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How to verify, authenticate and align your domain

Email verification and authentication are important in the world of email marketing as they help ensure the proper deliverability of your campaigns. Aligning your authenticated domain will even boost your deliverability.

A domain can be verified via a confirmation email or by authenticating it.

Note: Large public mailbox providers like Gmail or Yahoo are not recommended, as there are too many limitations when using their free domains for sending. These can also not be authenticated since you do not own the domain.

Click here if you’re authenticating your domain with GoDaddy, or here if you’re authenticating your domain with Wix.

You can also watch a video tutorial here.

Although optional, we highly suggest that you authenticate your own custom domain to improve your deliverability rates. 

It also significantly increases the chances of your email landing in the recipients’ inboxes rather than the spam or junk folder.

To authenticate it, you will need to add two TXT records to the DNS page of your domain: 

  • DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail): a sender identification tool that is used by email clients (such as Google, Yahoo, and Outlook) to identify and protect from phishing, spoofing and forgery.

  • SPF (Sender Policy Framework): indicates which IP addresses and/or hostnames have been authorized to send emails from the specific domain.

Note: The DKIM and SPF records given to you on the Domains page cannot be changed within MailerLite and the exact records must be added to your DNS page for the authentication to work.

  1. Head to Domains.

  1. Click Add domain.

  2. Enter the email address you wish to use to send emails from and click Send verification email.

  1. Once you receive the confirmation email, click on the Confirm my email address link.

  2. You will see a success message confirming the domain verification.

Note: If you haven’t received a verification email from us, use the resend feature, authenticate your domain, or contact our Support team at support@mailerlite.com for additional assistance.

  1. Head to Domains.

  2. Click on Authenticate for verified domains, or Add domain for unverified ones (and then click on Send confirmation email). 

  3. You’ll get the Name and Value fields for the DKIM and SPF records. Keep this page open.

  1. Access the DNS page of your domain. If you don’t know how, contact your hosting provider for further support (in most cases, the Support team of your hosting provider can add the DKIM and SPF records for you).

  2. Add both the DKIM and SPF as TXT records with their respective Name and Value fields that we provide for you. Please note that these records cannot be modified within MailerLite, so they have to be an exact match.

Head back to your MailerLite Domains page and click on the green Check DNS records button located below the records.

You will be notified once both records have been approved.

However, sometimes the site will say that one or both records were not approved, even if all of the information was correctly submitted.

There are two reasons why this happens:

  • It can take the servers up to 24 hours to completely update this information. Most of the time, however, it is approved and updated in a matter of minutes.

  • Some information has to be re-checked and updated.

Even if you are sure you set up the information correctly, we suggest that you follow the troubleshooting steps below, just in case.

DKIM record is not approved

If the DKIM record fails:

  • Depending on your DNS zone, the Host field will accept either ml._domainkey (without your domain) or ml._domainkey (plus your domain), so try both.

  • Check that both Value fields are exactly the same, as they’re case-sensitive.

If you’re unsure they are an exact match, you can check both texts here.

If you’ve already checked the above and both fields are exactly as they are shown in MailerLite, it may be that your domain system may not parse the DKIM value correctly. 

If this is the case, you could use an external tool such as DKIM Core to check for any errors. If you see that only the k=rsa part is being recognized and nothing else, then this means that the DKIM value is not parsing correctly on your DNS.

To rectify this, you should ‘escape’ the semicolon (;) symbol by adding a backslash (\) symbol before it.

To do this, simply change the initial value from k=rsa; p= to k=rsa\; p=.

SPF record is not approved

There are three reasons why an SPF record may not be approved:

  • SPF records don’t match

  • SPF Name record field must be left empty

  • More than one SPF record was found

SPF records don't match

  • Check the Host Name. 

  • Check if the Value field on your DNS page is exactly the same as the one on your MailerLite Domains page. They have to be identical as they are case-sensitive. The record won’t be approved otherwise. 

You can use this site to compare both texts.

SPF Name record field must be left empty

Some hosting providers have settings that don’t allow the domain as the Name field for any record. 

Use ‘@as the Name field for the TXT record or leave it empty. 

If you see that there is a common Name field being used for the rest of the records in the DNS page of your domain, try using that one.

More than one SPF record was found

It’s only possible to have one SPF record on your DNS zone. If you have more than one, they need to be merged.

In the image below, you will see two different TXT records for SPF. Both of these need to be merged into one single record.

Fortunately, MailerLite does this for you after you click once on the green Check DNS records button. This allows the site to check and update the SPF record’s Value with the merged version after clicking on it. The updated SPF value will be available on the same pop-up page.

At first, you will notice that the SPF value record will look something like this:

v=spf1 a mx include:_spf.mlsend.com ?all

After clicking on the green Check DNS records button and receiving the error message that more than one SPF record has been found, refresh the page, click on the Check status button, and most likely, you will see that there is a new merged value for the SPF record. 

You can confirm this by examining it. The merge was successful if the text includes more than one include.

An example of a merged SPF record from MailerLite and Outlook:

v=spf1 a mx include:_spf.mlsend.com include:spf.protection.outlook.com -all

Note: If the method above is not working for you, take a look at our article How to merge SPF records.

Before setting up the new merged SPF record, it’s important to:

  • Remove all of the current SPF records in your DNS zone, including the original one from MailerLite that is not merged.

  • Add a new TXT record with the merged SPF record.

  • Go back to your MailerLite Domains page and click on the green Check DNS records button.

An error may still come up even after setting up the merged SPF record in the DNS zone. Don’t worry if this happens. Remember that servers can take up to 24 hours to completely update this information. Most of the time, however, it’s approved within a few minutes to a few hours.

You can check if the SPF record is correctly set up with this third-party tool.

Domain alignment is an additional authentication method that lets you use your own domain throughout the entire email message, including the email header, tracking links, and image hyperlinks. It is an advanced yet optional feature to further boost deliverability. 

The benefits of aligning your domains include:

  • Your sending domain will appear more trustworthy and credible to spam filters.

  • All links will be redirected using your own domain instead of a MailerLite domain.

  • Your “From” address will display as your own domain, and not as “via mlsend”.

  • You will have better control over your personal sending reputation via your sending domain and links inside the emails.

  • You will have safer DMARC implementation with two independent alignment mechanisms.

To align a domain for sending, your domain should be authenticated beforehand.

  1. Navigate to Domains through the main dropdown menu.

  1. Find the authenticated domain you wish to align and click Add custom domain.

  1. Under Subdomain prefix, enter a prefix to create a new subdomain and click Add.

Note: Choose a subdomain prefix such as “email” that will be used for this purpose only. Make sure not to use a subdomain that is already in use.

  1. You will now see three records: A, MX, and TXT records. Create the A, MX and TXT records on your DNS zone page and copy and paste the value of each record, respectively.

  1. Save these changes and then click Check DNS records in MailerLite.

Once the records have propagated and been accepted on your DNS zone, which in some cases may take up to 24 hours, you will see an ON/OFF switch under Domain alignment.

All you have to do now is toggle the ON button to have your domain aligned.

Note: Before removing these records from your hosting, make sure that you have already replaced your sender’s email with a new address and are no longer using a custom domain.

Removing the corresponding records from hosting, or disabling your domain alignment, will cause links in campaigns sent with the records present and active to no longer work.

Still have questions?
If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at support@mailerlite.com.
A member of our support team will gladly assist you.