An absolutely CRITICAL step in maximizing email deliverability is setting up your custom tracking domain.

Otherwise, you're most likely to go to spam with a first-class ticket. However, when you read DKIM, SPF, and MX records, it feels like a whole lot of pain to set it up.

It was... until now. We'll save you time with precise, step-by-step instructions, no matter what provider you're using.

Allow me to redirect you to your precise instructions. Tell me, what email provider are you using?

Or if you wanna learn why these records are so important, you can start from the top. 👇

What are DKIM, SPF & MX records?

Domain authentication represents an important component of an email strategy.

When an email provider performs an “ID check”, they want to verify that the email is actually coming from you and not somebody else. This is the way the internet fights spammers.

There are 3 main ways to set up email authentication... you guessed it:

  • SPF (Sender Policy Framework) is an email validation system designed to prevent spam by verifying the sender’s IP address
  • DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail) indicates ownership of the email message by a particular organization
  • MX record (Mail Exchanger) tells the world which mail servers accept incoming mail for your domain and where emails sent to your domain should be routed to

Here's a simple test! We took the same email address, we wrote the same email but changed the technical part (SPF, DKIM, MX records...).

The email without the setup had a "stormy" experience.

domain authentication

Proper setup = proper experience

domain authentication

A quite powerful impact, right?😳

How to check your current SPF, DKIM, and MX records?

Don't know if everything is ok with your tech setup?

Go to the mailbox checker and put your domain to check your current SPF and DKIM settings.

SPF and DKIM checker

DKIM, SPF, & MX - Google tutorials

Google is a favorite for many of us.

Depending on the company whose your domain provider, you have a choice to make. After you do, I'll redirect you to the right tutorial.

Have Qs? Lemme know...

General set up (all domain providers)

Let's start with the general setup for all domain providers.

How to set up SPF record

No matter what domain hosting you use right now, there is only 1 thing you need to do to validate SPF:

  1. Go to your DNS settings
  2. Create a new record
  3. Choose "TXT"
  4. Put "@" in name
  5. Put v=spf1 include:_spf.google.com ~all in value

And save it!

How to set up MX record

There are different settings for different hostings. For some you need to create MX records manually, in some cases you can do it much easier.

In order to find a better set up for your host - pick your host here and follow the steps there.

How to set up DKIM record

In order to set up DKIM record, you need to get a unique record from Google, and to do that we need to go to Apps -> G Suite -> Settings for Gmail -> Authenticate email:

Now click "Generate new record" and copy the host name and TXT record value:

Now you need to:

  1. Go to DNS
  2. Click on "Add new record"
  3. Choose TXT record
  4. Put DNS host name that in "Name"
  5. Put TXT record from Google in "Value"

SPF, DKIM, MX record set up for Google and Namecheap

We'll need to do 4 steps:

  1. Verify domain ownership
  2. Add SPF record
  3. Set up DKIM
  4. Add MX records

These all steps are crucial for your deliverability and won't take more than 5 mins, sooo let's go!

Google (Gsuite) domain verification for Namecheap

Once you create Gsuite account (Google workspace), Google will ask you to verifyof the ownership of the domain. It's needed for Google to know that it's actually you:

Google will give you a TXT record that you'll need to put in your domain's DNS settings.

Now you need to:

  1. Log in to Namecheap
  2. Go to Domain list and choose your domain
  3. Go to Advanced DNS
  4. Click on "Add new record"
  5. Choose TXT record
  6. Put @ in "Host" or "Name"
  7. Put verification code from Google to "value"
  8. Save it!

Once it's done just come back to Google set up and click on "Verify my domain":

Set up Google MX record for Namecheap

Now we come to MX record. In most cases you'd need to delete and create MX record manually, but if you use Namecheap, you can do it with just a few clicks:

  1. Go to Advanced DNS settings
  2. Scroll to Mail Settings
  3. Choose "Gmail"
  4. Save it!

Set up Google SPF record for Namecheap

It's super easy to do, you just need to:

  1. Log in to Namecheap
  2. Go to Domain list and choose your domain
  3. Go to Advanced DNS
  4. Click on "Add new record"
  5. Choose TXT record
  6. Put @ in "Host" or "Name"
  7. Put v=spf1 include:_spf.google.com ~all in value
  8. Save it!

