No SPF Record

No SPF record found or Too Many Lookups

Have you encountered the prompt message saying “No SPF record found”? If yes, we are here to help you fix the prompt.

Let’s first understand the reason behind this prompt:

The prompt is, in simple terms means that the domain is not configured with Sender Policy Framework (SPF) email authentication protocol. An SPF record is a domain name system (DNS) TXT record published to authenticate emails by cross-checking against the allowed IP addresses that are allowed to send emails from your domain. If the domain invalidates with SPF protocol, a user might get a prompt saying “No SPF record found”.

What is SPF?

SPF stands for Sender Policy framework. It is an email authentication protocol used to prevent the domain from phishing and spoofing attacks. With the deployment of SPF, a user can get information on whether the origin of an email is legitimate or not. SPF, similar to DMARC, uses the domain name system (DNS) technique to monitor which email servers are authenticated to send an email on the behalf of your domain.

Need for SPF configuration

Now that you know what SPF does and how it works. Then, what is the need to configure SPF?

With SPF, the domain owner can monitor and track email behaviour to detect phishing and spoofing attempts and protect the organization from spams and frauds. SPF in conjunction with DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail) and DMARC (Domain-based Message authentication, reporting and conformance), not only helps in preventing phishing attacks, it improves email deliverability drastically and by verifying the identity of the senders, you can rest assured that the emails are landing in the inbox.

Stopping the “No SPF Record Found” Message

To stop the prompt, all a user needs to do is configure SPF on your domain by publishing a DNS TXT record.

Checklist:

  • Choose if you want to select servers listed as MX to send an email.
  • Choose if you want to allow the current IP address to send emails.
  • Enter the authorized IP address to send emails on behalf of your domain.

You can add other server domains which are authorized to deliver from your domain.

  • Select SPF policy mode from:
  • Fail, wherein unauthorized emails will be outright rejected.
  • Soft-fail, wherein unauthorized emails will be accepted but marked.
  • Neutral, wherein unauthorized emails will be accepted.
  • Click on ‘Generate SPF record’ to create your record.

An example of the correct syntax of an SPF record for a dummy domain is given below:

v=spf1 ip6:39.289.148 include:domain.com -all

v=spf1 – Indicates SPF version
ip6 or ip4 – Indicates valid IP addresses authorized to send emails on behalf of your domain.
include – Instructs receiving servers to include the values for the SPF record.
-all – Specifies SPF Fail policy mode, could be changed to ‘-’for Soft Fail and ‘+’ for neutral.

After Publishing an SPF record

 SPF independently cannot protect your domain from being spoofed. SPF has a constraint of 10 DNS lookups. When you exceed this limit, SPF will break and legitimate mails will also fail the authentication protocol. For ultimate and high-level protection against phishing and spoofing attacks, it is crucial to deploy DKIM and DMARC on your domain.