How to Make Sure Your Email Reaches Its Destination
Email deliverability is the ability of an email message to arrive in the recipient’s inbox. It is a complex and ever-changing process that is affected by a variety of factors, including the sender’s reputation, the content of the email, and the recipient’s email settings. In this article we focus on your day-to day email use instead of email marketing related issues that affect newsletters.
Two Issues: Spam and Spoof
We will be covering the two main issues. Practically speaking, they show as
- Your emails end up in Spam Folders or are not being delivered at all
- Someone else seems to be sending emails in your name
1. Is Your Email Ending Up in Spam Folders?
There are a number of things that can impact email deliverability. Since spam emails are estimated to make between 50% and 80% of email traffic, email providers had to come up with better methods to develop better spam filters and trap or bounce unwanted emails. Technology has evolved in the past years – with emails not only checked on one computer but also on multiple devices like phones and tablets, we recommend avoid using web server based email systems.
What Is Wrong With Using cPanel Webmail?
If you are using the email system that comes with your webserver, you are likely to be using a shared server – meaning your website is located on a server with many other websites. With that, it will share the same IP address with other websites. If one or more of them misuses their server sending emails with spam, the reputation of the IP address and with that everybody’s email reputation on that server gets flagged due to spam complaints.
Better Use an Email Service Provider
Using a separate email service provider (ESP) might be more costly, but is a safe way to improve deliverability rates. Those service providers have strict rules and use dedicated IP addresses to send emails. They even penalize users for not complying with their strict policies based on the CAN-SPAM Act. They also use the common technologies called SPF, DKIM, and DMARC to secure a good reputation and avoid spoofing and phishing.
2. Spoofing: Is Someone Sending Emails From Your Address?
Spoofing is when a sender attempts to disguise their identity by using a fake email address. This is commonly used to send spam or phishing emails, or to impersonate a legitimate company or individual. Spoofing can be difficult to detect for the layman, and it can lead to legitimate emails being marked as spam or phishing.
Spoofing Used for Phishing
As an example, you may receive an email from your bank, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, PayPal etc asking you to reset your password. If you use a decent email service provider, this might be detected.
On a side note: We recommend going directly to your provider’s website, not clicking on a link in the email.
Help! Has My Email Been Hacked?
If you or someone else receive spam emails from your own address, someone is using spoofing methods to spread spam. This is a sign that SPF, DKIM, and/or DMARC are not configured properly. These technologies – explained below – make sure that any email not sent form your clearly defined IP address or server will not be delivered to a recipient’s mailbox, but will be marked as spam or even phishing mail. Some providers like Gmail and Google Workspace have sophisticated methods and go even further by scanning incoming emails for viruses.
Methods to Prevent Spam and Spoof and Fix Deliverability Issues
If your email is hosted by a decent provider, it is probably already taken care of and you do not need to read on. However, you may do your own email deliverability test by utilizing Mailgenius.com or a similar provider.
SPF (Sender Policy Framework)
SPF (Sender Policy Framework) is an email authentication technique that helps to prevent email spoofing. SPF allows a domain owner to specify which servers are authorized to send email on behalf of their domain.
When an email is received, the recipient’s email server can check the SPF record for the sender’s domain to verify that the email is actually from the sender who claims to have sent it.
DKIM (Domain Keys Identified Mail)
DKIM (Domain Keys Identified Mail) is another email authentication technique that helps to prevent email spoofing. DKIM allows a domain owner to digitally sign their emails.
When an email is received, the recipient’s email server can verify the DKIM signature to confirm that the email is actually from the sender who claims to have sent it.
DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance)
DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance) is an email authentication technique that builds on SPF and DKIM. DMARC allows a domain owner to specify their policy for how email that is not authenticated by SPF or DKIM should be handled.
By following the best practices for email deliverability, you can help to ensure that your emails are delivered to your recipients’ inboxes. Here are some tips for improving your email deliverability: