Setup Custom Domain Authentication via DKIM

Internet Service Providers (ISPs) like Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft, use DKIM authentication as their main method of scanning incoming emails for spam or spoofed addresses. Emails that fail authentication via SPF or DKIM are more likely to arrive in a spam or junk folder.

To help ensure your campaigns reach your subscribers’ inboxes we provide this type of authentication for all accounts as part of our standard offering. You can however set up your own custom DKIM authentication for your domain to make your campaigns look more professional. In this article, you’ll learn how to set up your own DKIM authentication in your DNS records for just that purpose.

Before You Start

Here are a couple of things you should know before you begin this process.

  • Custom domain authentication is optional for Campaign Connex users as we provide this authentication as standard on all accounts. Learn more about the benefits of default vs. custom domain authentication by viewing our article on Understanding Email Authentication

 
To set up your own custom DKIM authentication, you will need to change some account settings with your DNS provider. If you don’t know who your DNS provider is, you’ll need to firstly reach out to your hosting service in order to find this out.

Custom Authentication: A Quick Overview of the Process

To authenticate your domain, you’ll need to complete tasks in your Campaign Connex account, as well as in your domain provider’s zone editor or cPanel. This process requires you to copy and paste information from your Campaign Connex account to your domain provider’s site. We recommend that you work with two browser windows or tabs open for this, to make it easier to move between the two sites.

Here’s a brief overview of the process. Please note though, that in place of “yoursite.com” you would be expected to use the domain that you are looking to authenticate.

Step-by-Step Instructions:

You would need to access the domain verification section to begin. This is presented to you during the setup of your first campaign, showing you an orange footer on the campaign setup page to open up details, and by a pop up box that appears at the end of the process if you have not yet seen this section.

screen-shot-2017-04-10-at-16-21-17

To authenticate additional domains / access this section outside of a campaign; you need only scroll to the profile icon and click on it, to reveal “domain authentication” as one of the options. Click on this and it will take you to an overview page showing the domains you have verified / are in process, as well as the option to add new domains for authentication.

Once you have opened up the authentication settings form, either through the campaign setup process, or by adding a new domain in the domain authentication section of the site, you should scroll down to the “Verify via DNS Records” section and click the drop down arrow to populate the information.

You should then see values that look something like this next to DKIM :

In another browser tab or window, use this information to edit your domain’s DNS records, and once you have created the CNAME record and TXT record with the required values, simply click the Authenticate Domain button and you’re done. 

On the DNS side:

To authenticate your domain, navigate to your domain provider’s site. Then, use the DKIM information you copied from Campaign Connex to create and update your DNS records.

Domain providers use different names for the page where you’ll update the DNS record, like  cPanel, Zone Editor, Zone File Settings, Manage Domains, Domain Manager, DNS Manager, or something similar so bear this in mind when you are searching for the relevant part of their site.

Example CNAME Record for DKIM

Here’s an approximate example of what your CNAME record will need to look like to set up DKIM authentication. Remember, when you edit your own records, because of differences between providers, these columns and their labels may look slightly different.

DKIM
Hostname: scph0417._domainkey.campaignconnex.com
Type: TXT
Value: v=DKIM1; k=rsa; h=sha256;

DKIM Tips

  • DKIM requires underscores in the CNAME file. However, in the past, DNS records didn’t allow for underscores and some registrars still do not allow them to appear in the CNAME file today. If you receive this type of error when you set up DKIM, then that means that the issue is on the registrar’s side. In those types of circumstances, we would recommend any of these three options: contact your registrar for assistance, set up a secondary custom domain with a registrar that allows underscores, or switch DNS providers completely.
  • Depending on your provider, you may also need to add a period at the end of your CNAME record. Some providers add this period automatically, so you may want to refer to their help site for more information.Example: dkim.mcsv.net.

 

How to Edit DNS Records in Common Domain Providers

Because there are so many different providers, we can’t provide step-by-step instructions on how to create the TXT and CNAME files in each of them without going on for pages and pages. Instead, we’ve sourced their help / step-by-step guides and put them in one place for you. We’ve listed out most of the popular domain providers, but if your service isn’t listed here, log in to your provider’s site and search their help documents, or contact their customer support team.

If you find one that we’re missing, we’d also appreciate a link to the page that we can add here for future users, if you’re willing to be so helpful. Good luck, and any difficulties feel free to reach out on web chat or via email, and our support team will do their best to help guide you through it where possible.

Amazon Web Services: Configuring DNSResource Record Types A Small Orange: DNS

Dreamhost: See more 

GoDaddy: See more 

Google Domains: See more 

Hostgator: See more 

Hover: See more 

Namecheap: See more 

Network Solutions: See more 

Squarespace: See more: 

After records are entered into your DNS correctly, come back to Campaign Connex and hit the verify button. This will execute a check to see if everything has been updated correctly. Typically your servers should process the changes in a few minutes, so the authentication process will not take long. In some cases though, it may take a bit longer, with some providers taking up to 48 hours to process these types of changes to your servers.

Once that period is over, don’t forget to re-open your Campaign Connex browser tab or window and click Authenticate Domain to make sure it has all processed successfullyWhen this has been successfully processed you’ll see a green checkmark next to each type of authentication that has been successfully completed for that domain.

We also log and store your authentication when you set it up so you don’t need to worry about having to redo this. If you make further changes to the TXT or CNAME records after you authenticate your domain, however it could interfere with the information we have on file. Before you make further changes, disable authentication on the Domain Authentication page, and then re-authenticate after your DNS changes are complete to make sure your domain authentication is still valid. 

Troubleshooting

If you’ve entered all the required records correctly and your authentication isn’t working right away, there typically isn’t any immediate cause for concern. You may need to just wait a bit longer (up to 48 hours in some cases) since it can sometimes take time for your servers to recognize your changes.

If you still experience problems after this point, we recommend you reach out to your domain provider’s help site for tips on troubleshooting DNS records in their service, as this could be a more serious problem.

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