• volticinc@gmail.com
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  • 20 Jun 2024

Email deliverability is crucial for businesses that rely on email communication to reach their customers effectively. At Inbox Automation, we recognize that various factors can influence your email’s journey to the inbox, and one often overlooked aspect is email forwarding.

How Email Forwarding Affects Email Deliverability

1. Spam Filters and Forwarding

When an email is forwarded, it may pass through multiple spam filters before reaching the final recipient. Each filter evaluates the email based on various criteria, such as the sender’s reputation, content, and the presence of authentication protocols like SPF, DKIM, and DMARC. If the email triggers spam filters during any stage of the forwarding process, it may be marked as spam or rejected.

Example: If an email is forwarded from a domain with a poor reputation or lacking proper authentication, it might be flagged by spam filters, reducing its chances of reaching the inbox.

2. Authentication Issues

Authentication protocols like SPF (Sender Policy Framework), DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail), and DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance) are designed to verify the legitimacy of an email sender. Forwarding can complicate these protocols:

  • SPF: When an email is forwarded, the forwarding server may not be listed in the original sender’s SPF record, causing SPF checks to fail.
  • DKIM: Forwarded emails should retain their DKIM signatures, but if any modifications occur during forwarding, the signatures might become invalid.
  • DMARC: DMARC relies on SPF and DKIM to validate emails. If either fails during forwarding, DMARC will also fail, potentially leading to email rejection or placement in the spam folder.

Example: An email forwarded by a server not listed in the sender’s SPF record will fail SPF checks, which can lead to deliverability issues under DMARC policies.

3. Sender Reputation

Forwarding emails can affect the sender’s reputation. If forwarded emails consistently trigger spam filters or fail authentication checks, it can damage the sender’s reputation, making future emails more likely to be marked as spam.

Example: A company that forwards a high volume of emails without proper authentication may see its sender reputation decline, affecting deliverability for all its outgoing emails.

Mitigating the Impact of Email Forwarding on Deliverability

1. Configure Authentication Properly

Ensure that forwarding servers are included in your SPF records. Use the “include” mechanism in SPF to specify all servers authorized to forward your emails.

Example: Update your SPF record to include the IP addresses of servers that handle email forwarding. Add an “include” statement for each server.

2. Implement DKIM and DMARC Correctly

Ensure that forwarded emails retain their DKIM signatures. Configure your DKIM settings to avoid modifications during forwarding. Use DMARC with a “relaxed” alignment to accommodate forwarding scenarios.

Example: Set DKIM to use a relaxed mode, allowing minor modifications to the email without invalidating the signature. Adjust DMARC policies to be more lenient with forwarded emails.

3. Use Reliable Forwarding Services

Choose email forwarding services that support proper authentication protocols and have good reputations. Avoid using free or low-quality forwarding services that may not handle authentication correctly.

Example: Use reputable services like Google Workspace or Microsoft 365 for forwarding emails, as they have robust systems in place to maintain email authentication and deliverability.

4. Monitor and Test Deliverability

Monitor your email deliverability rates regularly and test forwarded emails to ensure they reach the intended recipients. Use email testing tools to check for issues with authentication and spam filters.

Example: Utilize tools like MailTester or GlockApps to test forwarded emails for deliverability issues. These tools can provide insights into SPF, DKIM, and DMARC compliance and highlight potential problems.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Impact of Email Forwarding on Email Deliverability

Email forwarding can impact deliverability by causing issues with spam filters, authentication protocols (SPF, DKIM, and DMARC), and sender reputation. Forwarded emails may trigger spam filters or fail authentication checks, marking emails as spam or rejected.

2. What are SPF, DKIM, and DMARC, and how do they relate to email forwarding?

  • SPF (Sender Policy Framework): An email authentication method verifies whether an email is sent from an authorized server. Forwarding can cause SPF checks to fail if the forwarding server is not listed in the sender’s SPF record.
  • DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail): adds a digital signature to emails to verify their integrity and authenticity. Forwarding can invalidate DKIM signatures if the email is altered during transit.
  • DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, & Conformance): Uses SPF and DKIM to verify emails and instructs to handle failed authentication. Forwarding can lead to DMARC failures if SPF or DKIM checks fail.

3. Why do forwarded emails sometimes end up in the spam folder? Forwarded emails can end up in the spam folder due to failed authentication checks (SPF, DKIM, DMARC), poor sender reputation, or being flagged by spam filters during the forwarding process.

4. How can I ensure SPF records work correctly with email forwarding? Include the IP addresses of forwarding servers in your SPF record using the “include” mechanism. This helps ensure SPF checks pass for forwarded emails.

