Deliverability settings and SPF/DKIM

Overview

If your team uses SMTP forwarding channels in Front, we strongly recommend that you set up specific SPF/DKIM entries in your DNS configuration. Whenever there are missing SPF/DKIM records for an email domain you use in Front, you will see warnings in the app indicating this set up step has not been completed.

Follow the steps in this article to add your SPF/DKIM records for each email domain you use to send messages in Front. This is advanced material that would best be done by an IT admin or someone that fully understands the impact of DNS records.


How it works

What are SPF/DKIM records?

SPF/DKIM records are industry-standard security mechanisms that authorize Front to send emails on our customers’ behalf. For email channels using SMTP forwarding, it’s critical to correctly configure SPF/DKIM records for your email domain.

Impact on SMTP channels

If you are using SMTP channels to send emails in Front, we strongly recommend that you authorize SendGrid to send emails on your behalf by setting up specific SendGrid SPF/DKIM entries in your DNS configuration. Configuring SPF/DKIM will:

  • Improve email deliverability
  • Ensure that emails you send from Front do not get marked as spam in your recipient's inbox, or caught in their spam filters
  • Remove "via sendgrid.net" from the From: address in your outbound emails

SPF/DKIM settings do not impact your ability to receive inbound emails in Front. If your email channel uses SMTP forwarding, then once you have validated the channel in Front any emails received by that domain will appear in your Front inbox.

Note: Wix, HostGator, SiteGround and Squarespace do not support creating the required MX record. If you need to use one of these DNS providers, we recommending configuring custom SMTP for these channels to send mail via your own mail servers, using your existing DNS records.

Gmail and Office365 channels

If your email channel uses Gmail sync or Office365 sync, you do not need to configure SPF/DKIM records, as we rely on the Gmail and Office365 APIs to send and receive email.

For Google Groups and for Gmail or Office365 channels set up with SMTP forwarding, you should add SPF/DKIM records for your domain.


Instructions

Team channels

There is one deliverability settings page visible to Company Admins where you can configure records for all your email domains in one place. If you are not a Company Admin, you will not see this settings page and will need to get your admin’s help.

Follow these steps to add your SPF/DKIM records for each domain you are using to send emails from Front.

Step 1

Click the gear icon on the top right of Front and into the Company settings tab.

Step 2

Click on the Deliverability tab. Here, company admins can configure SPF/DKIM records. This page will only be visible to Company Admins after they add at least one team SMTP channel.

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Note: If you do not see the Deliverability tab, it is likely because only individual SMTP inboxes have been added. If this is the case, please follow the instructions here to add SPF/DKIM records for individual SMTP channels.

Step 3

You will see a list of your SMTP channel domains under Domains on the left. Any email domains with missing SPF/DKIM records will have a yellow warning icon. Select a domain to view its DNS records.

Step 4

Copy the Values from the DNS records in Front, and add them as a DNS record in your DNS provider settings. Each DNS provider offers a different UI to add these entries to the DNS. Please ask your IT department if you're unsure how to do this.

Here are instructions for the most popular providers:

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Step 5

Once you've added the DNS settings in your DNS provider settings, you can come back to Front and click Check DNS settings.

This will trigger a check by SendGrid to verify that your DNS configuration is correct. Be aware that SendGrid might not see your changes before the time specified in your DNS TTL settings. Wait a few seconds and the validation result will appear (with the encountered errors if any).

Step 6

When you’ve successfully added the SPF/DKIM records, the warning icon will be removed from the channel name in the list and the DNS records will say Verified.

https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/media.forumbee.com/i/8e0aca51-ad78-4757-86f8-d08638648a62/h/547.png

Individual channels

Whenever there are missing SPF/DKIM records for an individual SMTP channel using a domain that isn't present in the Deliverability tab, Company Admins will find the DNS records in a different location.

Step 1

Click the gear icon on the top right of Front and into the Company settings tab. Go to the Teammates section and select the teammate.

Step 2

Go to the teammate's Individual inboxes settings, and select the inbox that contains the SMTP channel.

Step 3

Go to the inbox's Channels settings, and expand the channel settings for the SMTP channel.

Step 4

Scroll to the Improve delivery rates - SPF / DKIM setting, and expand the setting.

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Step 5

Follow steps 4-6 from the section above to complete the setup.


Tips for adding DNS records

Each DNS provider has their own format of how the records should be entered, but here are some general tips on how to enter Front's records, that should apply to most DNS settings:

  • 1st DNS Record: The Value that you copy into your DNS settings should not include the 100 in the beginning nor the period (.) at the end.
  • 2nd DNS Record: The Name field that we display lists the subdomain before your actual domain name, so in the example screenshots in the instructions above, the DNS subdomain field you enter would be front-mail. Do not include your own domain name.
  • 3rd DNS Record: Similar to the 2nd DNS Record in the Name field, the subdomain is the part before your own domain name.

Warnings

Deliverability settings

In your Deliverability settings, you will see a warning for any domains that do not have SPF/DKIM records set.

Inbox and channel settings

If an SMTP channel uses an email domain that does not have SPF/DKIM records set, a warning will appear in your Inboxes list, as well as in the Channels settings for the inbox containing that channel.


DMARC

DMARC is an optional deliverability record unrelated to Front that your IT team may already have in place. Learn more about how DMARC DNS records work with Front in our Front email deliverability and DMARC records article.


FAQ

I already have MX records in place, do I still need to add Front's MX record?

Yes. The MX DNS record that Front asks you to configure is different from your "core" existing MX record.

