|Google, Microsoft, and other Internet service providers (ISPs) check your emails to see if the domain you are sending from (such as firstname.lastname@example.org) is authenticated.
This is the information they need to recognize you and your clients as trusted senders.
This article will detail how to authenticate emails through DKIM and SPF by adding CNAME records.
CNAME records impact what your email looks like in the inbox. The email will show the sending domain as the domain you have configured with DKIM (signed-by), and a return path (mailed-by), including that same domain.
|If your emails are authenticated, then more of your emails will get into the inbox instead of the spam folder. Setting up DKIM and SPF is how you authenticate your emails. Doing so means that these ISPs will trust the content that you send. In order to do so, you must add CNAME records for your domain via your hosting provider (such as GoDaddy, HostGator, or NameCheap).||
Important: By default, only one domain per SharpSpring instance can be authenticated with DKIM and SPF.
Below is a breakdown of what each of these terms mean:
- DKIM stands for DomainKeys Identified Mail. This is an important email authentication mechanism for protecting senders and receivers from forged email.
- SPF stands for Sender Policy Framework. This is a type of DNS (Domain Name System) record used to identify which mail servers are permitted to send email on behalf of a domain.
- CNAME stands for Canonical Name. This is a type of DNS record added to hosting providers that is used to specify that a domain name is an alias for another domain, which is considered the canonical domain.
|SharpSpring provides an in-application configuration tool which creates CNAME records. When configuring CNAME records, in order to set up DKIM and SPF, you will need to add CNAME records to your DNS settings. The DNS settings must be for the domain you are looking to authenticate. The configuration tool will generate these CNAME records, which will point to your unique DKIM keys.||
Note: SharpSpring Support can assist with configuring CNAME and DKIM.
Then, wholly outside of SharpSpring, these CNAME records must be added to your domain’s DNS settings. These settings are often handled by your Domain Name Registrar (such as GoDaddy, HostGator, or NameCheap), or managed by a dedicated DNS service provider (such as DNSimple or EasyDNS). Certain DNS providers append the domain to the end of the record.
Understanding CNAME Records
|A CNAME (Canonical Name) record is a type of resource record in the DNS (Domain Name System) used to specify that a domain name is an alias for another domain, which is considered the canonical domain. SharpSpring's CNAME records are as follows:
• The em key is a SPF record. SPF records are
a type of DNS record that identify which mail
servers are allowed to send emails from your
• Both s1._domainkey and s2._domainkey
are used for DKIM authentication. These
keys authenticate the message in transit as it
is being handed off to the recipient server.
Important: Placing all five CNAME records on a secured (https://) site could cause issues with your links. Removing the link and owner CNAME records afterwards without contacting SharpSpring Support will break the links. Links then will not work in emails, even though links in test emails will work.
• Link and owner keys are used for whitelabeling email links. You will need to set up
CNAME records, which is located under Email Settings, to whitelabel links in your email.
Once added, these CNAME records will show links in your email going through
Determining Secured Status
To determine whether or not your site is secured and if you will need to refrain from adding the link and owner CNAME record keys, you will need to inspect your page. To inspect your page and determine secured status, do the following:
Note: Domain entries are normally located at the top of the list of entries.
Setting Up DKIM and SPF in SharpSpring
Authentication with DKIM and SPF is required to send from a domain in SharpSpring. To set up DKIM and SPF, do the following:
Important: If you add the link and owner CNAME records to a secured site and then remove them, you must contact SharpSpring Support for backend assistance. If you do not, no opens or clicks will be registered.
Note: Certain DNS providers append the domain to the end of the record.
Note: If you are still seeing Waiting on CNAME Records, be aware that it could take as long as 24 hours for the DNS settings to update.
Adding CNAME Records Externally
|Configuring CNAME records in SharpSpring is only part of the overall DKIM setup process. To complete configuring CNAME records, you will need to do so outside of SharpSpring. While SharpSpring can verify if you have correctly configured the CNAME with a registrar or hosting provider, SharpSpring cannot provide CNAME configuration procedures for individual hosting providers.||
Note: CNAME, DKIM, and SPF terminology will change from provider to provider. For example, Network Solutions uses Host Name and Alias. SharpSpring instead uses Name and Data.
As the CNAME configuration process varies for each hosting provider, you will need to refer to the help documentation provided by the individual providers. You will need to do so for each hosting provider of the website you are adding a CNAME record for. As such, website owners must log in to their hosting provider accounts and configure CNAME records there.
The following external documentation links will redirect to CNAME configuration articles for more popular registrars and hosting providers. However, this is by no means a complete list. If your provider is not listed, refer to their help documentation on CNAME configuration.
For more information on registrar or hosting provider CNAME configuration, contact your registrar or hosting provider.
Locating SPF Records
You can check to see if you correctly set up CNAME records with MxToolBox. This website features a tool that can help. With it, insert the full key name from SharpSpring, and search as a CNAME Lookup. If successful, you should see the data from SharpSpring under the Canonical Name column in MxToolBox.
In fact, you can use this website to locate your SPF records. To locate your SPF records, do the following:
Click to enlarge.
Important: When entering your domain name, include the
Be aware that when you add your CNAME records for SharpSpring, you are adding both SPF and DKIM. No additional steps are necessary for email authentication.