Email validation glossary. What do all these terms mean anyway?
SMTP – What is SMTP? This acronym stands for Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP). This protocol allow you to send, receive and/or relay electronic mails (emails) between senders and receivers. Think of this protocol as a set of guidelines that enables digital transmissions on the internet. For email communication to “work”, you need to have SMTP servers to receive, review and relay your messages. Not the content of the email message, just the verification of the destination and sender. If you send to a non-valid recipient, you will get a returned message from the SMTP Server, typically contains details as to why it was returned (or bounced). When you have successful deliver, the email server OK’s the mail sender, then deposits the email into the intended recipients email inbox. It’s fair to think of it like a digital post office delivering to the proper address, or returning the mail to sender.
DNS – What is my DNS? Let’s start with explaining what that even means…DNS stands for Domain Name System, think of it like a library classification system, for the internet. It’s the brand standard for managing IP addresses on the Internet. A DNS server is a computer server that contains a list/directory of qualified domain names, and the public IP addresses for each specific domain. The DNS translates human characters, into a structured and readable IP address. The DNS check for MailValidation.io for example is the IP address of 188.8.131.52
DKIM – What is a DKIM record? A DKIM record, (DomainKeys Identified Mail), is a specially formatted DNS TXT record which stores the public key the receiving mail server will use to verify an emails authenticity. DKIM records are also email security standards, they help detect if emails are altered between sending & receiving mailservers. The DKIM record is essentially a modified TXT record that adds cryptographic signatures to your emails. This provides a way to validate that an organization delivering an email has the right to do so. You see these used a lot when someone is sending emails on your behalf. This support desk software, email marketing platforms, etc. Having the DKIM record authenticated on the 3rd party platform you use to send emails increases your email delivery rates, often time significantly.
SPF – What is an SPF record? An SPF (sender policy framework) record helps protect your domain against spoofing by identifying the mail servers and domains that are authorized to send emails on behalf of your domain. An SPF record is a type of DNS TXT record which lists all servers cleared to send emails from your domain. SPF records are key in email security through the process of verifying the email servers sending on your behalf, SPF records aren’t perfect in preventing spoofing but combined with DMARC and DKIM can improve your email security significantly.
Email Blacklist – What is an email blacklist? A blacklist is an up-to-date collection of IP addresses suspected of distributing spam. Most mailbox and service providers reference multiple email blacklists, of which there are hundreds, to block senders identified as low integrity from their users. Email blacklists raise a flag when they notice odd behavior on an account, then they grab IP data and add it to their library and update who is and is not blacklisted.