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Today we’re going to take an in-depth look at DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM), and how it can help maintain brand reputation and improve email deliverability.

What’s a DKIM record for and how does it protect you?

DKIM has a very important job when it comes to email security and it’s to ensure an email has not been tampered with in transit. Once an email has been sent, it can pass through many different servers that neither you (the sender) nor the recipient has any control over. It also shows the recipient that the original sending server has permission to send on the domain’s behalf, and will prevent the delivery of malicious emails.

To dive a little deeper, a DKIM record is made up of three parts. Firstly, there is the private key that is stored by the sender and is managed by them. For example, if you are an SMTP2GO user, we will be managing that private key. Then, there is the public key that is stored in the sender domain’s DNS, and finally, there is the DKIM signature. The DKIM signature is shown in the header of the email and confirms that the email has not been tampered with on its journey. It’s a mixture of the content and the public key and is validated against the public key that sits in the sender’s DNS.

An image of servers with a padlock to show DKIM security

DKIM primarily protects you from spoofing and phishing attacks which can be extremely detrimental to your domain and sender’s reputation. Therefore, setting up a DKIM record is necessary for continuous email deliverability and brand recognition via email.

Are there any downsides?

The only potential snag a DKIM record may have (and the same goes for SPF records) is when an email is forwarded by the original receiver. In this case, the email may not appear as legitimate as the authentication records will not be aligned and a bounce will occur. In most cases, you will not know about said bounced email. The use of Variable Envelope Return Path verification (VERP) however, which is the newest form of verification that we implement here at SMTP2GO will give you an insight into more logs after initial delivery.

If you have any questions about DKIM or VERP, please reach out to our award-winning support team at hello@smtp2go.com, they’d be happy to help.

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