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Improving your email service

Queries about email rank among the top three reasons customers get in touch with us; “How can I reduce the amount of spam I receive?”, “Why are emails I send being flagged as spam?” are just two common examples of questions we invariably answer each and every day. With that in mind, here are a few handy pointers to ensure that the mail you send has the best possible change of being delivered and getting the best out of filtering incoming messages.

Making sure that mail you send has a good reputation

To prevent your email ending up in your recipient’s spam folder, you need your email to have a high reputation value. SPF and DKIM are types of DNS record that increase trust in your domain name, and aid in the delivery of your email to other providers. Using both will help your emails avoid the dreaded spam folder.

SPF spam protection

A domain which publishes an SPF record in its DNS records lists those servers which are permitted to send email on behalf of that domain, thereby reducing emails which are spoofed (pretending to be sent from your domain). Any mail server which checks SPF records will check what server sent a message and drop any emails it receives from servers that are not on the SPF record list. Due to this verification of sending server, domains which publish an SPF record are also less likely to be tagged as sources of spam.

We offer SPF DNS records on all of our hosted email accounts. To enable this option, log in to your Customer Control Panel at account.34sp.com, choose Manage Sites, select your domain, go to the DNS section, then SPF records and click the button to add the record.

DomainKeys / DKIM

DomainKeys is an email authentication method in which emails are digitally signed on a domain basis. You can enable this on outgoing mail, but it is most useful on incoming messages as it ensures end-to-end integrity of the message, i.e. it can verify that an email has not been modified in transit. Again, domains which digitally sign their mail messages are less likely to have messages tagged as spam. To enable this option log in to your Customer Control Panel at account.34sp.com, choose Manage Sites, select your domain, click on Advanced, then DomainKeys Identified Mail and you can enable this from here.

As changes involve updating DNS, please allow 1-24 hours for any modifications that you do make to propagate, after which you should find email delivery to remote providers has improved.

Flagging incoming mail as spam and filtering this accordingly

When we create your account, spam filtering on incoming email is set at a very low level by default – we want to ensure you receive as much email as possible. With this in mind, the first step in reducing spam receipt is to review and refine the spam filtering level to your personal requirements. To do this, log into https://mail.34sp.com, click on the Settings option at the top, then Spam at the left, and General Settings from the next menu to check what this is currently set to.

The lower the number, the more aggressive the filtering will be. If you haven’t altered this, it will be set to “Default Score”, which is 11. If you want to check the spam score of any given message, click on the message in question, then from the “… More” menu, choose the “< > Show source” option. This will open in a new tab, and give a screen of information that shows the raw data of the message. Scroll down until you can see the line that starts “X-Spam-Status:”. It will look something like this:

X-Spam-Status: No, score=0.1 required=11.0

The score value is the score that this particular message rated. The required value is what it needs to score before the message is flagged as spam. The values listed after this are spam rules that add or subtract to the reputation of any given message.

Bear in mind that flagging every single instance of spam without also tagging genuine messages is an almost impossible task. What we’re looking to achieve is a decent middle ground where the majority of spam is flagged but we’re not accidentally flagging genuine emails, so it’s best to only make small modifications to your spam filtering level until you find the filtering level that suits your needs best.

These basic email tips should help improve both your inbound and outbound email performance. If you need more guidance or help, feel free to get in touch with our support team so we can assist – send us an email to support@34sp.com.

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