Your existing MX record will have a host value of @ - this is what mail servers use to determine how to direct mail addressed to your domain to the right place. The MX record Front asks you to configure has a host value of front-mail. This record sits in a different place, and will not impact your inbound message flow. When configuring these three DNS records for Front, you should be adding three new records, not modifying any existing records.

I see SPF/DKIM records missing in Front but don't have experience configuring DNS records, what should I do?

If you see SPF/DKIM records missing in Front, but are unable to make changes to your DNS configuration yourself, you can click Ask your IT team to make this change at the bottom of your DNS records in Front. This will produce a pre-filled template that you can send to your admin or IT team with all the information needed to configure SPF/DKIM records.

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  • You're missing a step between #3 and #4 – how to add these entries to our DNS.

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  • tyler martin This is different for a lot of people, depending on the provider.

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  • Cori Morris I agree with tyler . There should be some kind of documentation on how to change the DNS records, even if it's generic. I'm scratching my head trying to figure this out

    Like 1
  • ...and until I figure this out, I'm concerned that many of our sent emails from team inboxes aren't getting delivered due to the 'via Sendgrid' factor

    Like 1
  • Bobby Shiffler I'm sorry we can't be of more help! Due to the many different providers, even we don't know how to do this for every single one. We suggest contacting your specific provider for assistance on their platform. 

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  • Cori Morris Hi Cori,

    we use network solutions. i don't see a way to add the values shown on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd DNS records into network solutions. front mentions that 2 records are TXT and 1 is MX but it doesn't indicate what is the Host / TTL and TEXT value we should input on the DNS administrator, in network solutions. can you please help?

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  • Ricardo G. Hi! Can you please provide your company name so I can look into your account? If you prefer to email me, that's fine as well.

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  • Just sayin... I finished 3 other trials with different companies before choosing Front and they have instructions that go into more detail or at least a link to the 'how to' page for each of the providers.  The instructions are not clear at all. I've done cname changes and other things like that and have been able to figure it out.

    This was my experience (and mistake): I had to contact bluehost, they added the changes, then I realized that it completely disabled my ability to send emails through bluehost because the MX settings were changed (and I didn't realize that was what would happen.) 

    After, it required another call to figure out what the original settings were and to re-enable my ability to send email until I was ready. 

    I was still on a trial with Front and not ready to use only the Front inbox. Emails were still being sent to my Gmail through pop3. The poor explanation of these settings lead me to set this up (to ensure deliverability) without realizing the consequences of getting it wrong. 

    I looked at the settings the Bluehost tech entered and there is honestly no way I would have figured it out on my own. 

    I think these instructions could be 'rewritten for simple folk' that are using this software as an email management solution without assuming we all have an IT team to handle this. At least with a warning not to make any changes unless you are 100% certain what you are doing. 

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  • Amy Whitney Thanks for the feedback. We will definitely add a warning.

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  • I got these instructions in my email late last night and now I have the team that is using front freaking out because they are getting the warning. Getting these instructions last min is pretty disheartening. Also I cannot make the changes to the MX records in the fashion that your suggest here using HostGator. I need support but cannot find a way to get personal support for our specific issue. Very frustrating all around! 

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  • Joe Motz We received your email as well and will follow up there.

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  • I have two out of three working. But then I come back to Front and it tells me all three are not working again.

    This is very confusing, you should definitely have a lot more support for your users.

    How would I change this if my email is set up with Google?
    Right now your instructions don't seem to work.

    Very frustrating...
    And I recently posted and argued on a big e-commerce forum about how Front was better than Gorgias....... :(

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  • David Couillard I seem to have the same issue - 2 of 3 DNS records show they are verified. The mx value on the first DNS is still marked as "failed" even though we have adjusted the values on our host. Have you got the same problem?

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  • Can you post the correct cpanel settings?

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  • Kevin Garcia Exactly! When I click Check DNS Settings tow of them work but the MX doesn't. Then if I leave the page and return, all three are marked as Failed again.
     

    Like 1
  • I don't think there is a way to do this in Cpanel without calling...I'd like to echo David's request to post directions for Cpanel users - this is very common and I imagine many people are on this platform.

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  • For those having problem with the MX, try adding the code without the 100 in front. The 100 is the Priority and NOT part of the Value.

    It's confusing because I started by copying the entire line and my DNS change was being refused.

    So in my case, I would only add mx.sendgrid.net .

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  • We are forwarding from Google Apps and letting it be our SPAM filter. Can we dismiss the warning some way?

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  • Hi Mark , processing incoming spam (inbound mail) and your SPF/DKIM settings (outbound mail) are two separate functions, so the deliverability warnings you're seeing should be unrelated to your Google spam filter. If you have any specific questions about your setup, please email us at support@frontapp.com so we can look into your account without giving any personal information here :)

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  • I do not see DELIVERABILITY under my company settings. I am currently working with gmail syncing to Front. Is there something I need to do?

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  • curtis Hi there! Can you send us an email so we can investigate your account?

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  • Can someone confirm if the MX record should be added to existing mx records or does it need to replace my existing g-suite records? This guide is not very helpful, i would have thought there would be detailed instructions for cpanel. Coming from missive app they had very good instructions! 

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  • Should we do this if we use G-Suite? There are basic information that could have been included here for use with the more popular services like Cpanel or G Suite.

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  • David Couillard thanks for that. I was getting the bottom 2 verified and the top one wouldn't. Once i scrolled down on this article and read your post i made the change and now all three have verified.

    One would assume that Front would update their instructions.

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