Using Google Apps for email: stopping email being marked as spam

One thing about using Google Apps for your email is that sometimes outgoing mail can be marked as spam.

One possible reason is that mail is now being sent via a different domain (i.e. googlemail.com and not behindthewillowtrees.org.uk) . This is a common technique by spammers, they use 3rd party domains to spoof email addresses.

To solve this I changed my DNS settings again to include a Sender Policy Framework (SPF) record. SPF is a mechanism by which you add a TXT record to your domain stating the allowable servers that can send mail on behalf of this domain.

I added the following record to my domain’s DNS records:
TXT v=spf1 include:aspmx.googlemail.com ~all

What does this mean?

v=spf1 This is the version of SPF being used
include:aspmx.googlemail.com The server is allowed to send mail on behalf of this domain
~all All other servers are not allowed to send mail from this domain

SPF works on the receiving side. If the receiver (most do) supports SPF it looks at the domain the mail allegedly came from, looks up its SPF record and determines if the actual server it came from is allowed to send mail. If not it’s considered spam.

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