What is an SPF record and why do I need one?

An SPF record, sometimes referred to as a Sender Policy Framework, is essentially an email authentication tool. It's used to detect forging sender email addresses and is important to prevent spammers or scammers from pretending to be you. However, while it's important to set up for security reasons, having it set up incorrectly or not at all can be harmful for your email deliverability. This is because it can lead to falsely labelled forged senders, which can cause the email to 'bounce', effectively meaning the recipients won't receive it.

In the following steps, we'll walk you through exactly how to make or update your own SPF record.

Step 1

Next, we need check whether you already have an SPF record, generally, we should only ever have 1 SPF record, so if we already have one, we will need to edit it instead of creating a new one.

To check if you already have an SPF record, open https://mxtoolbox.com in another tab.

Then, enter your domain into the search bar in the top left > Click 'MX Lookup' > Click the down arrow next to MX Lookup > Select 'SPF Record Lookup' from the drop down > Click the 'SPF Record Lookup' button.

Just bellow, you should now either see a green or red box with some text in (see image below). This means you already have an SPF record.

If you don't already have an SPF record, you like just see a message that looks like this:

Step 2

Now we need to head back to your domain hosting.

If you already have an SPF record, you only need to add the 'Include' statements in green below.

If you don't have an SPF record, we will need to make one from scratch. To do this, we will either need to click Add, and then select the record type, or we will need to find the TXT record section and add a new record from there.

Once we've selected a TXT record, there should be 3-4 options: Type (TXT) - Name (or Host) - Value (or Points To) - TTL

The type, if you have the option, should be selected as TXT.

The Name (or Host) should be set to: @

The Value (or Points To) should be set to:
v=spf1 a mx a:exela.co.uk ip4: include:_spf.google.com include:infusionmail.com ~all

Red: Write your domain
Blue: Write your domain IP address
Green: You can have up to 10 'Include' Statements (Lookups) in one SPF record. These are the mail servers you're authorising permission to send emails through. In this case, we've allowed Google (Gmail) and Infusionsoft (our CRM / email marketing tool).

To see some of the most common 'Lookups' you may need to include in your SPF record, check out this post HERE

Step 3

Once you have completed all of the above steps, your SPF record should be correct and working!

To check if your SPF record is working, you can head to MXToolbox.com and conduct an SPF Record Lookup. You should see all of the changes we have made in a green box near the top of the screen.