Set up Google DKIM record for Namecheap

In order to set up DKIM record, you need to get a unique record from Google, and to do that we need to go to Apps -> G Suite -> Settings for Gmail -> Authenticate email:

Now click "Generate new record" and copy the host name and TXT record value:

  1. Log in to Namecheap
  2. Go to Domain list and choose your domain
  3. Go to Advanced DNS
  4. Click on "Add new record"
  5. Choose TXT record
  6. Put DNS host name that in "Name"
  7. Put TXT record from Google in "Value"
  8. Save it!

Now come back to Google Workspace and click "Start authentication":

Congratulations!

Your email is ready to send emails and avoid SPAM folders, but be careful, it's still important to warm up your email before you cold email and send cool cold emails, so your cold outreach perform well!

SPF, DKIM, MX record set up for Google and Cloudflare

We'll need to do 4 steps:

  1. Verify domain ownership
  2. Add SPF record
  3. Set up DKIM
  4. Add MX records

These all steps are crucial for your deliverability and won't take more than 5 mins, sooo let's go!

Google (Gsuite) domain verification for Cloudflare

Once you create Gsuite account (Google workspace), Google will ask you to verifyof the ownership of the domain. It's needed for Google to know that it's actually you:

Google will give you a TXT record that you'll need to put in your domain's DNS settings.

Now you need to:

  1. Log in to Cloudflare
  2. Go to Domain list and choose your domain
  3. Go to DNS
  4. Click on "Add new record"
  5. Choose TXT record
  6. Put @ in "Name"
  7. Put verification code from Google to "value"
  8. Save it!

Once it's done just come back to Google set up and click on "Verify my domain":

Set up Google MX record for Cloudflare

We'll need to create MX records manually:

  1. Log in to Cloudflare
  2. Go to Domain list and choose your domain
  3. Go to DNS
  4. Click on "Add new record"
  5. Choose MX record
  6. Put @ in "Name"
  7. Put ASPMX.L.GOOGLE.COM in Mail Server
  8. Choose priority = 1

You should also create 4 more MX records with "@" in Name but different Mail Servers and Priorities :

ALT1.ASPMX.L.GOOGLE.COM priority = 5

ALT2.ASPMX.L.GOOGLE.COM priority = 5

ALT3.ASPMX.L.GOOGLE.COM priority = 10

ALT4.ASPMX.L.GOOGLE.COM priority = 10

Save it!

Set up Google SPF record for Cloudflare

It's super easy to do, you just need to:

  1. Log in to Cloudflare
  2. Go to Domain list and choose your domain
  3. Go to DNS
  4. Click on "Add new record"
  5. Choose TXT record
  6. Put @ in "Name"
  7. Put v=spf1 include:_spf.google.com ~all in value
  8. Save it!

Set up Google DKIM record for Cloudflare

In order to set up DKIM record, you need to get a unique record from Google, and to do that we need to go to Apps -> G Suite -> Settings for Gmail -> Authenticate email:

Now click "Generate new record" and copy the host name and TXT record value:

  1. Log in to Cloudflare
  2. Go to Domain list and choose your domain
  3. Go to Advanced DNS
  4. Click on "Add new record"
  5. Choose TXT record
  6. Put DNS host name that in "Name"
  7. Put TXT record from Google in "Value"
  8. Save it!

Now come back to Google Workspace and click "Start authentication":

Congratulations!

Your email is ready to send emails and avoid SPAM folders, but be careful, it's still important to warm up your email before you cold email and send cool cold emails, so your cold outreach perform well!

SPF, DKIM, MX record set up for Google and Bluehost

We'll need to do 4 steps:

  1. Verify domain ownership
  2. Add SPF record
  3. Set up DKIM
  4. Add MX records

These all steps are crucial for your deliverability and won't take more than 5 mins, sooo let's go!

Google (Gsuite) domain verification for Bluehost

Once you create Gsuite account (Google workspace), Google will ask you to verifyof the ownership of the domain. It's needed for Google to know that it's actually you:

Google will give you a TXT record that you'll need to put in your domain's DNS settings.

Now you need to:

  1. Log in to Bluehost
  2. Go to Domain list and choose your domain
  3. Go to Advanced DNS
  4. Click on "Add new record"
  5. Choose TXT record
  6. Put @ in "Host" or "Name"
  7. Put verification code from Google to "value"
  8. Save it!

Once it's done just come back to Google set up and click on "Verify my domain":

Set up Google MX record for Bluehost

We'll need to create MX records manually:

  1. Log in to Bluehost
  2. Go to Domain list and choose your domain
  3. Go to DNS
  4. Click on "Add new record"
  5. Choose MX record
  6. Put @ in "Name"
  7. Put ASPMX.L.GOOGLE.COM in Mail Server
  8. Choose priority = 1

You should also create 4 more MX records with "@" in Name but different Mail Servers and Priorities :

ALT1.ASPMX.L.GOOGLE.COM priority = 5

ALT2.ASPMX.L.GOOGLE.COM priority = 5

ALT3.ASPMX.L.GOOGLE.COM priority = 10

ALT4.ASPMX.L.GOOGLE.COM priority = 10

Save it!

