Project Email Part 2

As I said yesterday, today I’ve created a short video showing how you can enable email authentication on your domain with cPanel hosts. It’s very easy to do in a couple of clicks, but if you don’t have cPanel then I guess you can ask your web host to enable it for you.

Start the video then change quality to 720p and go full screen.

Why should you do this?

Simple. Email is increasingly becoming REPUTATION based.

In the past there were systems set up called blocklists which in essence were just a big list of bad IP or email addresses that were used by known spammers. Except these lists have always been rubbish and poorly maintained (the trouble is many ISPs and free email providers still rely on them).

But there’s something better now that’s been widely accepted (the chances are you haven’t joined the party yet) and that’s email authentication.

This system relies on you enabling a couple of things on your server that authenticate email coming in (DKIM) and also going out (SPF) to make sure the email is from who it says it is and not from a spammer.

The SPF part of it makes sure that the receiving server can check to see if the email really did come from you. Over time this will improve your reputation so that the ISPs and email providers are more willing to accept email from you even if the odd user marks it as spam. (A whole topic in itself.)

So this stuff is quite important to know for any small business owner – I wouldn’t be bringing it up if it wasn’t.

IF you’re thinking of leaving a comment on this post with your thoughts, then all I’ll say is that’s a good idea and it’s DEFINITELY in your interest to do so as I’d like to later reward all contributors for their input and views.  ;-)

-Frank Haywood

 

http://www.frankhaywood.com/tag/project-email/ <== Click this for a list of all Project Email posts.


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15 Comments

  1. Bill says:

    Thanks Frank, this is a good idea to implement on our sites. Email has always been sent with the assumption that it may get delivered and that is not so. So, with that, we need to do what we can to help get it delivered and also reduce the crap that we get in our in boxes every day. I think your videos on this subject are helpful. Thanks, Bill

    • Frank Haywood says:

      Hi Bill,

      Yep. We could all do without the spam so it’s nice if there are *reliable* automated methods of shredding it before it arrives in our inbox. DKIM and SPF are a good step in the right direction. (One of my friends says baseball bats repeatedly applied to spammers until they stop is the best method, but he can’t find any – just as well.) :roll:

      -Frank

  2. Chris says:

    Frank!

    As ever – sage advice and guidance from Haywood Mansions.

    This has the seeds of good practice. It could be asserted by business as a selling point and/or insisted upon by their potential clients.

    Might there be an embryonic lobby in it – “the Haywood initiative”? Or perhaps a potential anti-spam campaign – “Have you Franked your email?”.

    Kind regards,

    Chris.

  3. Stephen Bird says:

    Cheers Frank,
    Yes this is a great idea thanks for sharing it. I am never much amused when I receive an email from myself which always seem to offer me the chance to enlarge things!
    Never knew how to really stop this kind of thing before. Always read the header information but really could never figure out what to report.
    May be this simple idea will help.
    Thanks again this series of videoes is getting very interesting.

  4. Tony Grimes says:

    Frank, well done and great advice
    Thanks

  5. Kevin G says:

    Definitely a step in the right direction. This could make a huge dent in removing crap sent from spammers, and also help IM’ers sending out legitimate emails.

    Thanks for the straight-forward video, Frank!

  6. Gary Jenkins says:

    Great advice. I know I should have turned these on long, long ago, but never got around to it until today. I have 3 hosting accounts, and 2 of them gave me error message when I turned them on. The errors went away after a few minutes, so I should be good to go.
    Maybe now I’ll stop getting email that says its from my email account.

    Thanks,
    Gary

  7. Pol vanRhee says:

    So once these are enabled, what can we do with that header information? Or is everything really all automated? And what about sending email from gmail or such using our regular email accounts. I like the gmail interface, better than the one provided by my host, so read and send email through gmail (but as me on my domain)

  8. Ned says:

    Hey Frank,

    Thanks for the motivation. One question. I’ve migrated to gmail as my reader for a variety of reasons. I’ve been thinking that I’m too dependent on Google and now I’m thinking – I need to use something else that I can access. Outlook (lots of useful stuff, but it IS the old Monolith), Thunderbird, or…

    Curious what you use or recommend.

    Thanks!

    Ned

  9. Derek Taylor says:

    Great information Frank! I’ve been using the DKIM and SPF for quite a while since I saw it in my Reseller interface when I set up hosting accounts for myself and clients. I did not however realize how important it was in cutting down spam until I read your post. I’m now going back and checking all of the hosting accounts I set up before I started using it to get them changed over.

    I too use Gmail for the interface and my domain email forwarded. I would like to know your thoughts on if the DKIM and SPF use cuts down on spam sent to my domain email addresses. Thanks for keeping us informed.

    • Frank Haywood says:

      Hi Derek,

      It will definitely cut down spam, and if you’re also using spam assassin plus the Thunderbird junk mail filter it will definitely catch most spam. The downside is you will also get some false positives and have to do a weekly flick through the junk folder. I know that sounds a little iffy, but I’ve found that’s far easier than getting all the spam amongst the real mail. Once you’ve added the legitimate senders to your address book then they *shouldn’t* end up in the junk again but it depends on your setup.

      -Frank

  10. Francis Moss says:

    This will be very useful. Thanks.
    Question: I’ve set up GMail to send/receive emails as if from cartoonscripts.com. Does this change how authentication works?

    Francis

    • Frank Haywood says:

      Hi Francis,

      I feel like I should understand what you’re asking/telling me, but that’s just gone whoosh over my head. :roll:

      Is there something you can do in Gmail (envelope?) to make it seem as if the email is coming from another domain?

      -Frank

  11. Francis Moss says:

    Hi Frank,
    Yes. In GMail settings, under Accounts, you can choose ‘Send mail as,’ so your domain appears as the sender.

    • Frank Haywood says:

      Hi Francis,

      I’ll have to investigate that myself, but it seems like that’s the same kind of thing that the spammers do. Your “real” Gmail address is likely wrapped inside the header too, so when it arrives at an ISP or email provider they can see that it’s not coming from the domain. If you have SPF and DKIM active then it might be treated as a spam message, but… I *think* you can specify that Gmail servers are okay to send email from your domain too, so you might be okay.

      I’ll check this out and see if that’s okay to do. :-)

      -Frank

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