Domain Setup Guide

This guide details setting up a sending domain with Spotler for your email marketing identity. When completed you will be able to send emails from Spotler that visibly use your domain identity.

Before you begin please note that no matter what domain you are setting up to use with Spotler, you must always make sure the root of the domain points to your website and mail servers.  So that people who browse to it will see your business website, and people who send emails to it will go to your company mail servers. 

If your domain has been newly purchased, it must be at least 30 days old, before you start sending emails from it. Mailbox providers treat brand new domains as a bad reputation indicator.

Do not follow the steps in this guide without understanding what your sending domain means. 

Your sending domain is an important business asset so ideally you should own and control it, (this is normally done by your IT Team or Web Developer). If you would prefer, we can provide a sending domain for you and do all the setup. Please speak to your Account Manager (or email [email protected]) if you’d like us to do this.

Overview

The "from" address for your campaigns is the email address a recipient sees in their inbox when they receive the email.

The sending domain that you use depends on the nature of your email campaigns.

There are essentially two types:

  1. A subdomain of your business domain (eg. @news.yourcompany.co.uk)
  2. A ‘cousin’ domain, that is similar to your main domain (eg. @yourcompanycomms.co.uk or @yourcompany.tech)

Here’s how you decide which one to use:

  1. We strongly recommend setting up a subdomain of your company business domain to use with Spotler. This means you can send emails from @something.yourcompanyname.co.uk or @yourcompanyname.co.uk depending if you want the subdomain to be visible or not. Either  will make your campaign "from" address match your company branding, and will be recognised and trusted by your recipients. ISPs (internet service providers) and other organisations, also benefit from seeing this brand identity as it will also inherit your business domain reputation, therefore helping deliverability. If you are emailing opted-in, or engaged contacts and customers. Using a subdomain of your business domain has the best chance for successful email marketing
  2. If you are emailing to bought-in or ‘cold’ data then we recommend using a ‘cousin domain’ for these campaigns. You will however need to make sure a cousin domain points to your website, and you can receive email for it like you would for your business domain. Cousin domains if brand new cannot be used for 30 days. They also hold no reputation and cannot inherit your business domain reputation. This means sending from a new cousin domain needs to be controlled more carefully to make sure ISPs and other organisations do not react negatively to them.

All you need to decide then is what domain to use.  The domain is used for the tracked links in the email, the email authentication, and to capture bounces. This domain name is what people can see in the "from" address for your campaigns. It should therefore be something sensible and suitable for the emails you are sending. 

If you intend to send multiple types of email, you can setup more than one domain too. For example you could setup multiple subdomains for your business domain, multiple cousin domains, or a mixture of both. 

When setting up a subdomain for your domain we find names that often work well are...

  • comms
  • news
  • updates
  • events
  • transactional
  • latest
  • marketing

Subdomain names that we recommend staying away from that can trigger spam filters are...

  • info
  • promotions
  • offers
  • special
  • credit

Once you have your sending domain, it needs to be configured for use with Spotler:

Create the Domain Key

In order to use a domain with Spotler, you must create a new DomainKey for your domain. DomainKeys are essential to your setup as they are used to verify the domain name of an email sender, as well as the message integrity. It tells the recipient that you own the message and it is authentic. Thus ensuring your emails are received.

If your domain already has DomainKey authentication for another purpose, you simply need to setup a new DomainKey with a different "keyname", for Spotler authentication to work. The keyname we will be using is "spotler".

SparkPost is the DomainKey wizard we recommend for generating your keys. Head to the following URL for access: https://tools.socketlabs.com/dkim/generator

Generate a private & public key pair by filling in:

1. Domain Name

  1. If you want the subdomain visible to your recipients, you need to create the domain key on the subdomain e.g. "something.yourcompanyname.com".
  2. If you want the subdomain to be invisible to your recipients, you need to create the domain key on the root domain e.g. "yourcompanyname.com".

2. Domain Key Selector as 'spotler'.

3. Select the relevant key size. This provides a level of encryption for your domain key. The larger the key size, the greater the level of encryption.  Stick with the 2048 default unless you know your DNS wont support it.

4. Select "Create Keys".

Please Note: some domain providers may not support 2048 bit encrypted keys, so if you are unsure use 1024 bit keys.

Upon clicking "Create Keys", the keys will be generated below. You will see a public and private key.

5. Copy the text from  “-----BEGIN PUBLIC KEY------” to “------END RSA PRIVATE KEY------". Put this into a text file and save it as "[Domain Name]_keys.txt"

6. Copy the text indicated above, making sure you copy everything from between the quote marks. Save this in a separate text file.

