The Basics of SPF Records

The Basics of SPF Records

Jul 28, 2021, 10:01:52 AM Tech and Science

What comes to mind when you hear the term SPF? If you're new to email, it likely makes you think of sunscreen (it's June, after all). However, SPF records, it turns out, are a different form of SPF protection that is more relevant to the email sector.

No, this does not refer to how long you can go without reapplying for your sunscreen (seriously, get some). Instead, the name "SPF" denotes a security feature that protects your sender ID and domain.

Ready? Let’s dive in.

What is an SPF record?

SPF, or Sender Policy Framework, is an email authentication mechanism that allows domain administrators to create SPF records that designate which servers are allowed to send email from that domain. SPF helps protect your 

email transmission from spoofing attempts when used in conjunction with other email authentication methods such as DKIM or DMARC.

SPF records, to put it another way, keep track of all the approved sources that can send email messages from a specific domain name. This ensures that an unauthorised address will not be able to acquire access to your domain and send emails in your name.Others who have access to or try phishing or “spoofing” (pretending to transmit from) your domain name could send emails as you if SPF records were not in place, causing damage to your business and reputation.

SPF records are a relative innovation invented in the early 2000s—probably while you were viewing the latest Harry Potter film or listening to Britney Spears on TRL. However, due to their benefits and convenience of use, they have become widely used in a relatively short period.

What are the benefits of using SPF authentication? Most people are becoming more interested in different forms of email security measures now that we've all moved on from clunky 2000s technology (goodbye, beepers) and started using email regularly. However, SPF authentication's primary purpose—and benefit—is email security.

SPF records add an extra layer of security to your sending domain by authenticating the IP addresses associated with it.They do this to protect your reputation from individuals who might use your domain for destructive purposes. As a result, you may spend less time worrying about security and reputational damage and more time focusing on how your domain and messages can help you improve your email programme and achieve your business objectives.

Another advantage of SPF records is that they are pretty simple to use—but more on that later. Let's have a look at how SPF addresses function.

How do SPF records work?

The operation of an SPF record over SMTP is relatively straightforward. When you send a message, the sending mail server (you) establishes contact with the receiving mail server (your recipient, if that wasn't clear). Thus, your IP address is visible to your recipient's server, and the two servers exchange essential information before your server delivers your SMTP mail.

An SPF record for your message sending domain or hostname can then be used by your recipient's email server to verify that the IP address it previously observed is authorised to send mail for that domain. If the address is accepted, the recipient's server accepts the message and completes the email transfer.

The recipient's server will not accept the message if the address is not allowed, and the email will not be delivered. When it comes to email processes, it's straightforward. It is beneficial since it means you'll have no trouble grasping the notion when setting up SPF records and creating an SPF policy with your preferred email service.

Key takeaways

By now, it should be evident that poor email security is as obsolete as the Y2K scare. SPF records improve email security by checking which IP addresses are allowed to send from your domain and guaranteeing that your sender ID reputation is protected against spammers and spoofing efforts. As a result, you may spend less time worrying about your reputation and more time caring about your business if you use them.

It's always a good idea to make sure you're safe if you're in question. So, whether it's (sun) SPF or (email) SPF, give it a shot and see how it might assist you in dealing with the heat.


Published by nimisha rawat

Written by nimisha rawat

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