InsightsTips for email sender policy framework to save your emails from spamming


Did you ever face a problem regarding your email spamming? Or missed out on important clients or leads because your email got spam?

The email world is not that secure. Do you ever get to know that the phishes use your name to impersonate your business? It’s scary, righteously, phishers don’t need your username or password to harm your brand reputation.

Fortunately, we have tricks that are simple and not-so-secret but can be the protector from saving you from falling into a bad reputation pit, and to woo this impersonate situation Sender Policy Framework (SPF) will definitely be an email reputation lifesaver.

In this ebook, we would disclose the concepts of the sender policy framework and how it works and more of all, tips to save your emails from phishing or spamming.

What is Sender Policy Framework?

The Sender Policy Framework aka SPF is an email authentication method that is used to identify the mail servers if it permitted them to send emails from a particular domain. This validation protocol usage determines the ISPs whenever spoofers and phishers try to forge emails from your domain to send malicious emails to your subscribers.

The SPF makes the recipient feel secure that the emails they are receiving from the valid sender or from a known one and senders can relax knowing phishers aren’t email spoofing or phishing their audience from their brand.

In simple words, SPF is a technique used as an email authentication to prevent spammers from sending messages on behalf of your domain. Through SPF, an organization can publish authorized mail servers.

SPF with the DMARC related information flows the information regarding the trustworthiness of the email origins to the receiver.

History of SPF

The SPF got its original roots in the year 2000, having the original name Sender Permitted From, but changed to Sender Policy Framework. The IETF’s SPF working group strived to make a combination of SPF and Microsoft’s CallerID proposal. Then classic SPF version was attempted that led to the first experimental RFC in 2006 and in 2014 the proposed standard SPF familiar under RFC 7208 in 2014.

Nowadays, email authentication techniques such as SPF have grown and led to techniques such as DKIM and DMARC. SPF still fulfills an important role to determine whether an email is DMARC Compliant.

What is an SPF Record?

Email spamming and scamming is a never-ending battle and to fight with this several standards have been emitted to assist stem the tide and the SPF record is one of those standards that enables a domain to public state which servers may act like that domain and send emails on its behalf. This would protect your domain from any terrible impression and improve email deliverability. This allows domain owners a list of approved senders.

The important aspects of SPF are to understand that it doesn’t validate against the “From” domain instead, it looks at the “Return-Path” value for the originating server. The email address that receives servers is used to notify the delivery issues of sending mail servers is referred to as Return-Path. The SPF figures out whether the email from the address is fake but what needs to understand is that even if a message fails SPF, the guarantee of its not delivering is cannot be taken as the final decision about delivery is up to the receiver’s ISP.

The SPF record is a text in a short line that is added by the administrator of a domain adds to their text record, which is stored in the Domain Name System alongside their A, PTR, and MX records.

There are different standards related to email deliverability and DMARC is designed to address the shortcoming in SPF that verifies the “From” address.

How SPF works?

The Email Sender Policy Framework process works :

  • A policy is published by the domain administrator that defines authorized mail servers to send email from that domain and this policy is called an SPF record and is listed as part of the domain’s overall DNS records.
  • When an incoming email is received by an inbound mail server, it is firstly interrogated by the rules for the bounce or return-path domain in DNS. After this, the inbound server compares the IP address of the sender’s mail with the authorized IP addresses defined in the SPF record.
  • Later, the receiving mail server wields the specified protocols in the SPF record of sending domain to conclude whether to accept, reject, or otherwise flag the email message.

How to create your SPF record?

You must authenticate your email to protect it against spoofing and phishing, add an SPF record to it and follow these steps to create your SPF record-

  • Collect all IP addresses that are used to send email-

The successful implementation of SPF requires the identification of mail servers that are used to send an email for your domain. Any sending organization can be these mail servers, starting with your Email Service Provider. Office mail server and any other third-party mail servers that can be used to send emails on your behalf.

