Customers not receiving your emails, especially confirmation emails, can be incredibly frustrating. This article will provide guidance in how you can use MailGenius to troubleshoot this.
Here's a website that will allow you to send a test email that they will analyze for problems: Mail Genius
*Please note that we have only ever used this company's free tools; we are not suggesting you pay them for consulting services.*
First, create a testing account using the email from Mail Genius:
Next, create a test account in contacts maintenance using the email provided by MailGenius.
Using Contacts -> Email -> Send Email, send a test from your system. Fill out information and click SEND.
Although just “test message” type content will succeed in testing the DNS and mail server configuration stuff, MailGenius also looks at the body of the email. So it’s worth using a template for an email that will actually be sent to a customer (like the Retail Store Order Confirmation), which you can select from the dropdown on the Send Email page. That will allow mail Genius to analyze the subject and body as well as the server stuff.
This is an example of what MailGenius looks for in the content of an email:
Please note that no two situations identical, and the example situation here is fairly specific.
The most common problem causing email to go to spam is incorrect DNS records. Email servers look for a "Sender Policy Framework" (SPF) record and/or a "Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance" (DMARC) record to verify that you have given permission for that mail server to send mail for your domain.
Both SPF and DMARC are things you set up in DNS for your site.
Ensure mail delivery & prevent spoofing (SPF)
(Protect against forged emails & make sure messages aren't marked as spam.)
Sample Results Walkthrough:
Perhaps you have two SPF records - one for outlook.com and one for Gmail. MailGenius says that that may be causing problems. If you are only using Gmail, it may be wise to delete the SPF record for outlook.com.
yourdomainname.com text = "v=spf1 include:spf.protection.outlook.com -all" yourdomainname.com text = "v=spf1 include:_spf.google.com ~all"
Having two SPF records is not necessarily a common problem. It is more often the case that you don’t have one or the one you have is out of date.
SPF records are easier to set up than DMARC, but you can do DMARC as well if you still have trouble after fixing your SPF records.
The blacklist issue that MailGenius mentions in the above results is interesting because this mail server is just a Google server. Google says they routinely request that their servers be removed from blacklists, but this could take a long time, depending on the company. The example server has been blacklisted since March 12th.
Fix email bounces due to blocked IP address
Check DNS Configuration:
A standard approach to prevent spam email is to ensure that the email is coming from a server which is permitted to send mail on behalf of your domain. This is done with 3 DNS records called SPF, DKIM, and DMARC. The SPF (Sender Policy Framework) is the most important record. DKIM and DMARC are more complicated to set up and less often required by mail providers.
To check whether your DNS is configured correctly for email to be delivered, use this free online tool: https://mxtoolbox.com/
Enter your domain name and the site will tell you if your DNS records are configured properly.
If you need to add SPF, DKIM, and/or DMARC records, here are the instructions to do so:
- If your mail provider is Gmail: https://support.google.com/a/answer/33786?hl=en
- If your mail provider is Microsoft 365: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/security/office-365-security/email-validation-and-authentication?view=o365-worldwide#configure-email-authentication-for-domains-you-own
If you are still having troubles, we can also help you set up to use Amazon SES for your outbound mail provider. It's not a silver bullet to fix all these issues, but it could help, and it's easy to set up.
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