This post is part of a series of guest posts authored by popular bloggers and internet business consultants. Today's guest post is written by Giorgio Fontana, content manager at turboSMTP.

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Why authenticate your emails with DKIM and SPF

You open your inbox and you find an email from your bank or from a Post Office. No, wait a minute: it’s not actually coming from there. The address has been spoofed: a spammer has pretended to send from an official account in order to trick you better.

This happens a lot of time to everyone, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, the basic SMTP communication system – the one that regulates email exchange and delivery – allows any machine to send a message forging another identity. That is why phishing has become a major scourge for internet communication, making it harder and harder to filter it out. So the antispam shields of all incoming email servers are becoming very severe: and while this is good news for your inbox, it may definitely be bad news if you’re putting up an email campaign. In fact, the recipients’ providers could refuse to accept your bulk message because they doubt it to be a legitimate one, causing a great loss in terms of delivery rate.

Luckily there’s a way to authenticate your email identity and prove yourself to be the one you claim to be. There are two main ways to provide this authentication:

DKIM. Standing for Domain Keys Identification Mail, it analyzes the domain part of the sending address (that is, matching it with the actual one, and verifies if the message itself comes from the right source.
SPF. An acronym for Sender Policy Framework, is a validation method that checks the sending IP (instead of checking the domain, as DKIM does).

Both methods work creating a specific record in your domain’s DNS, that can be verified automatically by the receiver’s server.

It’s very important to implement a digital signature that proof your identity: enhancing legitimate email delivery, it also helps senders to prevent that spammers would forge your sending address. Email marketing – and email communication in general – is based on trust: I am what I claim to be, and I send you a message because you gave me your permission. This is the first and foremost rule, and Domain Keys Authentication and SPF will help you comply it also on the technical side.

In particular, turboSMTP’s outgoing server comes with a default authentication process, but invites all users to add a DKIM record in their own domain. In fact, combining a professional SMTP service like turboSMTP and a validation method will guarantee the highest deliverability for your mailing – which means less lost messages, more active conversations, and in the end – more money.

About the author
Giorgio Fontana
is content manager at turboSMTP – a professional SMTP service, SendBlaster’s commercial partner –  and also edits the digital marketing magazine Web Target.