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What is DKIM and how to create a DKIM record

Have you ever wondered whether the emails that you receive are secure? Or maybe you have had your own emails be sent to the SPAM folder of the recipient? This is because there are different methods, techniques and systems that are used to identify and classify SPAM with one example being DKIM.

In this documentation entry we are going to focus on DKIM as well as DKIM records, what they are and how you can create them to help verify and authorize your domain.

What is DKIM?

DKIM, short for DomainKeys Identified Mail, is a method that allows the email receiver to verify that a given email has in fact been sent by the owner of a particular domain. This happens by the addition of a digital signature that is added to each email that you send.

Upon receiving the email, the server checks whether the signature is valid. If the email is authorized it gets placed into the recipient’s Inbox and if the signature validation process happens to fail, then it gets redirected either to the SPAM folder or doesn’t arrive in the Inbox at all. This is what an example signature, also referred to as a ‘record’, looks like:

v=DKIM1; k=rsa; p=MIIBIjANBgkqhkiG9w0BAQEFAAOCAQ8AMIIBCgKCAQEA1xk+RxRnwzixz+PScBInf7+q9IvIRZMlB27mSI6R+pTw33KLfD30YorUHzbysHxSHgis76wRixusdjJV3TQpaLbkl84o0+8y2CQcpqGovpXtSTOT/eOc2dEwKbvdhu0tWDNLnKb1y1CY5ja2PCiz5qJ2idZslF1SVbkQEPUXfQQHaAEo7rz6+9smXhhzP3BlgNa9EdYCpQwL0MAV6bcNjdx7PNCQPASluKiQzceTOn+j4jbzvPIJoczX8sHSEanwXyaaBihxeapWoBvflb+HgEfIn9/UICypiadQff8jEHhm/7pJAMThJkl4zm8JLAJ/tyRhHEG9Fg5kQEjIWlitOQIDAQAB

Why it is important to have DKIM enabled and configured

Generally speaking, there are 3 main reasons as to why you need to use DKIM for your emails.

Reason number 1 is for protection. Enabling and utilizing DKIM allows the recipient to verify that an email has not changed while it was being sent. This automatically makes your emails much more secure and protects them from injections and other types of interception attacks.

The second reason as to why you should be using DKIM is because you will increase your domain’s reputation, which will in turn result in a lower chance of your emails ending up in the SPAM folder. This is extremely important for companies and businesses that communicate on a large scale on a daily basis.

Finally, if you plan to use DMARC, also known as Domain-Based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance, then you definitely need to be utilizing DKIM as it is one of the protocol’s foundational methods.

How to create a DKIM record

In order for DKIM to work properly, you need to do 2 very important things:

  • Create a new DNS (TXT) record
  • Make your email server sign your emails with a specific private key

In order to complete both of these steps, we suggest using the DKIM generator tool. With it, you can easily create both the DNS record and the private key which you will need. To do so, open up the tool, enter your domain and choose the default selector for DKIM.

IMPORTANT: If you are currently on one of our shared hosting plans, this process is entirely automated! DKIM is already configured, meaning that you don’t have to do anything!

How to verify a DKIM record

If you have already created a DKIM record and are wondering whether everything has been configured correctly, you can use the Mail-Tester tool to make sure that your record is being verified. After using the tool you can review and check the DKIM status.

If you have any other questions about DKIM or you have trouble setting it up, do not hesitate to contact our technical support team.

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