Example: Update your SPF record to include: v=spf1 include:forwarding-server.com -all

5. What is a relaxed alignment in DMARC, and how does it help with email forwarding? Relaxed alignment in DMARC allows for minor discrepancies between the “From” domain and the domains used in SPF and DKIM checks. This helps forwarded emails pass DMARC checks,

Frequently Asked Questions About the Impact of Email Forwarding on Email Deliverability

1. How does email forwarding affect email deliverability?

Email forwarding can impact deliverability by causing issues with spam filters, authentication protocols (SPF, DKIM, and DMARC), and sender reputation. Forwarded emails may trigger spam filters or fail authentication checks, marking emails as spam or rejected.

2. What are SPF, DKIM, and DMARC, and how do they relate to email forwarding?

  • SPF (Sender Policy Framework): An email authentication method verifies whether an email is sent from an authorized server. Forwarding can cause SPF checks to fail if the forwarding server is not listed in the sender’s SPF record.
  • DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail) adds a digital signature to emails to verify their integrity and authenticity. Forwarding can invalidate DKIM signatures if the email is altered during transit.
  • DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, & Conformance): Uses SPF and DKIM to verify emails and instructs to handle failed authentication. Forwarding can lead to DMARC failures if SPF or DKIM checks fail.

3. Why do forwarded emails sometimes end up in the spam folder?

Forwarded emails can end up in the spam folder due to failed authentication checks (SPF, DKIM, DMARC), poor sender reputation, or being flagged by spam filters during the forwarding process.

4. How can I ensure SPF records work correctly with email forwarding?

Include the IP addresses of forwarding servers in your SPF record using the “include” mechanism. This helps ensure SPF checks pass for forwarded emails.

Example: Update your SPF record to include: v=spf1 include:forwarding-server.com -all

5. What is a relaxed alignment in DMARC, and how does it help with email forwarding?

Relaxed alignment in DMARC allows for minor discrepancies between the “From” domain and the domains used in SPF and DKIM checks. This helps forwarded emails pass DMARC checks, even with slight variations.

Example: Set DMARC to relaxed mode: v=DMARC1; p=none; sp=none; aspf=r; adkim=r;

6. Can using reliable forwarding services improve email deliverability?

Yes, using reputable forwarding services like Google Workspace or Microsoft 365 can improve deliverability. These services typically handle authentication protocols correctly and have good reputations, reducing the risk of emails being marked as spam.

7. How can I monitor the deliverability of forwarded emails?

Use email testing tools like MailTester, GlockApps, or Litmus to check the deliverability of forwarded emails. These tools can provide insights into authentication compliance and potential spam issues.

8. What are some best practices to improve the deliverability of forwarded emails?

  • Configure SPF, DKIM, and DMARC correctly.
  • Use reputable forwarding services.
  • Regularly monitor and test email deliverability.
  • Keep forwarding rules and filters updated and optimized.

9. How does forwarding affect my sender’s reputation?

If forwarded emails consistently fail authentication checks or trigger spam filters, it can damage your sender’s reputation. A poor sender reputation can lead to higher chances of future emails being marked as spam.

10. Can forwarding impact my overall email campaign performance?

Yes, forwarding can impact email campaign performance by affecting deliverability rates. Ensuring proper configuration and using best practices can help maintain high deliverability and improve the effectiveness of your email campaigns.

Even if there are slight variations.

Example: Set DMARC to relaxed mode: v=DMARC1; p=none; sp=none; aspf=r; adkim=r;

6. Can using reliable forwarding services improve email deliverability?

Yes, using reputable forwarding services like Google Workspace or Microsoft 365 can improve deliverability. These services typically handle authentication protocols correctly and have good reputations, reducing the risk of emails being marked as spam.

7. How can I monitor the deliverability of forwarded emails?

Use email testing tools like MailTester, GlockApps, or Litmus to check the deliverability of forwarded emails. These tools can provide insights into authentication compliance and potential spam issues.

8. What are some best practices to improve the deliverability of forwarded emails?

  • Configure SPF, DKIM, and DMARC correctly.
  • Use reputable forwarding services.
  • Regularly monitor and test email deliverability.
  • Keep forwarding rules and filters updated and optimized.

9. How does forwarding affect my sender’s reputation?

If forwarded emails consistently fail authentication checks or trigger spam filters, it can damage your sender’s reputation. A poor sender reputation can lead to higher chances of future emails being marked as spam.

10. Can forwarding impact my overall email campaign performance?

Yes, forwarding can impact email campaign performance by affecting deliverability rates. Ensuring proper configuration and using best practices can help maintain high deliverability and improve the effectiveness of your email campaigns.

Conclusion

While email forwarding is a common practice, its implications for email deliverability are significant. By understanding these impacts and implementing best practices, businesses can ensure that their communication remains effective and their sender’s reputation remains intact. Inbox Automation strives to provide solutions that enhance email strategies, ensuring optimal deliverability and engagement.

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