Thanks to the bombardment of spam that is levied towards business and consumer inboxes it is becoming increasingly difficult for legitimate marketing and transactional email messages to reach the hallowed inbox. XLHost gets questions frequently regarding email delivery and I want to share with you some best practices I have learned and free tools that you can use to ensure that the email you send from your dedicated servers gets delivered to the inbox.
The most important question to consider before sending any marketing email is: is what I am sending actually spam? Technically, spam is defined as any email that is unsolicited. Meaning that if you simply purchase a list of email addresses, You are most likely sending email to people who would rather not hear from you. We will assume for the rest of this article that you are sending email to a list of your own customers, or people/businesses whom have expressed interest in your products and services.
If you find that emails that you are sending are ending up in the spam folder of your recipients here are some things You can check.
Blacklists - Make sure that your dedicated server's IP addresses are not listed in Spamhaus or any DNS blacklists. There are several free tools and services available that you can use to check this. MXtoolbox is a very popular choice for this.
Reputation - Check the reputation of the IP address you are sending from with Senderbase. Many large commercial ISPs use information from senderbase to determine whether or not to accept your email.
Reverse DNS - Make sure that the IP address on your dedicated server which you are sending from has proper reverse DNS and that the reverse DNS matches. For example, if your server sends email as server.yourdomain.com make sure that the reverse DNS for the IP address is server.yourdomain.com.XLHost customers can modify their reverse DNS records in Grande.
SPF and DKIM - Make sure you have published SPF and Domain Keys in the DNS records for your domain. SPF allows you to publish a list of IP addresses which should be trusted to send email for your domain. Domain Keys allow messages sent from your domain to be authenticated by the receiving server.
My favorite tool to check for email delivery issues has quickly become Mail Tester.
Mail Tester is a free, simple, and effective tool for simulating email delivery. When you visit mail-tester.com an email address appears in the box. You simply send the message you are planning to send to your users to the mail-tester.com email address. After you click the button mail-tester provides you with a score that shows you how likely your email will be to reach the inbox based on many of the factors I listed above.
If You are utilizing all of the methods and tools mentioned You should be on the road to email delivery nirvana in no time. If you are still having problems with email delivery please contact XLHost and we will see if we can help.