What is SPF PermError and How to Fix It?

spf permerror

In order to build a reliable and secure communication system, email authentication is the most vital element. Sender Framework Policy (SPF) is a widely adopted email authentication method. Despite its smooth deployment with DMARC, DKIM, and BIMI, it can often encounter issues such as SPF Permerror.

SPF produces a PermError (permanent error) when a domain’s SPF record cannot be appropriately understood. Unlike an SPF TempError (temporary error), an SPF PermError necessitates action on the part of the system administrator to resolve the problem. 

In this blog, we will delve deeper into the SPF Permerror, its potential causes, and how to fix it. Acknowledging and fixing SPF Permerror is likely to enhance email deliverability and mitigate the risk of unauthorized use of your domain.

What is SPF PermError?

SPF Permerrors, also known as “SPF Permanent Errors,” are among the most frequent SPF mistakes that appear when the domain’s SPF record cannot be correctly understood, preventing smooth email deliverability.
It also refers to a status code in the Sender Policy Framework (SPF). When an email server encounters an SPF Permerror, it signifies that the SPF record for the sending domain contains errors or is misconfigured. The server is unable to process the SPF policy due to these inconsistencies, resulting in potential deliverability issues.

Why does an SPF PermError Occur?

  • If there is a syntax problem in the SPF record.
  • Whenever a domain has several SPF records.
  • If an SPF record contains more than 10 DNS mechanism evaluations.

What are the causes of SPF PermError?

  • Syntax Errors: SPF records must adhere to specific syntax rules. Incorrectly placed or missing characters, improper spacing, or invalid formatting can trigger SPF Permerror. It is essential to double-check the syntax of the SPF record for any anomalies. 
  • DNS Lookup Failures: SPF records rely on DNS (Domain Name System) lookups to retrieve information about authorized senders. If the DNS lookup fails or encounters timeouts, the email server may encounter an SPF Permerror.
  • Nested SPF Records: SPF Permerror can occur when there are multiple SPF records associated with a domain, leading to conflicts and ambiguities. It is crucial to consolidate all SPF records into a single, comprehensive record to avoid conflicts.
  • Maximum DNS Query Limit: Some email servers impose a limit on the number of DNS queries they perform for SPF records. If the number of lookups exceeds the limit, it may result in SPF Permerror. Reducing the number of DNS lookups or consolidating multiple SPF records can help resolve this issue.

Check out our blog on how to set up SPF, DKIM, AND DMARC Records to know more

How to fix SPF PermError Error?

  • Review and Validate SPF Record: Commence by reviewing the existing SPF record for your domain. Make sure to verify the correct syntax. Verify that all authorized email servers and IP addresses are included. Online SPF validation tools can help identify any syntax errors or inconsistencies.   
  • Consolidate SPF Records: In case your domain has numerous SPF records, consolidate them into a single record. Combining the records eliminates conflicts and provides a clear and comprehensive SPF policy. Make sure to include all authorized email servers and IP addresses from the individual records in the consolidated record.
  • Address DNS Lookup Issues: DNS lookup failures are likely to trigger SPF Permerror. Make sure that your DNS server is functioning correctly and that the SPF record is accessible. Additionally, check for any DNS configuration issues or network connectivity problems that may impact DNS lookups. Collaborating with your domain’s DNS provider can help diagnose and resolve these issues.
  • Reduce DNS lookups: If your SPF record involves numerous DNS lookups, consider reducing them to stay within the limitations imposed by some email servers. Use mechanisms like “include” or “redirect” sparingly, as each additional lookup increases the risk of SPF Permerror. Instead, consider adding the specific IP addresses of authorized email servers directly into the SPF record.
  • Monitor SPF Record Changes: Periodically review and update your SPF record to reflect any changes in your email infrastructure. Add or remove authorized senders as necessary. Regular monitoring ensures that your SPF record remains accurate and up to date.


If you face any issues resolving SPF Permerror for your domain, then make sure to get in touch with our experts. In order to promote email security, check GoDMARC pricing and get a basic DMARC plan at a pocket-friendly price. Verify your SPF record within seconds, with our free SPF lookup tool to get accurate results. We offer tailored recommendations to resolve problems and offer a smooth networking experience to your visitors. 

Check out this blog to know more about how to set up your domain sender policy framework without errors.


Q1. What causes SPF Permerror?

SPF Permerror can be caused by various factors, such as invalid syntax in the SPF record, exceeding the DNS lookup limit, including unsupported mechanisms or modifiers, or encountering DNS resolution issues.

Q2. How does SPF Permerror impact email delivery?

SPF Permerror can lead to email delivery issues as it indicates a problem with the SPF record, potentially resulting in the recipient’s email server rejecting or marking the email as suspicious or spam.

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