Understanding SPF Lookup Failure And The Way Out From It

The SPF lookup limit is usually set to 10. The reason behind this rationale is minimizing the usage of resources that the mailbox providers spend. When the DNS lookup count goes beyond this specified limit, it results in an ‘spf too many dns lookups’ error.

spf too many dns lookups

The Interpretation Of SPF Authentication

SPF authentication verifies an email for its legitimacy before it reaches its destination. The feedback output following the authentication could be any of the following.

  • None: ‘None’ would mean there was no record found.
  • Neutral: It is akin to ‘None’ and has a similar connotation.
  • Pass: The ‘Pass’ message means that the emails are authorized to pass through and reach the destination.
  • Fail: An ‘SPF fail’ notification would mean the IP address is not authorized to send from the said domain.
  • Softfail: It indicates that the IP address may or may not be authorized.
  • TempError: This output means that there has been a temporary error while sending the email, and the user may try again.
  • PermError: This feedback shows that the SPF record was unverified by the mailbox provider.

The Way Out

A prevalent reason for SPF lookup failure is the crossing of the SPF lookup limit of ten. One of the methods used to overcome this situation is ‘SPF flattening.’ It is an SPF compression method that combines the information of multiple SPF records into a single long one. It will not affect SPF authorization.

The objective of any solution to avoid ‘Permerror SPF permanent error too many DNS lookups’ notification is to keep the lookups within the limit set by the SPF lookup counter.

SPF lookup failure happens due to many reasons, the most common being exceeding the DNS lookup limit. It results in unnecessary authentication error situations. However, by following the right solutions, which are also simple, one can avoid such errors altogether.

multiple spf records

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