Lookup ( and DKIMCore’s DKIM record checker (

DMARC Record Tools:

  • DMARC Record Generator: Creating a DMARC policy that aligns with your email security needs can be simplified using generators like EasyDMARC’s DMARC Record Generator ( and Postmark’s DMARC Record Generator (
  • DMARC Record Checker: To ensure your DMARC record is correctly configured and to interpret the reports it generates, tools like MxToolbox’s DMARC Lookup ( can be very helpful.

These tools not only simplify the process of creating and deploying SPF, DKIM, and DMARC records but also provide critical insights into any potential issues with your domain’s email authentication setup. Properly setting up these records is essential for improving email deliverability, protecting your domain against fraud, and maintaining the trust of your email recipients. Personally, we’re a fan of for generating these records, as they provide a robust set of tools at no cost, and the learning curve is easy enough for most people to grasp and implement right away.

General Tips

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  • Regularly review and update your SPF, DKIM, and DMARC records to reflect any changes in your email sending practices.
  • Test your setup using various online tools to ensure your emails are properly authenticated and not flagged by recipient servers.
  • Consult with your email service provider or IT professionals if you’re unsure how to implement these standards, as incorrect configuration can lead to legitimate emails being blocked.


Implementing SPF, DKIM, and DMARC is a proactive step towards securing your email communications, enhancing deliverability, and protecting your domain from abuse, which is invaluable for maintaining your business’s credibility and trustworthiness. Having all three records in place for your domain will have prevent non-delivery of your emails to your most important contacts, whether they’re existing or prospective clients.

If you need assistance getting these records set up, we’re happy to help!

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About the Author: Mark Bush

CEO of RAD Websites and RAD Computers Web Design / Development and IT MSP professional for over 20 years, Mark enjoys sharing his passion for technology with others, through tips, tricks, and general education. He's developed over 400 websites since 1999. In his free time, he likes to spend his time with his girlfriend, Katelyn, and their son, Ziggy.

NOTE: Some links on this page may be affiliate links, and help support our business. These links do not alter the cost of the product, but provide a small percentage of the sale to us as the referral source.


  1. Alan Bishop

    This is a great write up for new business owners and new web designers. We frequently see these records getting missed by new web developers. Can’t miss them these days, or your job isn’t finished!

    • Mark Bush

      Thanks Alan! We see the same issue when we take on clients for managed IT services at RAD Computers. They have someone work on their website or migrate it, and then all of a sudden they have email delivery issues and they think it’s their computers, when in reality the web designer failed to update the records. Hope someone finds this post useful – Mark


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