It is crucial that the format of the key you have copied is exactly the same as the one in SparkPost, otherwise the authentication will fail.

Configure your DNS records

You MUST apply the following settings to the DNS management of your domain. These changes are technical and should be made by someone in your company who knows DNS.  

In this step we are updating and creating DNS records on the root of your domain, and also creating DNS records for a new subdomain. This is the same for either the business domain or cousin domain setup.

To help understand this better, please read the following breakdown for what we are doing...

  • On the root domain, the A record has NOT BEEN CHANGED as it points to your business website.
  • On the root domain, the MX record has NOT BEEN CHANGED as it points to your email provider.
  • On the  root domain, the SPF TXT record is either updated to contain "include:gatormail.co.uk", or if you did not have one already, create the one from the table below.
  • On the root domain, the DMARC TXT "_dmarc.yourcompanyname.com" has NOT BEEN CHANGED, or if you did not have one, create the one from the table below. Note however if you add this record but use the domain for other email marketing, you need to make sure your email authentication passes there too.  If you are unsure, you can add the DMARC with p=none; sp=none instead. 
  • A new subdomain is created and must have the A, MX, and TXT records provided in the table below.
  • If you want the subdomain visible to your recipients, a new DomainKey is created on the subdomain along the lines of "spotler._domainkey.something.yourcompanyname.com".
  • If you want the subdomain to be invisible to your recipients, a new DomainKey is created on the root domain along the lines of "spotler._domainkey.yourcompanyname.com".

It is important to note, that you are not overwriting any of your DNS records.  You are only adding new records and updating existing ones.  

The DNS settings to configure for your domain are:

Record Type
Where If you DO NOT have this record then... If you DO have this record then...
SPF TXT
Root Domain
"yourcompanyname.com"
v=spf1 include:gatormail.co.uk -all
If you already have SPF authentication, only add "include:gatormail.co.uk" into yours.
DMARC TXT
Root Domain
"_dmarc.yourcompanyname.com"
v=DMARC1; p=none; sp=none; rf=afrf; pct=100;
If you already have DMARC authentication you do not need to add record.  If you do not have one then this record is suitable to use.
DKIM TXT
Root Domain
"spotler._domainkey. yourcompanyname.com"
Add this record from the SparkPost DKIM wizard for invisible subdomain.
n/a - you must create this new record.
A
Subdomain
"something.yourcompanyname.com"
37.221.223.30
n/a - you must create this new record.
MX (Priority 1)
Subdomain
"something.yourcompanyname.com"
bounces.gatormail.co.uk
n/a - you must create this new record.
SPF TXT
Subdomain
"something.yourcompanyname.com"
v=spf1 include:gatormail.co.uk -all
n/a - you must create this new record.
DKIM TXT
Subdomain
"spotler._domainkey. something.yourcompanyname.com"
Add this record from the SparkPost DKIM wizard for visible subdomain.
n/a - you must create this new record.

PLEASE NOTE: SparkPost adds slashes in front of the Key1 selector e.g. k=\\rsa;. You MUST remove the slashes or the record will fail authentication.

Checking your DNS is set up correctly...

As a reminder, these must be checked and point to the correct location or your domain reputation could be impacted.

  • Your root domain A record has NOT BEEN CHANGED, and still points to your company website.
  • Your root domain MX record has NOT BEEN CHANGED, and still points to your company network.
  • Your root domain must have a SPF TXT record which contains "include:gatormail.co.uk".
  • Your root domain must have a DMARC TXT record on "_dmarc.yourcompanyname.com"
  • Your new  subdomain must have an A, MX, and TXT records that were detailed in the steps above.
  • If you want the subdomain visible to your recipients, a new DomainKey is created on the subdomain along the lines of "spotler._domainkey.something.yourcompanyname.com".
  • If you want the subdomain to be invisible to your recipients, a new DomainKey is created on the root domain along the lines of "spotler._domainkey.yourcompanyname.com".

If you have problems with your DNS authenticating it is likely the records are not set up, or are not pointing to the correct location. Please re-visit the steps above to check your records.

Contact support

Email Spotler Support on [email protected], and provide us with the domain name and the text file from Port25, during domain set up.

We will check the domain is setup correctly and test the different authentications.  If everything is correct, we will add the domain into your instance making it available immediately for use.

Please Note: If you are unsure of the steps outlined in this guide, please speak to your IT department or, for help and advice, do not hesitate to contact [email protected]