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Invalid SPF records
Sam Gioia avatar
Written by Sam Gioia
Updated over a week ago

Updated Feb 12, 2024

After connecting an email address to Dubsado, Dubsado automatically checks your SPF record status. When you go to Settings > Emails and scroll down to Email Deliverability, you may see an error message due to an invalid SPF record.

Below are the error messages that appear in Dubsado and possible reasons why your SPF record may be invalid. For all of these error messages, you’ll need to find your domain host’s DNS (domain server name) settings page and look at the SPF record listed.

If you’ve tried troubleshooting using the information below and these error messages still don’t resolve, please reach out to your email or domain host for further assistance.


No valid TXT record found for one of the domains listed in your SPF record

Error message: “No valid TXT record found for one of the domains listed in your SPF record. Please update the record in your DNS settings to resolve the issue.”

This error message most likely means that you have an SPF record listed with your domain host, but Dubsado couldn’t verify that the SPF record is valid. Below are the most common reasons why we couldn’t verify your SPF record.

The SPF value is incorrect

The SPF value is always provided by your email host, so please ensure that you have their most updated value. To find the SPF value of your email host, reach out to them directly or go to their help center and search “SPF record”.

For your convenience, we’ve compiled common email host SPF values into the table below:

Field

Text to input

Type

TXT

Host (May also be called Name)

@

Value (May also be called Data)

Google: v=spf1 include:_spf.google.com ~all

Microsoft: v=spf1 include:spf.protection.outlook.com ~all

GoDaddy: v=spf1 include:secureserver.net ~all

Zoho: v=spf1 include:zoho.com ~all or v=spf1 include:one.zoho.com ~all

Any other SMTP connection: v=spf1 a:spf.dubsado.com ~all

TTL

Google: 1 hour

Microsoft: Default

GoDaddy: Default

Zoho: 12 hours

Any other SMTP connection: Default

You selected SPF type instead of TXT type

When you’re inputting SPF records with your domain host, make sure you are entering it as a TXT type, and not an SPF type. For example, Wix shows separate sections for TXT and SPF. You’d want to create an SPF record in the TXT section.

screenshot of wix spf and text records page

This is because, at one point, SPF records were created as their own record type (separate from a TXT record). However, people were familiar with using TXT records, so having separate SPF records never replaced TXT records. Despite people continuing to prefer TXT records, many domain hosts still show SPF as their own record type.

The SPF record hasn’t yet been updated

If you just recently added or fixed the SPF record with your domain host, there is a waiting period called propagation, where it can take up to 48 hours for the new record to be updated across the internet.


We found multiple SPF records on your domain

Error message: “We found multiple SPF records on your domain, and there should be only one. Please update the record in your DNS settings to resolve the issue.”

This error message means that you have multiple SPF records listed with your domain host, which will always result in an error because domain hosts can only have one SPF record. You can identify an SPF record by looking for v=spf1 listed as a value on your DNS settings page. If you see multiple of these, then all SPF values cancel out, and none will be seen as valid.

To fix this, you’ll need to make sure you only have one SPF record in your domain settings by merging multiple SPF records.


We could not find any domains on your SPF record

Error message: “We could not find any domains on your SPF record. Please update the record in your DNS settings to resolve the issue.”

This error message means that Dubsado couldn’t find the domain that is associated with your SPF record. The most likely cause is that your domain host does not have any SPF records available. To fix this, you’ll need to add an SPF record with your domain host.


We found an error

Error message: “We found an error: [your specific SPF error]. This could be due to a typo. Please reach out to your email host for the correct record."

The specific error is dependent on what the error is. Most commonly, this error appears when your SPF record has some sort of typo, or if merged SPF records were done incorrectly.

Below is an example of how an SPF record should look in your settings page:

v=spf1 include:_spf.google.com ~all

The first part of an SPF record always starts with v=spf1. This is how email servers identify that the record is actually an SPF record. The last part of an SPF record always ends with ~all or -all. You can only have one SPF record with one v=spf1 and one ~all.


There was an error with your SPF record

Error message: “There was an error with your SPF record. Please reach out to your email host for the correct record.”

This error message most likely means that Dubsado couldn’t verify that the SPF record listed with your domain host is valid, for a reason other than one of the errors listed above. If you get this error message, the reasons below may fix this error message. If you are still getting the error, please contact your email or domain host to determine the cause.

The SPF record hasn’t yet been updated

If you just recently added or fixed the SPF record with your domain host, there is a waiting period called propagation, where it can take up to 48 hours for the new record to be updated across the internet.

Too many merged SPF records

If you merged a large number of SPF records, you might have reached the maximum number of allowed calls to other domains — this call is referred to as a “DNS lookup”. Per the official RFC specification document, an SPF record can only have a maximum of 10 DNS lookups.

When you look at your SPF record, every instance that you see the following terms will count as one lookup:

  • redirect

  • include

  • a

  • mx

  • ptr

  • exists

The following terms are not counted against the 10 DNS lookup limit:

  • all

  • ip4

  • ip6

  • exp

If you have over 10 DNS lookups, you’ll want to use an SPF flattening tool.

The SPF record has too many characters

The SPF record listed with your domain host must be less than 255 characters, as specified by the official RFC specification document. In general, you won’t run into this issue unless you have many merged SPF records.

To fix an SPF record with more than 255 characters, you’ll want to break up the values into “multiple strings” of 255 characters or less. You do this by adding quotation marks (”) around each string.

Below is an example of the differences between a valid and not valid SPF record:

Valid (two strings, each under 255 characters)

Not valid (one string over 255 characters)

“v=spf1 ip4:192.168.0.1 ip4:192.168.0.2 ip4:192.168.0.3 ip4:192.168.0.4 ip4:192.168.0.5 include:_spf.google.com” “ip4:192.168.0.6 ip4:192.168.0.7 ip4:192.168.0.8 ip4:192.168.0.9 ip4:192.168.1.0 ip4:i192.168.1.1 include:zoho.com ~all”

“v=spf1 ip4:192.168.0.1 ip4:192.168.0.2 ip4:192.168.0.3 ip4:192.168.0.4 ip4:192.168.0.5 include:_spf.google.com ip4:192.168.0.6 ip4:192.168.0.7 ip4:192.168.0.8 ip4:192.168.0.9 ip4:192.168.1.0 ip4:i192.168.1.1 ip4:i192.168.1.2 ip4:i192.168.1.3 include:zoho.com ~all”

👋 Here’s a tip… The maximum length of a value in a TXT record is 4,000 characters.

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