No more SPF for domain verification in ZeptoMail—here's why!

At ZeptoMail, our aim has always been to make our user's experience seamless and easy. As a step further in that direction, we’ve made a significant change to our domain verification process.

Users no longer need to add SPF records to complete the verification of their domains. The primary purpose of this change is to ensure that our users can enjoy a quick setup process and domain authentication process.

Does this mean that SPF is not important for delivery anymore? Absolutely not. SPF is still an important factor in deciding an email's deliverability, but like with any protocol, SPF has evolved over the years. How SPF is checked today is quite different from how it used to be checked. This makes SPF obsolete in some cases.

How does SPF work today? 

When an email is sent, there are two email addresses associated with it.

Display from address: The address you see at the top of the email is the sender's email address.

Return path address: The address that the bounces and delivery reports are sent to.

In the case of personal emails like Gmail, Zoho Mail, or Outlook, the from address is often the return path address. But if you're using an ESP like ZeptoMail, the return path or bounce address is different. This return path address is used to capture bounce details by your ESP and display them to you. This return path address is sometimes handled by the ESP itself.

When SPF was introduced, SPF records were checked for the display from address to see if they aligned. This is why ESPs insisted on adding SPF for email sending domains along with other protocols like DKIM. But in recent years, this practice has changed. The recipient server now checks for SPF alignment of the return path address.

Because both the display from name and return path address are one and the same for personal or business emails, it makes sense to add SPF records for the email sending domain. In ZeptoMail, the email sending domain and bounce domain vary, making adding SPF for the display from domain unnecessary.

But how is the SPF added for the return path domain?

While using ZeptoMail, your focus should be on the SPF of the return path address. In ZeptoMail, this is the bounce domain you configure while setting up the domain. It’s often a subdomain of the primary domain used for email sending.

ZeptoMail mandates that CNAME records must be added while adding the bounce domain. In this process, we automatically point the appropriate SPF records for the return path domain as well. This is why we have now removed SPF from our DNS requirements for domain verification.

We're constantly improving ZeptoMail to make it better for you. This latest change hopes to further our journey towards a better experience. As we keep working, drop your feedback and suggestions in the comments to let us know your thoughts.


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