  • Create your SPF record
  • First, always start with SPF version no. v = spf1(version 1) showing the SPF record as other SPF versions have been discontinued.
  • All IP addresses that have the authority to send emails on behalf of your domain must follow the addition of SPF records.
  • The next step is the statement ‘include’, which is required for every third-party organization that sends an email on your behalf. Here a consultation is needed to be done with the third party to learn which domain to be chosen as a value for the ‘include’ statement.
  • After the implementation of all the above-mentioned steps end your record with an ~all or -all tag. The ‘all tag’ is a vital part of SPF records because it indicates the policy that should be applied when ISPs detect an unauthorized mail server.
  • The “all” tag has the following basic options:
  • -all–(fail) non-authorized emails will be rejected*.
  • ~all–(soft fail) non-authorized emails will be accepted but marked*.
  • +all–this tag allows any server to send email from your domain, so we advise strongly against it.
  • Publish your SPF record into your DNS

An SPF recorder requires to be published into your DNS by your DNS manager. By this, the access to a dashboard provided by your DNS provider to publish records.

Mechanism of SPF record


Whenever the include mechanism is used in the receiving server, the SPF record for that domain is checked. A domain name always followed this mechanism. If the IP address of the sender is in the SPF record list, then the mail is authenticated and the SPF check is completed but if not then it would switch on to the next mechanism.

  • A

A domain name also followed this mechanism but here SPF seeks fpr the associated IP addresses with that domain. If the sender’s IP matches the SPF record its pass and if not another mechanism is used to check the validation of the domain.

  • MX

If the sending client’s IP address recognizes the domain, then it passes the SPF authentication.

  • IP4 and IP6

This is followed by the Specific IP address or CIDR range always. If the IP address of the senders’ client is listed in any IP4 or IP6 mechanism, the mail will pass the authentication test.

  • PTR

It should not be included in your SPF record as it is prone to errors and cost a lot of memory and high bandwidth for resolving receiving server’s technical issues. Based on the presence of a PTR mechanism, SPF authentication can fail some servers.


Technically, it is a modifier that permits the domain administrator to point a domain to another domain’s SPF

Why do Emails get Spam?

Marketers workhorse have always included email communication and the reason behind this is proved by the research done by the Direct Marketing Association and Demand Metric which stated that the Email had a median ROI of 122 percent that is over 4 times higher than other marketing formats including social media, direct mail, and paid search.

But sometimes even after having great email content in your marketing strategies did not give you the expected ROI because your emails are falling into the dreaded black hole that is the spam folder. The Benchmark Report by the Return Path’s 2017 discovered that 20% of all commercial emails wind up as spam.


In 2003, it enacted a law back that sets national standards on commercial email, which is known as The CAN-SPAM Act. The act highlighted the major requirements and outlines non-compliance issues that can get your brand into trouble.

Considering the fact that violations can carry penalties of up to $41,484, you’ll want to be knowledgeable about the ins and outs of the CAN-SPAM Act.

Besides the ugly potential penalties, failing to comply with these requirements could get your emails sent to spam.

Top 10 Most Common Reasons Behind your Email Spamming

  • No Permission Granted to you

Email Marketing’s very first rule is to always have permission before emailing. Your email list should buy contacts that are not any other unscrupulous means.

  • Inaccurate Sender Information

For successful email communication, your ‘From, to, ‘ ‘Reply-To,’ and routing information includes the domain name and email address that needs to be accurate and recognition of the person or business of the message initiator.

  • No Physical Address availability

Your email content must have your valid physical postal address as stated by the FTC, it could be your current street address, a post office box you have registered with a commercial mail receiving agency established under The Postal Service regulations.

  • You are using Spam Trigger Words

As explained by Automation, the Email spam filters that decide whether your email is trying to a surefire way to gain unwanted attention from those filters and drop it in the spam folder of your customer’s inbox still looked Emails content.

