If you have been following our blog for a while, you know how many blog posts we dedicate to email authentication protocols. Mentions of SPF, DKIM, and DMARC can be found in almost every piece of content we release. There is a good reason for that, and we're going to break it down for you right here, right now.
What is email authentication?
Nowadays, many spammers and phishers try new ways of identity theft and discrediting respectful senders, so even if your sender reputation is high and you put a lot of effort into building trust with internet service providers, it can all be destroyed just by one cybercriminal.
This is why you have email authentication.
Email authentication is a set of protocols that help mailbox providers and email service providers to tell legitimate emails from illegitimate and malicious ones. With these protocols in place, you can rest assured that all emails sent by someone pretending to be you will never reach your recipients, while your messages will always be granted access to inboxes.
Why is email authentication important?
In addition to increased safety and protection from spoofing, email authentication provides a ton of other benefits that you can’t simply ignore if your goal is to help your company make a name for itself in its industry.
- Improved deliverability. This is the most obvious advantage, but it's still worth mentioning. When receiving servers struggle with authenticating incoming emails, they would rather mark the domain as suspicious and cease all the interactions. The less time it takes for email service providers to identify your mail, the higher your inbox placement rate and engagement rate will grow.
- Increased brand reputation. In the modern world, anyone can open an e-store or start providing services without leaving their home. However, only those who take security measures seriously will be taken into account and acknowledged by their target audience. Since so many brands keep popping up, email service providers pay close attention to whether their domains are authenticated and the probability of them generating malicious email activity. It's just like owning a physical store - you must all have the IDs, all the certificates proving that you're a real deal, not just a random opportunist.
- Greater brand awareness. Contemporary email authentication solutions do even more to help you establish yourself as a certified sender. For example, BIMI allows you to display your brand's logo in the inboxes of your prospects right before they open your message, making your company more recognizable and instantly making your recipients feel at ease. We do not doubt that new measures that combine security with improved brand recognition will be implemented shortly, so it would be wise to put the existing trends to use and look out for innovation.
What is email authentication made of?
So, we’ve talked about how email authentication can help you. Now, let’s explore its safety protocols.
Those protocols are based on corresponding DNS records. You add those by creating a text string containing specific mechanisms and modifiers, saving it as a TXT file, accessing your DNS settings, and then publishing it in the DNS file zone of your domain. It's not a complicated procedure…for a knowing expert, so if you're new to email authentication, you can do the following:
- Rely on your email service provider. Services like Gmail generate an SPF record and a DKIM record for you automatically. It’s convenient if you’re a casual sender, but if you invest in email marketing and want to keep a close eye on your delivery status, you would still need to make some adjustments.
- Ask a professional to work on your DNS records. Mailbox engineers and outreach experts know their way around DNS record mechanisms, so they will be able to edit those to match your email marketing needs and help you publish them properly. In general, you should consult these experts to avoid creating a faulty or duplicated record.
- Use DNS record generators. You no longer have to create an SPF record or a DKIM record manually. There is an abundance of free services that can instantly generate a text string that features all the important information about your domain. For example, our Folderly SPF record generator lets you add all the services you use for sending mail, takes your policy for processing unidentified mail into account, and even lets you choose advanced features for building a more specific relationship with the recipient servers.
The good side of implementing email authentication protocols is that no matter how hard and complicated they are, establishing or fixing them would still be faster than building a solid domain reputation. So make sure to monitor your records and don’t hesitate to ask for help whenever you notice that something is off.
Email authentication is not a step you can skip. It’s an absolute must for your email outreach and your email marketing, granting you visibility and making email exchange a safer process. By following safety guidelines and implementing security protocols, you solidify yourself as a trustworthy sender and ensure that mailbox providers are looking forward to your mail.
If you want to know how your DNS records are performing, you're welcome to use Folderly and run a domain health check. It will give you a detailed introduction to your security protocols and let you see how well they deal with their tasks.