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Right, now it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty! What are the meanings of all these abbreviations involved with SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol), why are they important and what do they do? Well, you have come to the right place! Below, I am going to discuss some of the most important terms associated with SMTP (SSL, TLS, DKIM & SPF), which all have a link to security and permissions when sending emails; in particular, when using an external SMTP provider.

SSL – Secure Sockets Layer

SSL adds an extra layer of security when sending emails. This encryption ensures that the information is unreadable on its journey to the server. Absolutely necessary when transferring sensitive data and information in order to avoid criminals/hackers getting hold of or editing the information in transit.

TLS – Transport Layer Security

TLS is an updated and more secure version of SSL. Some mailing programs may only allow SSL (or visa versa) and some will allow you to choose between the two. If you can choose between the two, we’d definitely recommend using TLS. TLS also opens up a wider range of port connections as it allows you to connect to non-secure ports, such as 2525, 8025, 587 or 25.

DKIM – DomainKeys Identified Mail

A DKIM record is designed to prevent spoofing and shows the incoming server that the sender has the right to send on that domain’s behalf. If you are not too sure what spoofing is, it is when a person tries to send an email from a domain that isn’t theirs, in order to fool the recipient. For example, if someone tried to send from @paypal.com, but they do not work for PayPal or own that domain, this would be called Spoofing. For this reason, it is very important to create a DKIM record when sending via SMTP2GO so that the email is signed on arrival and the incoming server can see that you and SMTP2GO have permission to send on your domain’s behalf.

SPF – Sender Policy Framework Record

Updating your SPF record is extremely important when using an external SMTP provider. When your emails arrive to an incoming server, the incoming server will check the SPF record to again see ‘who’ has permission to send on a domain’s behalf! SMTP2GO now implements a clever method of SPF checking using a CNAME instead. This gives many advantages over the standard SPF record, including better security and easy DNS verification. More specific details are available here.

So, there we have it! Now that you know what these terms mean, I’d recommend ensuring that you have each one in place. That way, you can send your emails at ease knowing that they are safe from hackers and will be accepted by the recipient’s incoming server.

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Henry Mickens says:

thank you for this information, it will help me understand how email security works

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