Domain Setup Guide - Branded Business Domain

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

If your domain has been newly purchased, it must be at least 30 days old. 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 you should own and control it, hence why we do not set them up for you (this is normally done by your IT Team or Web Developer).

Overview

The "from" address for your campaigns is the email address a recipient sees in their inbox when they receive the email. All CommuniGator customers are given a generic "from" address which looks something like @customer.gtml1.com.  

However using this generic unbranded "from" address is not recommended. It can adversely affect your online brand, and could hinder your campaign performance.

Instead we strongly recommend setting up a branded business domain. This is done via a subdomain off of your company business domain, such as email.yourcompanyname.com. This will make your campaign "from" address look branded, and will be recognised and trusted by your recipients. Not only that, a subdomain off of your company business domain will inherit reputation from your business domain. ISPs (internet service providers) and other organisations, benefit from seeing this reputation and that helps deliverability. 

There are a few choices you can make with your campaigns "from" address too.  You can...

  • Send emails from a subdomain of your branded business domain, so the emails visibly come "from" @something.yourcompanyname.com
  • Send emails from multiple subdomains of your branded business domain, allowing you to choose per campaign if the emails visibly come "from" @something.yourcompanyname.com, or @somethingelse.yourcompanyname.com etc.
  • You can even send emails from the root of branded business domain, so the emails visibly come "from" @yourcompanyname.com.

Regardless of these choices, setting up the DNS per the guide will make all of these options available.

The last important point is all domains used with us should have a website to your business. Even if you are setting up a newly purchased domain, you should setup a subdomain for CommuniGator. The root domain should have a website that is separate and visible to anyone that browses to it. 

Setting up your own company business domain may seem like a daunting task, but following our step-by-step guide will hopefully make this process much simpler.

Please follow the sections below to configure the domain:

Choose your subdomain name/s

To setup your branded business domain with us, you need to create a new subdomain off of it. The subdomain is used for the tracked links in the email, email authentication, and to capture bounces. This subdomain 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. 

Names that often work well are...

  • news
  • updates
  • events
  • transactional
  • latest
  • email
  • marketing

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

  • info
  • promotions
  • offers
  • special
  • credit
Create the Domain Key

Domain keys are essential to your setup as they are used to verify the domain name of an email sender, as well as the message integrity. The DKIM record tells a recipients mailbox that you own the message and it is authentic. This is key in ensuring your emails are received.

If your company domain already has DKIM authentication for another purpose, you simply need to setup a new DKIM with a different "keyname", for CommuniGator DKIM authentication to work.

Regardless of how many subdomains you want to use, create this DomainKey for your root business domain name and not for the subdomain you are also creating later on in the guide.

SparkPost is the DKIM wizard we recommend for generating your keys. Head to the following URL for access: https://www.sparkpost.com/resources/tools/dkim-wizard/

Generate a private & public key pair by filling in:

1. Domain Name e.g. "yourcompanyname.com"

2. Domain Key Selector as 'key1'.

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.

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 will normally be made by your IT department if you self-manage your domain, or use a third-party domain provider with a managed domain.

In this step we are creating several records for your new subdomain name, but also some records for your root business domain.

If your root business domain already has the TXT record authentication, you MUST NOT overwrite it with the example below.  You just need to update the TXT record to include CommuniGator alongside your existing authentication.

The DNS settings to configure for your company domain are:

Record Type
Where Answer
Comments
TXT (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.
key1._domainkey (DKIM TXT)
Root Domain
"yourcompanyname.com"
Your DomainKey Selector from the Port25 DKIM wizard e.g. k=rsa; p={key}
The DomainKey selector name must not already be used. 
_dmarc (DMARC TXT)
Root Domain
"yourcompanyname.com"
v=DMARC1; p=quarantine; sp=quarantine; rf=afrf; pct=100;
If you already have DMARC authentication you do not need to add this.
A
Sub Domain
"email.yourcompanyname.com"
37.221.223.30
Do not change or make this on your root domain.
MX (Priority 1)
Sub Domain
"email.yourcompanyname.com"
bounces.gatormail.co.uk
Do not change or make this on your root domain.
TXT (SPF TXT)
Sub Domain
"email.yourcompanyname.com"
v=spf1 include:gatormail.co.uk -all
Do not change or make this on your root domain.

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...

Here is a checklist of items to compare against your DNS. These must be checked and point to the correct location or your domain reputation could be impacted.

  • Your root business domain must have an A record that has NOT BEEN CHANGED.  
  • Your root business domain must have an MX record that has NOT BEEN CHANGED.
  • Your root business domain must have a SPF TXT record which contains "include:gatormail.co.uk".
  • Your root business domain must have a DMARC TXT record.
  • Your root business domain has a new DomainKey created off of it along the lines of "key1._Domainkey.yourcompanyname.com".
  • Your new sub domain must have an A, MX, and TXT records that were detailed in the steps above.

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 CommuniGator Support on support@communigator.co.uk, 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 support@communigator.co.uk