Maximizing email deliverability with SOLO Server

By Abram P | Support Articles

Aug 24

Do you use a free email service provider such as gmail.com, aol.com, yahoo.com, etc.? If so, you should not use one of these email domains in SOLO Server’s configuration.

Summary of the Problem

Today most spam email is being sent through either hijacked email accounts or through free email service providers. For this reason, free email service providers have started leveraging new email security standards to make it more difficult to use these email address when sending messages through other IT infrastructure, including services like SOLO Server.

Cause

If emails from your SOLO Server account are not being delivered, the problem is most likely caused by DMARC policy, which essentially prevents anyone from impersonating you or your company to send malicious or phishing emails (which can lure unsuspecting users into providing sensitive information to hackers).

Solution

If you use a third-party email service such as Gmail, Outlook, Office 365, Yahoo, AOL, etc…, and you are attempting to configure SOLO Server to send emails from the services domain (e.g. yourname@gmail.com), this is not allowed by these services.

  • To improve email deliverability, you should always send email from your domain name – presumably whatever domain name is powering your website.
  • Note that if you are using a paid gmail account to accept email for your company’s domain name, this article does not apply to you as long as you are always using a “from” email address pointing to your company’s domain name.

You should always be using an email address like support@yourcompany.com to send email.

Additional step – review DMARC configuration

If you have your own domain already configured, you will need to check and possibly revise its DMARC policy to allow SOLO Server to send emails. See the additional resources below for further guidance from popular mail services.

Some additional DMARC resources:

Additional step – review SPF configuration

SPF stands for Sender Policy Framework, which is another email security standard used to handle email sender validation for a domain. In addition to reviewing your domain’s DMARC configuration, it is a good idea to review your SPF record.

Here is a link to free online SPF record testing tool:

http://www.kitterman.com/spf/validate.html

Your SPF record advertises who is allowed to send email for your domain. Since the email is being sent from your domain, the DNS zone file for your domain would need to be changed.

Different email servers will handle SPF records differently. We would recommend a simple change to your DNS zone which will potentially increase the deliverability of emails sent from SOLO Server.

We recommend adding “include:spf.softwarekey.com” to your existing SPF TXT record. This advertises to the world that we are allowed to send email on your behalf.

Additional SPF resources:

DMARCIAN SPF Survey: This tool will look specifically at your SPF record and let you know if there are any concerns. You can use this information when you call your webhost to ensure that you are setting yourself up for success.

Need additional help?

Please contact us or your IT professional if you need further guidance on any of the information in this article!

About the Author

Abram Pousada is one of the passionate Software Engineers with SoftwareKey.com. He started his career with SoftwareKey.com when he was in high-school and has been with the company for over a decade. After-hours, the self-proclaimed geek enjoys a variety of engaging hobbies ranging from even more programming to video games and mountain biking.