Set up SPF to help with email delivery

A Sender Policy Framework (SPF) record is a DNS record that identifies specific mail servers that can send emails on behalf of your domain. Its main purpose is to prevent spam and ensure delivery of legitimate emails.

This article will help you understand why these records are important, and why you should create an SPF record for Helprace.

Why SPF is important?

When a users's mail server receives a message from your domain name, it compares the SPF record to the sender's server information. If the information doesn't match, the email message is considered unauthorized.

Without an SPF record specifying Helprace as an approved sender, your email may be marked as spam or junk and fail to reach the user. A properly added SPF record virtually guarantees that your email won't be caught in the spam filter.

Check Postmark's guide on SPF if you wish to learn more technical details about how SPF works.

"via helprace.com"

If you're sending your emails via Helprace without setting up a valid SPF record, you might have noticed that your outgoing emails have a "via helprace.com" mark. You need to configure SPF to prevent that "via" from showing up when your customers are looking at your emails.

Are SPF and DKIM required if I'm using custom SMTP?

Yes. In case of SMTP failure we fall back to our mail server for sending your emails. It would be important for proper email delivery to have an SPF record that includes Helprace as a permitted sender. It would also be nice to have DKIM set up.

Setting up SPF

Make sure you have access to your domain control panel. You would need to create or update DNS records in order to set up SPF.

Open your Helprace Admin Panel.

Go to Settings > TICKETS > Mailboxes.

Click on your team's custom mailbox.

Expand the SPF section. You'll see a suggested SPF record there.

Open your domain control panel and apply the suggested SPF record there. If you're unsure how to do that, check the DNS tutorials at the end of this article. Depending on whether you already have an SPF record you would need to update it or add a new record.

Updating existing SPF record

If you have an existing SPF record in your domain control panel, e.g.

v=spf1 a mx include:acme.com ~all

you can update it to include the domain (add only text in bold):

v=spf1 a mx include:acme.com include:spf.helprace.com ~all

Please ensure that no more than 10 domains are included in SPF record simultaneously. Otherwise it would result in error.

Adding a new SPF record

If you don't have an SPF record for your domain yet, add the suggested record, e.g.:

v=spf1 a mx include:spf.helprace.com ~all

Instead of a single line input shown above, you may have a form with multiple fields. In that case:

  • Type / Record Type: TXT Record
    (SPF records are added to your domain's DNS as a TXT record; SPF type record is deprecated)
  • Host: @
    (@ is a placeholder for your domain)
  • Text / Value / Content: v=spf1 a mx include:spf.helprace.com ~all
    (your suggested SPF record)
  • Time to Live / TTL: 3600 
    (optional; usually specified in seconds, it affects how soon the record propagates)

Once you've updated your DNS records, you can go back to the mailbox and click Test button to ensure that your SPF configuration is valid. It should turn to green checkmark if everything is working correctly. Please note, it can take up to 24 hours for DNS changes to propagate (usually this happens within an hour).

To check the syntax of an SPF record you have created/edited, go to SPF Syntax Validator
To check the effectiveness of your SPF record, go to SPF Policy Tester

DNS tutorials for specific ISPs

If your ISP is not listed here, try searching your ISP documentation for "Edit SPF records", "Create an SPF TXT record", or "Editing DNS records".

If you don't think you have access to your site DNS settings, pass this information on to your website administrator or the IT guy. They will know what to do.

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