How Do SPF, DKIM, And DMARC Work Together?

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Making sure your email messages are properly authenticated is one of these best practices. SPF, DKIM, and DMARC are the three foundations of email authentication, which might be challenging to comprehend. Let’s examine these email authentication components and why they are so crucial.

Authentication can be defined as the act or procedure of demonstrating or verifying the authenticity or validity of something. SPF, DKIM, and DMARC come up when we talk about email authentication. These methods offer evidence that email communication is authentic and originates from the person it purports to. The guidelines or precautions that Norway has in place for 2018 to avoid sending bogus emails. SPF protocol is the gold standard, according to 76% of respondents. DMARC is the standard that respondents (24%) find to be least favored.

Therefore, why is email authentication important? It is even more crucial that your messages are provided and verified. Given the deluge of spam and phishing emails currently circulating in the email world. Email authentication serves as your digital ID card and aids in the recognition of your legitimate emails by mailbox providers (MBPs) and spam filtering software.

SPF and DKIM are the two main authentication algorithms that aid in confirming that an email communication originates from the source that it purports to. DMARC policy is at the peak of SPF and DKIM. DMARC employs SPF and DKIM. And it offers recipient email servers a set of guidelines on what to do if they receive unauthenticated mail.

Let’s understand SPF, DKIM, and SPF and inspect each of these three useful email authentication solutions now that you understand them.

What Is SPF?

Sender Policy Framework (SPF strengthens your DNS servers), which also limits who can send emails from your domain. SPF protocol can stop domain spoofing. It makes it possible for your mail server to identify when a message originated from the domain it uses. As its name suggests, SPF comprises three principal components: a policy framework, an authentication technique, and particular headers in the email itself that convey this information. SPF was initially suggested with IETF standard 4408 back in 2006, and it was most recently updated in 2014 with standard 7208.

What is DKIM?

Your email’s content will remain trusted and won’t have been altered or compromised thanks to DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM). It was first put forth in 2007 and has since undergone several updates, the most recent of which was the IETF standard 8301 this past January. The IETF standard 7372 was changed in 2014 and applied to both SPF and DKIM checker.

What is DMARC?

With a set of uniform policies, Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance (DMARC) connect the first two protocols. It has improved feedback from mail receivers and relates the sender’s domain name to the information in the From header. In 2015, the IETF recommended DMARC record checker as standard 7489.

Why Do You Require SPF, DKIM, And DMARC?

The most common ways for hackers to access the network are phishing and email spam. Ransomware, crypto-jacking scripts, data leaks, or privilege escalation attacks can compromise an entire company if just one user opens a malicious email attachment.

The reason most businesses use all three measures to safeguard their email systems is less recognized. The different solutions don’t all overlap, as is common in the IT industry. They actually work well together, therefore it’s likely that the typical firm will want all three of them.

Now, let us move on to understand how SPF, DKIM, and DMARC work together.

Combine The Use Of SPF, DKIM, and DMARC

Let’s examine each of the three strategies in more detail. Why do we first need all three? Each prevents phishing and spam by resolving a little piece of the email puzzle uniquely. This is achieved using a combination of common authentication and encryption technologies, including the addition of special DNS records to authenticate email arriving from your domains and public and private key signing.

Second, because of the development of email protocols on the internet, we require three. Academic scholars, who shared a sense of community and trust similar to that of the Cheers TV bar mostly used email in the early days of the internet. Those times, sadly, are long gone.

The To From: and Bcc: addresses of the message were purposefully kept separate from the message’s actual content. This was a feature, and if you consider how Bcc: functions, you can see why it is crucial, but the split has caused IT managers in the modern period new kinds of suffering.

You can be sure that messages can’t be easily falsified and that you can prevent them from ever darkening your users’ inboxes if your email infrastructure properly implements all three protocols. That is a general notion, but as you will see, it is a big if.

The Challenges Of Configuring DMARC, DKIM, and SPF 

For instance, you must configure SPF and DMARC services for each domain you own in order for them to function. The setup might quickly become onerous if your business manages many domains or sub-domains. 

If you use Google for email, they instruct you how to create your domain key and use DKIM. If you manage your domain through cPanel, they give recommendations for setting up the various DNS records. Once you believe you are finished, you may use an online tool to confirm that your email headers contain the correct DKIM lookup keys.

Although there are tools to aid, configuring everything will take highly specialized knowledge. Even your company’s DNS expert might not be familiar with the commands required by each protocol; this isn’t because of a lack of understanding, but of the fact that they aren’t used and might be difficult to correct syntax. Setting up the protocols in a precise order is one thing that can be helpful.

The Bottom Line

Contact your support team and ask them to check to see if you’re already using email authentication before implementing SPF, DKIM, and DMARC record checker. They will have the essential information to assist you in configuring the right authentication for their platform if you aren’t. You can cross that item off your list if you are.

Enabling email authentication is essential for protecting your brand’s reputation and for ensuring that your emails are sent. This is done by lowering the likelihood that an unauthorized sender would be successful in using your domain without your knowledge or approval.

DMARC policy provides email phishing protection for your domain. You can get through the DMARC Reject Stage considerably more swiftly with the aid of our experts and a powerful analytical tool like the GoDMARC. To comprehend the GoDMARC policies, you must review the DMARC pricing options. 


Q1. How do DMARC and SPF interact?

DMARC check and alignment: The SPF and DKIM authentication are verified using the DMARC alignment procedure, which also matches the form domain to the return path. Based on these results, the DMARC tool is then applied. The email ends up in the inbox folder if the SPF and/or DKIM checks succeed.

Q2. Why do SPF and DKIM pass but DMARC fail?

DKIM and DMARC checks fail for your message because the receiving MTA cannot align the two domains (if your messages are aligned against both SPF and DKIM).

Q3 Why do I need DMARC if SPF suffices?

Without DMARC, the SPF operates. SPF may have several shortcomings, thus relying just on it will not be sufficient. Using either DKIM or SPF records, DMARC verifies the sender of an email. When you generate SPF record, it doesn’t give domain owners a way to send reports of unsuccessful deliveries.

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