  • Weak Headline

The Subject line plays a vital role in your email marketing. It majorly decides if it would convince your recipient to open your mail or not. The Convince and Convert say that 69% of email recipients report email as spam based solely on the subject line.

  • You’ve Included Attachments

Attachments in your email can be treated as a plague for two reasons-

  • An attachment could be a hardcore virus that could overtake an unsuspecting victim’s device that alerts spam filters and reduce the chances of your email being dropped in the recipient’s inbox.
  • The attachment can slow down the loading time of the email because of the big and bulky.
  • Large Image with Minimal Text

Marketers like to send image-centric emails to attract clients but get spam because the mail with less text and heavy images raises a red flag for spam filters. This is because spam filters cannot read display information in large images and spammers sometimes use large images to reach the recipients.

  • No clue of Opt-Out Link

When you bloat the recipients with unnecessary emails where they cannot find the way to unsubscribe then you wind up in the spam folder.

  • Inactive email addresses

When you send emails to an inactive address on a large scale, the spam filters will often penalize your ISP or domain.

  • The Incorrect Spelling and Grammar

The study suggests that the hackers from the native place who are not proficient in English use translating tools to convert text into English that sounds strange and have grammatical or spelling errors that alert spam filter to take that mail into its custody.

Tips to Save your Emails from Going to Spam

The email senders of all types get frustrated because of the issue caused by the email deliverability as sometimes your emails got into the spam folder instead of direct hitting the desired client’s inbox for many reasons that eventually end up bad impact on your email health list affecting the authentication status of your brand.

Here are some tricks or tips that can keep your emails out of spam-

  1. Make your own email list

For important information flow, email content communication is essential, with the stakeholders having shipping confirmations or security alerts, etc. You want to market expand your brand so its your responsibility you are engaging with the right audience and for that always avoid-

  • Renting, purchasing, or co-registering an email from a third party.
  • Sharing or using a shared list with a partner
  • Scraping emails.

Build your email lists organically who would be in your best interest long term. This would take time but get an effective, reliable audience for your business.

  1. Provide a double opt-in

The double opt-in would ensure the subscribers’ consent for email receiving by sending them a confirmation or welcome email that is asking for action or permission. It could be as a check box or link agreeing to terms.  By doing this, it would confirm recipients’ genuine interest in your email services.

  1. Email Authentication

This is tricky but can verify your actual identity to save you from getting spam by checking the legitimacy of your emails. The email inboxes allow authenticated mails more than unauthentic ones. So to get into the recipient’s inbox, make your email content more valuable and authentic.

There are 4 methods to authenticate your email to land in the recipient’s inbox and not in the spam folder-

  • Sender Policy Framework- This compares the sender’s IP with the authorized IP lists from the sender’s domain and confirms the identity.
  • Domain Keys Identified Mail- It verifies if the email is tampered with during the transmission/sending process.
  • Domain-Based Message Authentication Reporting and Conformance- This leverages the DKIM and SPF powers from both in order to send deliver mail’s recruitments.
  • Brand Indicator for Message Identification- This attaches the business logo to your emails to make them more recognizable to the recipients.
  1. Email list clean up on regular bases

This helps in staving off the low engagement and effects on your sender’s reputation. By removing unengaged users, bounce emails and other spam traps are the most effective ways to clean up your email lists making your email investment worthful.

  1.  Monitor your email engagement metrics-

Monitoring the email performance and metrics is the best way to know about your email campaigns if they are working or not as per the required goals. There are some basic metrics to check the email engagements-

  • Spam complaints
  • Open Rates
  • Click-through rates
  • Delivery Rate

While tracking these metrics, you may notice negative trends but do not worry and work on it to make it a positive one. Work on your email content line, check your email lists, look if you have any inactive emails. Review your subject lines and email frequency. Do A/B testing. Checks how an ISP responds to your email.

TPW Admin

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