Set up Google SPF record for Bluehost

It's super easy to do, you just need to:

  1. Log in to Bluehost
  2. Go to Domain list and choose your domain
  3. Go to Advanced DNS
  4. Click on "Add new record"
  5. Choose TXT record
  6. Put @ in "Host" or "Name"
  7. Put v=spf1 include:_spf.google.com ~all in value
  8. Save it

Set up Google DKIM record for Bluehost

In order to set up DKIM record, you need to get a unique record from Google, and to do that we need to go to Apps -> G Suite -> Settings for Gmail -> Authenticate email:

Now click "Generate new record" and copy the host name and TXT record value:

  1. Log in to Bluehost
  2. Go to Domain list and choose your domain
  3. Go to Advanced DNS
  4. Click on "Add new record"
  5. Choose TXT record
  6. Put DNS host name that in "Name"
  7. Put TXT record from Google in "Value"
  8. Save it!

Now come back to Google Workspace and click "Start authentication":

Congratulations!

Your email is ready to send emails and avoid SPAM folders, but be careful, it's still important to warm up your email before you cold email and send cool cold emails, so your cold outreach perform well!

DKIM, SPF, & MX - Microsoft Office tutorials

Microsoft Office is your choice? Interesting...

What guide you need will depend on your email provider. Let me know its name below and I'll direct you to the right tutorial.

Have Qs? Lemme know...

General set up (all domain providers)

Let me share with you general steps to set up SPF, DKIM and Microsoft MX records for your domain hosting providers:

How to set up SPF record

No matter what domain hosting you use right now, there is only 1 thing you need to do to validate SPF:

  1. Go to your DNS settings
  2. Create a new record
  3. Choose "TXT"
  4. Put "@" in name
  5. Put v=spf1 include:spf.protection.outlook.com -all in value

And save it!

How to set up MX record

During the initial set up, you'll be able to add DNS records. Just create records that Microsoft suggested

Don't do that if:

  1. You need custom DNS routing for your email, for example, to route traffic through an external spam filtering service
  2. You're already using ‎Exchange‎ on-premises as well as ‎Exchange Online‎ (also called a hybrid deployment)

How to set up DKIM record

In order to set up DKIM record, you need to get a unique record from Exchange, and to do that we need to go to Home -> Policy -> DKIM

Select the domain for which you want to enable DKIM and then, for Sign messages for this domain with DKIM signatures, choose Enable. Repeat this step for each custom domain.

SPF, DKIM, MX record set up for Microsoft Office 365 and Namecheap

We'll need to do 4 steps:

  1. Verify domain ownership
  2. Add SPF record
  3. Set up DKIM
  4. Add MX records

These all steps are crucial for your deliverability and won't take more than 5 mins, sooo let's go!

Microsoft verification for Namecheap

Once you create Microsoft Office 365 account, it will ask you to verify the ownership of the domain. It's needed for Microsoft to know that it's actually you:

Now you need to:

  1. Log in to Namecheap
  2. Go to Domain list and choose your domain
  3. Go to Advanced DNS
  4. Click on "Add new record"
  5. Choose TXT record
  6. Put @ in "Host" or "Name"
  7. Put verification code from Microsoft to "value"
  8. Save it!

Set up Microsoft MX record for Namecheap

Now we come to MX record. In most cases you'd need to delete and create MX record manually, but if you use Namecheap, you can do it with just a few clicks:

  1. Go to Advanced DNS settings
  2. Scroll to Mail Settings
  3. Create MX record
  4. Save it!

You can take this MX record from Microsoft during your initial set up:

Set up Microsoft SPF record for Namecheap

It's super easy to do, you just need to:

  1. Log in to Namecheap
  2. Go to Domain list and choose your domain
  3. Go to Advanced DNS
  4. Click on "Add new record"
  5. Choose TXT record
  6. Put @ in "Host" or "Name"
  7. Put v=spf1 include:spf.protection.outlook.com -all in value
  8. Save it!

Set up Microsoft Office DKIM record for Namecheap

In order to set up DKIM record, you need to get a unique record from Exchange, and to do that we need to go to Home -> Policy -> DKIM

Select the domain for which you want to enable DKIM and then, for Sign messages for this domain with DKIM signatures, choose Enable. Repeat this step for each custom domain.

