Email deliverability is important if your website needs to send emails to your clients or visitors. Your website would need to send emails if:
- You have contact or registration forms on your website,
- You are backing up your database and sending the zipped file to an email address for storage, or
- You have an e-commerce shop and need to send emails related to customer orders.
Sometimes hosting servers are set up in such a way that it can be difficult for the website to send emails. The default method for sending emails from a website server is relaying mail. This is where the server says it’s you, and sends email out in your name. Even though your email is legitimate, some servers receiving the email will see that it wasn’t sent from inside an email mailbox, will consider it forged, and will reject it.
What can you do to improve email deliverability?
- Use an existing email address, or create a dedicated one, with your current email provider, and use an SMTP plugin to send emails.
You could use an existing email account, or create a dedicated email address just for website emails, such as . Then we can ask the website to log into that account to send out email notifications to you using SMTP. SMTP is an emailing method that allows the website to connect to an actual email mailbox and send email from it. This means it’s a normal, legitimate email, and more mail servers accept it.
Use a service like Sendgrid or Mailgun, and use an SMTP plugin to send emails.
You can use a service like Mailgun or Sendgrid to create a dedicated email account for sending email from the website. If you sign up for an account with one of these services, we can set up a dedicated email address for the website to use for sending notifications.
You could opt to not use a web form, and list your contact information on the website.
If you don’t require specific information from a user in a contact form, don’t have registration forms, and don’t have an e-commerce shop, it may be easiest to not use a web form at all. You can list your contact information on the website. We can add email protection so spambots don’t scrape your email address and send you spam.
SPF & DKIM
SPF, or Sender Policy Framework, is a protocol that verifies whether the domain and IP addresses match up when you send or receive an email. The SPF record tells servers receiving the emails that a specific IP is allowed to send mail via a specific relay. If SPF records are misconfigured or don’t exist, and the recipient’s mail server has SPF verification turned on on his end, the recipient’s mail server may reject your email.
Adding a correct SPF record in your DNS (Domain Name System) records can help ensure email deliverability.
DKIM, or Domain Keys Identified Mail, is a way of “signing” emails to prove they came from you. DKIM is a form of email authentication that works via a digital signature. It makes it easier for a receiving server to identify spoofed emails. The sending mail server signs the email with its private key. Then the receiving mail server uses the public key in the domain’s DNS information to verify the signature. One domain can have several DKIM keys publicly listed in DNS. Each matching private key is only on one mail server.
DKIM is a method of spam prevention in that it helps other servers recognize your emails as authenticated. Adding a correct DKIM record in your DNS records also improves email deliverability since your emails aren’t rejected as spam.
Email newsletter services like Mailchimp often also request SPF and DKIM records. With the records, they can show recipients’ mail servers that they are authorized to send email on your behalf.