How to stop your business email going into your customer spam . In other words, why you need to check that your business email domain has SPF, DKIM and DMARC records set up correctly.

This is a biggie for every business regardless of size. Both Google and Yahoo are going to be carrying out more validation on email addresses sending bulk emails.  The extra validation is going to prevent spamming, spoofing ( emails not from who they appear to be from) and fraud. This is great news as a personal email user of google or yahoo, but potentially a big headache for all businesses sending emails.  

These new validation requirements will definitely impact any email address using email marketing systems like Mailerlite, Mailchimp, Active Campaign etc. Hence a reason why MailerLite are discontinuing their free classic version and asking accounts to upgrade to their new version.

It can also impact any business sending emails. If your customers complain that your emails are going to their spam boxes, or perhaps you’re sending out emails that are getting rejected straight away. This could be the reason why.

The validation requirements are that your business email domain will need to have DNS (network) records for SPF, DKIM and potentially DMARC. 

Warning to Businesses using gmail or yahoo email addresses:

The huge implication here is that if you are using a free generic email with gmail, yahoo or similar, you won’t have DNS records to set up SPF, DKIM or DMARC. You need a business email account on your business domain (e.g.  

The good news is that there are free and low cost options to set up a business email (google workspace or zoho) and they have great documentation on how to set up SPF, DKIM, DMARC. Plus if you have moved to or already using the new version of Mailerlite, the authentication shows you how to set up SPF.

Even if you don’t use an email marketing system, you should get these records set up. Setting up a proper business email may feel like a hassle, but it is very much worth doing. Aside from the email validation part, proper business emails will look more professional and potential new clients or suppliers will take you more seriously.

Tips to check your DNS, SPF, DKIM and DMARC records

If you already have a business email address, then all you need to do is follow the instructions to set up SPF, DKIM and DMARC.  If you are curious and want to sort this out yourself, here are some steps you may want to check.  Of course if this sounds really complicated and you’re worried and want to chat about it, go straight to how I can help you.

How I Can Help



Where are my DNS records?  

They are most likely to be on the dashboard for your website hosting. If you don’t manage your own website, you may need to go back to your web developer to make the changes. Alternatively they may be on the site where you registered your domain:



What does an SPF record look like?

Common SPF records will look these commonly used systems:

Google TXT @ “v=spf1 ~all”
Zoho TXT @ “v=spf1 ~all”
Ionos TXT @ “v=spf1 ~all”

However it is important that you ONLY have 1 SPF record. Therefore you might need to combine them – here are some examples.

Google & MailerLite TXT @ “v=spf1 a mx ~all”
Zoho & Active Campaign TXT @ “v=spf1 ~all”
Ionos & MailerLite TXT @ “v=spf1 ~all”


What does a DKIM records look like?

This is the most complicated of the three.  Through helping my clients, I’ve discovered there are 2 types:



DKIM defined by a unique key.

This type is generally used where your email is hosted separately to your website. E.g google workspace or zoho:

Google TXT google._domainkey “v=DKIM1; k=rsa; p=[folllowed by a very long unique key]”
Zoho TXT zmail._domainkey “v=DKIM1; k=rsa; p=[folllowed by a very long unique key]”
DKIM defined by CNAME records. 

This could be if your email is hosted by your web hosting provider or if you use Active Campaign.  A  few weeks ago, I’d assumed one of my web mail accounts, hadn’t had any of this set up, but when I checked the DNS records, my hosting company had added some records – which was a nice surprise.  Here are some examples

Ionos Record 1 CNAME s1-ionos._domainkey
Ionos Record 2 CNAME s2-ionos._domainkey
Ionos Record 3 CNAME s42582890._domainkey


What does DMARC records look like?

These are relatively straight forward – they normally look like those below. It’s important that you only set up DMARC once you are sure SPF and DKIM are set up correctly.

TXT _dmarc “v=DMARC1; p=none; rua=mailto:youremailaddress” p=none is considered the least secure
TXT _dmarc “v=DMARC1; p=quarantine; rua=mailto:youremailaddress” If your email isn’t validated for some reason, it will go to spam
TXT _dmarc “v=DMARC1; p=reject; rua=mailto:youremailaddress” If your email isn’t validated for some reason, it will be rejected full stop



Next, how do you check what you’ve got?

One way is to send an email from your business email address to your personal gmail address.

  • Go to menu on the top right hand side ( 3 dots)
  • Choose “<> show original”
  • Look for authentication results – it should show SPF, DKIM and DMARC as pass – see example below.

If you have active campaign as your EMS try this page:

There are some free domain checkers on the internet – feel free to try these, however be aware that they are probably trying to sell you additional services.  Plus some of them don’t detect the CNAME DKIM record:



How To Update Your DNS Records

Now you’ve been through all of that and if you manage your website yourself, you may want to update your DNS records yourself.  Note that it’s always advised that you back up your DNS records before you make changes – making mistakes could stop your website and email services from working. Here are some useful resources, depending on where your email is hosted:

You could also contact your web developer or web hosting company to make changes.

How I Can Help

As always, I’m here to help, so if you think this impacts you and you need help, you can fill in this form and we can set up a one to one to sort it all out. Depending on how much you need to set up, sessions may be £29 or £59 – I’ll send you an email to let you know and if you have any queries, we can have a free discovery call.

Even if you don’t use an email marketing system, it’s always a good idea to

  • Have a proper business email address
  • Set up DKIM, SPF and DMARC to make sure your emails are validated and don’t end up in your customers’ spam folders.

I hope you’ve found this useful in your quest to stop business email going to spam. I’ve kept this page quite light on techie details – after all we can drive a car well without understanding what goes on under the bonnet.  However if you are curious, this what the acronyms means:

  • SPF – Sender Policy Framework (not sun protection factor after all!)
  • DNS – Domain Name System
  • DKIM – DomainKeys Identified Mail
  • DMARC – Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance

So there you go!  Do let me know how you get on