SPF verification

I’m hoping some of you have surmounted this hurdle and can advise.
After quite a while of emails which I send ending up in people’s spam folder (especially if they have gmail accounts), today I was replying to an email (gmail again) but my reply got bounced saying it was because our domain name didn’t have SPF verification. It also said that this only applied to new emails being sent, not where there had been email exchanges before (something that is self-evidently untrue).
I assume I have to go onto our hosting site and set this up but could do with any advice available before I wade into a French hosting site. Any help gratefully received.

No expertise on this but I’m certain that you have already seen this reference:

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Thanks @graham - I’ve just read through it but it’s somewhat daunting. It seems to assume, or perhaps I’m wrong, that we have our own mail server, which we don’t. Mail is sent from wherever we are via SMTP to our domain host and goes on from there. It’s a bit difficult to see how we could possibly set up a record for each ip address we might be sending from - could be anywhere we happen to be! Do you have your own domain name that you use for your email addresses?

Assuming that you have a custom domain and have an email address which looks like user@yourdomain.com then you will have an email server.

DM me your personal email and I’ll see if I can figure out what needs to go into your SPF (it’s a DNS configuration thing).

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Yeah I’ve got experience of SPF (and DKIM & DMARC) so happy to help out if @billybutcher isn’t able to. Would also need to know your domain name being used though.

You don’t need to, you just need to say that the IP addresses that your domain host uses are valid for your domain.

Yes, and it has an SPF record :slight_smile:

Thank you @graham, @billybutcher and @gareth I very much appreciate your help qnd will come back to you tomorrow, if that’s ok. Today has been rather difficult but I should be able to get the brain in gear by tomorrow :smiley:

We are using two different hosting companies through whom our emalls pass when submitted from here and have several domain names in use. Sounds muddled…back tomorrow…

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Afternoon all. Following the leads given so far, my partner is playing with the TXT bit of one of our domain/email hosts, so I’m going to let him play for a bit as he could do with a morale boost! If he doesn’t get there, I’ll be coming back to you, so thank you so much for your offers of help.

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I am of the opinion that any half decent mail service provider should include the setting up of the SPF envelope validation in its service offerings. I have a business mail service hosted on a virtual private server, when I started getting error messages like yours from clients with whom I’d been exchanging for years, I got in touch with the hosting provider’s support centre, and they sorted it out for me (for free).

I would add that almost inevitably, the problem has occurred when the hosting provider has changed something in their setup, without informing the client in advance.

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That’s useful to know @RicePudding - thanks!

In terms of the SPF you could do worse than starting with “v=spf1 mx -all” - which basically says any valid destination for email to your domain is also a valid source.

The problem there is that some large hosting/emai providers might use different addresses for inbound and outbound email.

In desperation you could use “v=spf1 +all” which means *any* IP address is a valid source for email from your domain - kind-of defeats the purpose of SPF but should work.

If they are hosting your web site, email and DNS I’d agree.

If only because they will know what IP addresses they are using for processing your email - which, otherwise, might be a bit of a faff to discover.


Especially if, as in my case, they are using load balancing proxy mail servers with alternating IP addresses.


Thanks to everyone who has flagged this problem up & mentioned solutions.

At almost exactly the same time that this thread commenced I started getting email failure notices in relation to messages sent to someone who I have emailed countless times over the years. They use a Gmail address.

The email address I use to send to them is not a real mailbox - it is a redirect address set up using the one real mailbox that I have with my domain host.

Anyway, thanks to advice above I explored my domain hosts help sections & discovered how to set up SPF verification for the three domains that I use for email traffic (I have .fr , .com , & .eu versions of the same domain name). Ionos are my domain host.

Thus far the problem seems to have gone away.

P.S. Despite getting bounce messages the recipient that I got them in relation to did still get the emails (or so they claim). Odd…?


My problems of various sorts almost always arise from recipients with gmail addresses :roll_eyes:

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does seem to be an issue with gmail… I set up a new ubuntu instance (v22.04) and tried to set up my gmal account in Thunderbird but despite it working absolutely fine in the 20.04 instance, it wouldn’t in a new instance 22.04 until I disabled UFW (uncomplicated firewall) and then it would install correctly re enabling UFW thereafter of course.
I didn’t keep a note of the research I did but there was a reference to recent changes made by Google which appeared to be the cause of the issue.

I know a few years ago Ionos could not set up SPF verification - we ended up changing provider.

Could not or would not?

If they were the ones providing DNS then they should have been able to insert a TXT record for the domain.

I used to have an Ionos VPS but the cost kept creeping up and it was too restricted - I switched to a Kimsufi dedicated server

Their tech help desk finally admitted the service was not actually available despite being advertised.


I can’t see how they could operate an RFC 1035 compliant DNS server and not be able to insert the relevant txt record.

Of course if they weren’t doing DNS for you they wouldn’t have been able to make changes to your DNS records - I don’t recall having DNS bundled when I rented the VPS - well, other than the “raw” hostname managed by Ionos themselves.