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Set Up Custom Domain Authentication: DKIM and SPF
This walk-through is for vSend users with a vBroadcast license or vCredit holders.
Internet Service Providers (ISPs), like Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft, use DKIM and SPF authentication as a way to scan incoming emails for spam or spoofed addresses. Emails that fail authentication are more likely to arrive in a spam or junk folder.
To help ensure your campaigns reach your recipients’ inboxes and to make your campaigns look more professional, you can set up custom DKIM authentication for your domain, and add vSend to your SPF record.
In this article, you’ll learn how to set up DKIM and add vSend to your SPF record.
Custom Authentication: Task Roadmap
To authenticate your domain, you’ll need to complete tasks in vSend and your domain provider’s zone editor or cPanel. This process requires you to copy and paste information from vSend to your domain provider’s site. We recommend that you work with two browser windows or tabs to easily move between your sites.
Here’s a brief overview of the process.
In Your Domain's cPanel
or Zone Editor
Verify your domain.
Copy two important pieces of information, your CNAME record for DKIM, and your TXT record for SPF
You will Create a CNAME record for your site
api._domainkey.yoursite.com with this value:
Create a TXT record for
yoursite.com with this value:
"v=spf1 +a +mx include:_spf.vsend.io include:_spf.google.com ~all"
**The URLs above are examples only. Replace “yoursite.com” with the domain you want to authenticate.
Verify Domain and Copy Records
To get started, log in to vSend to verify your domain and copy your CNAME and TXT records.
Verify Your Domain
verify your domain ownership and email authentication in the Settings section of your vSend account. Navigate to the
domains page and follow the instructions in this tutorial coupled with the custom update support has provided to you. We’ll let you know when verification is complete.
This process requires you to respond to a confirmation email. If you don’t receive the email after a few moments and you’ve checked your spam or junk folders, contact support for
verification troubleshooting . Copy Authentication Information
After your domain is verified, you’ll copy some important pieces of information in your vSend account.
To find your domain’s authentication information, follow these steps.
Navigate to your
. Verify my Domains DKIM, SPF, and CNAME
Under your domain’s name, click
View setup instructions.
Domain Authentication process support will email you the DNS update, we'll show you what information needs to be added or changed with your domain provider.
In another browser tab or window, use this information to edit your domain’s DNS records, and and click
Authenticate Domain when you’re done.
About DNS Record Changes
To authenticate your domain, navigate to your domain provider’s site. Then, use the the DKIM and SPF information from vSend to update your DNS records.
Domain providers use different names for the page where you’ll update the DNS record, like cPanel, Zone Editor, Zone File Settings, Manage Domains, Domain Manager, DNS Manager, or something similar.
Example CNAME Record for DKIM
Here’s an approximate example of what your CNAME record will need to look like to set up DKIM authentication. Remember, when you edit your own records, these columns and their labels may look different.
DKIM requires underscores in the CNAME file. However, in the past, DNS didn’t allow for underscores and some registrars still do not allow them to appear in the CNAME file. If you receive this type of error when you set up DKIM, the issue is on the registrar's side. We recommend either of these three options: contact your registrar for assistance, set up a secondary custom domain with a registrar that allows underscores, or switch DNS providers.
Depending on your provider, you may need to add a period at the end of your CNAME record. Some providers add this period automatically, so you may want to refer to their help site for more information.
Example TXT Record for SPF
Here’s an approximate example of what your TXT record will need to look like to set up SPF authentication. Remember, when you edit your own records, these columns and their labels may look different.
"v=spf1 +a +mx include:_spf.vsend.io include:servers.mcsv.net include:_spf.google.com ~all"
SPF should be set up with a TXT record, rather than an
If you need hands-on assistance, several third-party services can be hired to help you with SPF setup. Check out
Dmarcian for more information.
When you make your updates, it’s important to also ensure that any other email service provider (ESP) or internet service provider (ISP) you use is also included in your SPF record.
Avoid creating more than one TXT record for SPF. However, you can create multiple values in the same record with an include statement.
"v=spf1 +a +mx include:_spf.vsend.io include:_spf.google.com ~all"
Depending on your provider, you may need to add quotation marks around your entire SPF record.
“v=spf1 +a +mx include:_spf.vsend.io include:_spf.google.com ~all”
How to Edit DNS Records in Common Domain Providers
Here are some instructions for editing DNS records with popular domain providers. If your service isn’t listed here, log in to your provider’s site and search their help documents, or contact their customer support team.
Add a CNAME Record
Manage DNS records
Edit DNS Record
SPF & DKIM
Edit DNS Record
Advanced DNS Settings
How do I get to cpanel?
After records are entered into your DNS correctly, your domain should authenticate within a few moments. In some cases, it may take a bit longer. To complete the verification process, don’t forget to
re-open your vDNS browser tab or window and click
When DNS authentication is successful, you’ll see three green checkmarks on the
vSend logs and stores your authentication when you set it up. If you make further changes to the TXT or CNAME records after you authenticate your domain, it could interfere with the information we have on file. Before you make further changes, disable authentication on the
Verified domains page, and re-authenticate after your DNS changes are complete.
The vDNS public tool will allow you to check if your domain has appropriate DNS records for email authentication.
Each domain host has a unique way of adding/editing DNS records. If you don't know your domain host (e.g. Godaddy), look it up
here. After adding the DNS records, enter your domain below to check if everything is working. Note that records can sometimes take a few hours to propagate.
Please be aware that setting up DKIM/SPF/DMARC is not a "boost" for deliverability, and generally you won't see any noticeable improvement to deliverability after setting up authentication. Unless ofcourse your DNS was improperly setup to begin with. For instance, if you have more than one SPF record, and you don't know what that means than you've been improperly setup and not to worry!! vSend DNS support has got you covered! For more information on why you may want to setup authentication for your domain, check out our
Domain Ownership Verification & Email Authentication knowledgebase.
*You can setup domain authentication for as many domains as necessary.
Need Assistance? Click for DNS Update Support
How to create an SPF/TXT record?
If you are creating the SPF record you will likely be viewing a page with at least two fields, though some hosts or DNS mangers may vary they should be the following: "Host" or "Name" and "Value" or "Points To".
Here is what it may look like for you, depending on your current setup let's be sure to include:_spf.vSend.io any other email delivery or hosts within one SPF record.
Check to see if there are any other SPF records in your domain's DNS. There can only be one SPF record per domain, so if there is an existing record just add include:_spf.vsend.io to that record.
For example, if your domain already has the record:
v=spf1 +a +mx include:_spf.google.com ~all ....then you would just add:
include:_spf.vsend.io The final record would look like this:
v=spf1 +a +mx include:_spf.google.com include:_spf.vsend.io ~all
vSend Customer Success is standing by to assist with your DNS Update and Domain Verification.
(In some hosts, you may leave the field blank as your host may have pre entered your local domain for this field.. However if it is not filled with .yourdomain.com. place an @ symbol under the host or name category. @ means that the record is pointed home at your own domain. Some editors will require the "@" symbol, some DNS managers will require you to enter your own domain, and others will not let you enter anything. Every DNS Editor is different - you may need to contact your hosting provider for more information on how to enter this record correctly).
Domain Alias (CNAME) Verification
CNAME records should be added as a subdomain of your domain. You should place a CNAME record Hosts TRACKING.YOURDOMAIN.COM subomdomain that points to tracking.dkim.vsend.io Once this is setup, the subdomain can't be used for anything else.
CNAMES do not have a large impact on deliverability. Often used to place DKIM and other TXT or SPF, and Domain Ownership Verification.
Need help? Check out our Domain Ownership Verification & Email Authentication knowledgebase