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Email authentication

Email service providers (ESPs) work continuously to verify the legitimacy of inbound emails. They also aim to prevent things like spam and phishing. Email authentication verifies that an email is actually from you or your business. Think of it like a digital signature: it protects your brand, identity and reputation. It's one of the most important steps you can take to improve your deliverability.

SPF and DNS records help ESPs authenticate who is sending emails on your behalf. An SPF record tells the receiving server who is allowed to send emails on your behalf and a DNS record tells the receiving server who is allowed to send emails from your domain. Updating these records is an essential part of email authentication.

In this article, we’ll explain why authentication is important and show you how to update your SPF and DNS records so that Emma is an authorized sender.

Your DNS record can only be changed by the owner or authorized user of your domain. Emma is not able to make these changes on your behalf.

Why authentication matters

The way email was originally designed makes sender details easy to forge, or "spoof". Spammers and phishers take advantage of this by posing as financial institutions, auction sites, utility companies or otherwise to steal money or spread malicious software. In addition to harming the recipients of these spam emails, the companies and brands that have been impersonated are also harmed.

If you haven't authorized Emma to send email on your behalf, most ESPs will flag the email as coming from a different server, which can cause the email to be blocked to protect their users, or cause the email to end up in the recipient’s spam folder. Authenticating improves deliverability, as you are properly stating your identity to recipient mail servers.

Authorize Emma as a sender

To set up your Emma account as an authorized sender, you’ll need to update your SPF and DNS records. Making these changes will authenticate your email so that we are able to properly send emails on your behalf.

Update your SPF record

The first step in authenticating your email is updating your SPF record so that Emma can send emails on your behalf.

To update your SPF record:

  1. Open an SPF wizard to begin. (We recommend SPF Wizard.)
  2. Enter your domain name. If you send emails from, your domain is
  3. Select No from the next three dropdown menus: “Allow servers listed as MX to send email for this domain”, “Allow current IP address of the domain to send email for this domain” and “Allow any host name ending in to send email for this domain”.
  4. Add to “Any domains that may deliver or relay email for this domain”.
  5. Select Fail from the “How strict should be the servers treating the emails?” dropdown menu.

Once complete your form will look like the screenshot below:

Your new SPF record will be displayed at the top. Copy and paste the updated record into a text document on your computer and save the information. You’ll need the SPF record to update your DNS record below.

Add the SPF record to your DNS

After following the instructions above to update your SPF record, you’ll need to add the new SPF record to your domain’s DNS record. Modifying your DNS record, tells your domain which company’s server it should reach out to. This will allow your ESP to authenticate that any email sent through Emma is verified as coming from your domain.

The best way to add your updated SPF record to your domain is to contact your domain’s technical team member who manages your DNS information.

If you aren’t sure who your domain’s technical contact is, go to and type your domain name in the search box. The technical contact’s name, phone number and email address should be listed on the domain data page.

SPF records for Emma HQ accounts

If you’re an Emma HQ account owner offering email marketing services to your clients, you’ll want to make sure to add Emma to your own SPF and DNS record first. This will help ensure the delivery of your invitations to both your subaccounts and team members (whitelisting may also be necessary). Once you have added Emma to your records, you’ll be able to walk your clients through the same process so they can add you as an authorized sender to their SPF records. By adding your sending domain to their SPF records, they are adding Emma as well since you previously added Emma to your SPF record.

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