Email Deliverability is a Black Art

It used to be so simple. You sent an email, it got delivered. Unless you used AOL, then it was anybody’s guess. But then evil people abused the system for nefarious purposes: They forged the “from” and “sender” addresses of emails to make them look like they came from your bank; they added links to websites that infected your computer; they embedded carefully crafted images to exploit web browser vulnerabilities; they used “open relays” to route their dodgy emails through different systems.

Of course, this still happens today, and as a result there are now spam filters with over-zealous configurations on email systems all over the world looking for any excuse to stop your legitimate email from being delivered.

Ensuring that your clients receive that registration confirmation or password reset email is fraught with complexity and the possibility that the message may never arrive is very real. Perhaps worse still is the possibility that an order acknowledgement email or contact form submission destined for your inbox goes awry.

At ib3 towers, we clearly want to do everything we can to ensure that emails are delivered safely, so what are we doing to combat this problem?

Enter Mailgun.

As part of the Rackspace hosting solution that all of our customers benefit from, we use Mailgun. We are not email system administrators and we certainly aren’t familiar with every email client and server nuance and configuration. Mailgun are the experts here and by leveraging their expertise we can mitigate deliverability concerns while focusing on what we do best.

All emails sent from the websites we build are relayed through Mailgun systems and in return they provide us with the peace of mind that emails will arrive safely, as well as:

Automatic Management

Mailgun automatically manages the delivery process to give the emails we send the best chance of landing in the inbox.

Email Logging and Tracking

No more unknowns. Every email sent is logged and tracked.

It’s important that we know (and can prove) that emails are being sent from our systems and delivered to the recipient. We can monitor opens, clicks, bounces, unsubscribes and complaints from every email.

Verification with SPF and DKIM

We can do even more to ensure that your emails are delivered safely, by configuring SPF and DKIM on the DNS records for your domain.

Receiving email systems might look for records stored against the sending domain known as Sender Policy Framework (SPF) records. It sounds fancy, but they are essentially text records containing a whitelist of domains and IP addresses that are permitted to send email. If an email has been spoofed “from” @paypal.com, the SPF record for paypal.com is checked to make sure the IP address the email was sent from is permitted to do so.

With DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail) when emails are sent, they are digitally signed with a super-secret private key known only to us (we don’t even tell our mums). A companion public key stored in the DNS records for your domain can then be used by email systems to verify that the from address is valid and that the email hasn’t been tampered with.

We can set all this up for you, so talk to us if you would like to utilise DNS based verification for your website emails.

 

For many of the benefits listed here, we also utilise third party services such as Campaign Monitor and MailChimp for sending beautifully crafted email marketing campaigns on behalf of our customers.