Why And When Does An Invalid SPF Record Happen?

Sender Policy Framework (SPF) records help ensure that only selected servers can send emails on behalf of a domain and thus regulate sender address forgery. But an SPF validation error might mean that emails end up in spam despite them being legitimate ones.


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When Does ‘SPF Validation Failed’ Error Occur?

The ‘SPF validation failed’ error pops up either when the sender domain has registered a wrong SPF record or when the sender uses a spoofed email address. Hence, it is wise to publish an SPF record through DNS while also maintaining accuracy with RFC 4408 section 3.1.1.

SPF records help identify which IP addresses are authorized to send emails from one’s domain. However, when multiple vendors handle the emails, one must incorporate both providers’ details in the SPF record to prevent unnecessary discrepancies.

SPF Record Check For Office, Exchange, And Gmail

Several online services can be used to incorporate a Microsoft Exchange SPF check. The next step is to add the SPF record by going into one’s public DNS and the domain configured in Exchange. Setting up the Exchange SPF check is vital to stop third-party servers from sending emails on behalf of one’s domain name.

The SPF check failed Gmail error or the SPF validation error Office 365 takes the form of email non-delivery alert and can be corrected by using a different account to send a test email to the domain. It is done to check whether the email got through. The recipient needs to add the email address or domain to their white list to resolve the non-delivery issue.

Publishing SPF records is essential for two main security reasons: first, to avoid legitimate emails going undelivered/marked as spam, and the second, to prevent forgery of emails using spoofed addresses. An invalid SPF record nullifies these primary objectives of SPF records, and hence addressing such errors is essential.

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