Congratulations!

Your email is ready to send emails and avoid SPAM folders, but be careful, it's still important to warm up your email before you cold email and send cool cold emails, so your cold outreach perform well!

SPF, DKIM, MX record set up for Microsoft Office 365 and Cloudflare

We'll need to do 4 steps:

  1. Verify domain ownership
  2. Add SPF record
  3. Set up DKIM
  4. Add MX records

These all steps are crucial for your deliverability and won't take more than 5 mins, sooo let's go!

Microsoft verification for Cloudflare

Once you create Microsoft Office 365 account, it will ask you to verify the ownership of the domain. It's needed for Microsoft to know that it's actually you:

Now you need to:

  1. Log in to Cloudflare
  2. Go to Domain list and choose your domain
  3. Go to DNS
  4. Click on "Add new record"
  5. Choose TXT record
  6. Put @ in "Host" or "Name"
  7. Put verification code from Microsoft to "value"
  8. Save it!

Set up Microsoft Office MX record for Cloudflare

Now we come to MX record. In most cases you'd need to delete and create MX record manually, but if you use Namecheap, you can do it with just a few clicks:

  1. Go to Advanced DNS settings
  2. Scroll to Mail Settings
  3. Create MX record
  4. Save it!

You can take this MX record from Microsoft during your initial set up:

Set up Microsoft Office SPF record for Cloudflare

It's super easy to do, you just need to:

  1. Log in to Namecheap
  2. Go to Domain list and choose your domain
  3. Go to DNS
  4. Click on "Add new record"
  5. Choose TXT record
  6. Put @ in "Host" or "Name"
  7. Put v=spf1 include:spf.protection.outlook.com -all in value
  8. Save it!

Set up Microsoft Office DKIM record for Cloudflare

In order to set up DKIM record, you need to get a unique record from Exchange, and to do that we need to go to Home -> Policy -> DKIM

Select the domain for which you want to enable DKIM and then, for Sign messages for this domain with DKIM signatures, choose Enable. Repeat this step for each custom domain.

Congratulations!

Your email is ready to send emails and avoid SPAM folders, but be careful, it's still important to warm up your email before you cold email and send cool cold emails, so your cold outreach perform well!

SPF, DKIM, MX record set up for Microsoft Office 365 and Bluehost

We'll need to do 4 steps:

  1. Verify domain ownership
  2. Add SPF record
  3. Set up DKIM
  4. Add MX records

These all steps are crucial for your deliverability and won't take more than 5 mins, sooo let's go!

Microsoft verification for Bluehost

Once you create Microsoft Office 365 account, it will ask you to verify the ownership of the domain. It's needed for Microsoft to know that it's actually you:

Now you need to:

  1. Log in to Bluehost
  2. Go to Domain list and choose your domain
  3. Go to DNS
  4. Click on "Add new record"
  5. Choose TXT record
  6. Put @ in "Host" or "Name"
  7. Put verification code from Microsoft to "value"
  8. Save it!

Set up Microsoft Office MX record for Cloudflare

Now we come to MX record. In most cases you'd need to delete and create MX record manually, but if you use Namecheap, you can do it with just a few clicks:

  1. Go to Advanced DNS settings
  2. Scroll to Mail Settings
  3. Create MX record
  4. Save it!

You can take this MX record from Microsoft during your initial set up:

Set up Microsoft Office SPF record for Cloudflare

It's super easy to do, you just need to:

  1. Log in to Namecheap
  2. Go to Domain list and choose your domain
  3. Go to DNS
  4. Click on "Add new record"
  5. Choose TXT record
  6. Put @ in "Host" or "Name"
  7. Put v=spf1 include:spf.protection.outlook.com -all in value
  8. Save it!

Set up Microsoft Office DKIM record for Cloudflare

In order to set up DKIM record, you need to get a unique record from Exchange, and to do that we need to go to Home -> Policy -> DKIM

Select the domain for which you want to enable DKIM and then, for Sign messages for this domain with DKIM signatures, choose Enable. Repeat this step for each custom domain.

Congratulations!

Your email is ready to send emails and avoid SPAM folders, but be careful, it's still important to warm up your email before you cold email and send cool cold emails, so your cold outreach perform well!

Wrapping it up

Now you know how to set up SPF and DKIM for your hosting!

All that's left to do is to start sending cool cold emails!

If you have any questions or want to add any hosts to the article, ping me on LinkedIn or at [email protected]