What is an SPF record and how does it effect email delivery?

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What is the SPF / Sender Policy Framework?

SPF 
stands for Sender Policy Framework and this dictates what hostnames or IP addresses are allowed to send mail for a given domain name. This is used in order to stop people sending out email and making it look like it is coming from your email address.

What is the default SPF Record: When you first create your account with Small Business Hosting and setup a Hosting Package the default SPF record that you will see is "v=spf1 a mx include:spf.sbhdns.com -all".

The key part of this entry is the 'spf.sbhdns.com' as this is what tells other mail servers, which you send email through to, that the Small Business Hosting mail servers are authorized to send out mail for your domain name. If you alter or change this, but still use our servers for sending mail then you will run into issues with other servers not accepting your mail due to it looking like SPAM.

Examples of SPF Records
Even if your email is not hosted with Small Business Hosting and you use a service such as Office 365 or Google Apps For Work you will still need to have a valid SPF record for sending out mail. We recommend that even if your email hosting is somewhere else, you keep the Small Business Hosting SPF record in as well. Below are some examples of SPF Records for more common hosting services:

Microsoft Office 365: "v=spf1 a mx include:spf.sbhdns.com include:spf.protection.outlook.com -all"

Google Apps for Work: "v=spf1 a mx include:spf.sbhdns.com include:_spf.google.com -all"

MailChimp: "v=spf1 a mx include:spf.sbhdns.com include:servers.mcsv.net -all"

IP Addresses within SPF
You can also alter your SPF record to include a specific IP address as well as a hostname. If you know the IP address of a server that is allowed to send mail for your domain name then you can use the following SPF record:

IP Version 4: "v=spf1 a mx include:spf.sbhdns.com ip4:xxx:xxx:xxx:xxx -all"

IP Version 6: "v=spf1 a mx include:spf.sbhdns.com ip6:<ip6-address-here> -all"
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