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Setting up SPF records for Google Apps and Amazon SES

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Update: AWS now sends email using a Mail-From domain that they own and control (see here). This means you don’t really need to configure your own SPF records at all. I’m leaving this post here for posterity and all the links that already point at it.

The Sender Policy Framework (SPF) is an attempt to mitigate certain types of spam - specifically spam where the sender masquerades as a different sender. Technically, you can put whatever you want in the From: header of an email message, so you can pretend to be sending emails from simply by putting something like From: in your email’s headers.

Email relay servers prevent this by looking up the sender’s domain’s SPF record (defined in DNS records). The SPF record tells the mail server “here are some originating IP addresses that are legit, if a message arrives pretending to be from this domain, make sure the originating IP address is on this list”.

Using GMail and SES? #

If you happen to be sending emails through Google Apps and Amazon SES (e.g. automated system emails via SES and “real” person-to-person emails via GMail), you need to ensure that your SPF record is set up to allow for both domains.

So here’s how: put this in your DNS system’s TXT and SPF record (why both?):

"v=spf1 ~all"

See here for more information from Google: