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Why is Email from my Server Marked as Spam?

As the technology and methods for combating spam become more and more advanced, so must the measures being taken to avoid having email sent from your server or domain also marked as spam. Free email providers such as Yahoo, Gmail and Hotmail have specific requirements for mail servers attempting to send to them for the mail to avoid being sent to a Junk Mail folder, as well as most major Internet Service Providers.

This article will provide a few essential settings which can be put into place to decrease the chances of mail originating from your server marked as spam.

Sender Policy Framework Record

A Sender Policy Framework (or ‘SPF’) record is a DNS text record which explicitly defines which mail servers are allowed to send email for a specific domain name. SPF records are very easy to create and can solve a number of issues regarding sending email.

SPF records are one of the first things that incoming mail servers check to make sure the server sending the outgoing message is authorized to send it. They can be edited and refined to reflect multiple servers and IP addresses which are allowed to send emails.

For more information and instructions on setting up an SPF record for your domain, please visit the following Knowledge Base article:

How to create SPF records

Reverse DNS & Mail Server Hostname

Each mail server has an IP address associated with it. For instance, when you attempt to send an email message via a client program, such as Microsoft Outlook, it will attempt to locate the email domain, which is typically, ‘’. Your computer uses it’s DNS addresses to translate ‘’ into an IP address, which your computer then connects to and sends the email through. In turn, when the mail server attempts to send the message out to it’s intended recipient, the receiving server will check to make sure that a DNS lookup for the sending mail server retrieves the proper email domain for the IP address sending the message. This is known as a Reverse DNS lookup.

If they do not match, the email can very easily be marked as spam, as the receiving mail server might think it’s being tricked, as the message appears to be coming from a specific email domain, however a DNS lookup on the IP address reveals a different domain name.

Having a Reverse DNS entry in place for your mail domain which corresponds to the primary IP address of your server can greatly help in reducing the chance of your messages being marked as spam.

Unfortunately, this is one settings which cannot be changed without assistance from our Technical Support Department, however it is a change which is easily made by submitting a support ticket via the Unity Customer Portal.

In addition to setting the Reverse DNS, it is also essential to also update the mail server hostname, which can be done directly in SmarterMail, to correspond with the domain experiencing the issue of outgoing messages being marked as spam.

You can find a walk-through for changing the hostname in SmarterMail within the following Knowledge Base article:

How to change the hostname in SmarterMail


DomainKeys are a public-key cryptography system engineered to verify the authenticity of a mail domain attempting to send mail, and are extremely useful when sending to free email providers such as Yahoo, Gmail and Hotmail. DomainKey are able to insert a very specific string of characters into the email headers of each message send, verifying that it did indeed originate from the sending domain, and is not a ‘spoofed’ message.

SmarterMail version 5 includes a free DomainKey generator which can be used for any and all domains present within SmarterMail, and you can find step-by-step instructions for implementing DomainKeys on your server within the following Knowledge Base article:

How to set up DomainKeys in SmarterMail v5
With the above measures in place, the chances of outgoing mail originating from your server being marked as spam by other mail servers are drastically reduced.

If you need any assistance with implementing any of the above features, please don’t hesitate to contact our Technical Support Department, and they will be more than happy to assist.

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