SPF is a standard email authentication method. SPF helps protect your domain against spoofing, and helps prevent your outgoing messages from being marked as spam by receiving servers. SPF specifies the mail servers that are allowed to send email for your domain. Receiving mail servers use SPF to verify that incoming messages that appear to come from your domain were sent by servers authorized by you.
Without SPF, messages sent from your organization or domain are more likely to be marked as spam by receiving mail servers.
Email authentication requirements for sending to Gmail accounts
Google performs checks on messages sent to Gmail accounts to verify messages are authenticated. To help ensure these messages are delivered as expected, set up email authentication for your domain. We recommend you always set up SPF and DKIM to protect your organization’s email, and to meet the authentication requirements described in Email sender guidelines. If you use an email service provider: Verify that your provider's authentication methods meet the requirements in Email sender guidelines. If you regularly forward email: Follow our Best practices for forwarding email to Gmail to help ensure messages are delivered as expected.
Go to the steps for setting up SPF.
Email authentication for Gmail
In addition to SPF, we recommend that you set up DKIM and DMARC. These authentication methods provide more security for your domain, and help ensure messages from your domain are delivered as expected. For more information on DKIM and DMARC, go to Help prevent spoofing, phishing, and spam.
Video: Why set up email authentication?
Email authentication helps prevent messages your organization sends from being flagged as spam.
Video: What are SPF and DKIM
SPF and DKIM help prevent spammers from impersonating your organization.
How SPF protects against spoofing and spam
Helps prevent spoofing
Spammers can forge your domain or organization to send fake messages that appear to come from your organization. This is called spoofing. Spoofed messages can be used for malicious purposes. For example spoofed messages can spread false information, send harmful software, or trick people into giving out sensitive information. SPF lets receiving servers verify that mail that appears to come from your domain is authentic, and not forged or spoofed.To further protect against spoofing and other malicious email activity, we recommend you also set up DKIM and DMARC.
Helps deliver messages to recipients' inboxes
SPF helps prevent messages from your domain from being delivered to spam. If your domain doesn’t use SPF, receiving mail servers can’t verify that messages that appear to be from your domain actually are from you.
Without SPF, receiving servers might send your valid messages to recipients' spam folders, or might reject valid messages.
Before you set up SPF
For details, go to Before you set up SPF.
Define your SPF record—Basic
Tip: This article is for people who don't have experience setting up SPF or email servers.
For details, go to Define your SPF record—Basic setup.
Define your SPF record—Advanced
Tip: This article is for IT professionals and people who have experience setting up email servers.
For details, go to Define your SPF record—Advanced setup.
Add your SPF record at your domain provider
For details, go to Add your SPF record at your domain provider.
Troubleshoot SPF issues
For details, go to Troubleshoot SPF issues.