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  • 18 Jun 2024

For businesses using Google Workspace (formerly G Suite) for their email services, setting up SPF, DKIM, and DMARC records is essential to ensuring email security and deliverability. These email authentication protocols help protect your domains from email spoofing and phishing attacks. Here’s a detailed guide on how to implement SPF, DKIM, and DMARC records in Google Workspace.

Understanding SPF, DKIM, and DMARC

SPF (Sender Policy Framework)

SPF helps verify that emails sent from your domain come from authorized mail servers. It reduces the chances of your domain being used for spam or phishing.

DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail)

DKIM adds an encrypted signature to the header of all outgoing emails, ensuring that the content of the email remains unchanged during transit. It verifies that the email was indeed sent and authorized by the domain’s owner.

DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance)

DMARC uses SPF and DKIM to determine the authenticity of an email message. It provides instructions to the receiving mail server on what to do if neither of those authentication methods passes. It also reports back to the sender about messages that pass and fail DMARC evaluation.

Setting Up SPF for Google Workspace

  1. Access Your Domain’s DNS Settings: Log in to the domain registrar where your domain is hosted.
  2. Modify the DNS Records: Add an SPF TXT record to specify which mail servers are allowed to send emails on behalf of your domain. The standard SPF record for Google Workspace looks like this:makefileCopy codev=spf1 include:_spf.google.com ~all This record authorizes emails sent from Google’s servers and suggests a soft fail (~all) for other sources.

Implementing DKIM for Google Workspace

  1. Generate the DKIM Key:
    • In the Google Workspace Admin console, go to Apps > Google Workspace > Gmail.
    • Click on “Authenticate email” and select the domain for which you want to set up DKIM.
    • Click “Generate a new record.” Google will recommend a 2048-bit DKIM key.
    • You can choose a prefix selector, typically ‘google’ by default.
  2. Add the DKIM record to Your domain‘s DNS:
    • Once you have the DKIM key, add it as a TXT record in your domain’s DNS settings.
    • The TXT record name should be in the format of google._domainkey.yourdomain.com.
    • Paste the DKIM value generated from the Google Workspace admin console into the TXT record value field.

Configuring DMARC for Google Workspace

  1. Create the DMARC Record:
    • In your domain’s DNS settings, add a DMARC TXT record.
    • A typical DMARC record looks like this: copy codev=DMARC1; p=none; rua=mailto:yourname@yourdomain.com
    • The policy here (p=none) specifies that no specific account should be used against emails that fail the DMARC check. Based on your security needs, this can be set to quarantine or reject.
    • The rua The tag specifies where aggregate reports of DMARC failures will be sent.

Best Practices and Considerations

  • Regular Monitoring: Regularly check the performance of your SPF, DKIM, and DMARC settings through tools like Google Postmaster Tools.
  • Gradual Policy Enforcement: Start with a lenient DMARC policy (p=none) and move to more strict settings (quarantinereject) as you gain confidence in the configuration.
  • Record Propagation: DNS changes can take up to 48 hours to propagate. Verify your records after setup to ensure they are resolved correctly.
  • Secure Your Email Communications: Regularly updating and monitoring your SPF, DKIM, and DMARC records helps maintain the integrity and security of your email communications.

Frequently Asked Questions About SPF, DKIM, and DMARC Records in Google Workspace

What are SPF, DKIM, and DMARC?

SPF (Sender Policy Framework), DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail), and DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance) are email authentication methods that help protect your email domain from being used for email spoofing, phishing attacks, and other malicious activities.

Why do I need SPF, DKIM, and DMARC for my Google Workspace?

Implementing SPF, DKIM, and DMARC in Google Workspace enhances your email security by verifying that the emails sent from your domain are authentic and by providing guidelines on how to handle emails that fail these checks. This not only protects your domain but also improves email deliverability.

How do I set up an SPF record for Google Workspace?

To set up an SPF record for Google Workspace, you need to add a TXT record to your domain’s DNS settings with the value:

makefileCopy codev=spf1 include:_spf.google.com ~all

This record authorizes emails sent from Google’s servers and suggests a soft fail (~all) for emails sent from other servers.

How can I generate and implement a DKIM key for Google Workspace?

To generate a DKIM key for Google Workspace:

  1. Go to the Google Workspace Admin Console.
  2. Navigate to Apps > Google Workspace > Gmail and select “Authenticate email.”
  3. Choose your domain and generate a new record with the recommended 2048-bit key.
  4. Add the generated DKIM key as a TXT record in your domain’s DNS settings.

What should my DMARC policy be?

Your DMARC policy depends on your security preferences. Start with a less strict policy to monitor your emails’ performance without affecting deliverability. Gradually move to or Increase security as you become more confident in your email system’s reliability.

How long does it take for DNS changes to take effect?

DNS changes, such as updating SPF, DKIM, or DMARC records, typically take up to 48 hours to propagate throughout the Internet. However, the time can vary depending on your DNS host’s settings.

What is the difference between and p=reject In DMARC policies?

In a DMARC policy:

  • p=quarantine Tells receiving email servers to place emails that fail SPF or DKIM checks into the spam or junk folder.
  • p=reject Instructs receiving servers to reject outright emails that fail these checks, meaning they won’t be delivered.

How do I know if my SPF, DKIM, and DMARC setups are working correctly?

You can use various online tools to verify your SPF, DKIM, and DMARC records. Additionally, DMARC reports are sent to the email specified in your DMARC record (rua=mailto:yourname@yourdomain.com) will give you insights into the performance of your email authentication measures.

Can SPF, DKIM, and DMARC settings impact my email deliverability?

Yes, correctly setting up SPF, DKIM, and DMARC can significantly improve your email deliverability by reducing the likelihood of your emails being marked as spam or phishing by receiving servers.


Setting up SPF, DKIM, and DMARC records in Google Workspace is an essential step toward securing your email communications. By following the detailed steps provided in this guide, you can protect your domain from spoofing, enhance email deliverability, and improve your organization’s email security posture.

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