Do you need to know how to create a DMARC record?
You can easily copy and paste our example into your DNS zone.
In this article, we’ll explain how to:
What Is a DMARC Record?
A DMARC record is a TXT record in your site’s DNS zone. DMARC makes it harder for a spammer to ‘spoof’ your domain, which means that they pretend to use your domain when they send spam.
So DMARC helps to make sure phishing emails and malware can’t be sent from your email address.
Here’s an example of the DMARC record for google.com from a DMARC analyzer. The green bar shows the actual DMARC record, and the table underneath explains what each part of the record means:
If you’re using WP Mail SMTP to handle your WordPress emails, it’ll tell you if DMARC isn’t set up correctly on your domain.
The steps below will help you to resolve the issue.
How to Add a DMARC Record
Let’s step through the process of setting up a DMARC record on your domain.
1. Check Your DNS With a DMARC Analyzer
If you’re not sure whether you have DMARC set up on your site, you can use a DMARC checker like MXToolbox to scan your DNS records.
Type your domain name into the field and click DMARC Lookup.
If you don’t have DMARC set up, the DMARC analyzer will show a failure message.
If you’re using WP Mail SMTP, you can also check if DMARC is working by sending a test email. In the WordPress dashboard, click WP Mail SMTP, then Settings, and then the Email Test tab.
Send a test email using the form on the Email Test page.
After sending the email, scroll down and check to see if there’s a warning message.
Scroll down a little further. Do you see a warning that says It doesn’t look like DMARC is set up for your domain?
This means that:
- You don’t have a DMARC record in your DNS zone
- Your DMARC record hasn’t propagated yet
- The DMARC record might not be formatted correctly.
Let’s log in and add that DMARC record next.
2. Add a DMARC Record Using Our Example
Now we’re going to edit the DNS for your domain and add a DMARC record.
DNS is a set of instructions that tell servers where to find your site content, email mailbox, and more. To edit your DNS, you (or the domain owner) need to log in to the provider handling the DNS zone for your domain.
If you’re not sure where it is, you can try:
- Your web hosting control panel: If you purchased your domain and hosting as a package, your DNS is probably handled by your web hosting company. You’ll want to log into your hosting control panel and look for a menu called DNS or DNS Zone.
- Your DNS registrar: If you purchased your domain by itself, the DNS is probably managed by the company you bought it from.
- Your CDN provider: If you’re using a CDN like Cloudflare, your DNS records will be hosted within the CDN settings.
In this example, we’ll show you how to create a DMARC record in Cloudflare.
The steps are very similar for other domain registrars or hosts, including:
When you open up your DNS, double-check that you don’t already have any DMARC records set up.
You can’t have more than 1 DMARC record in your DNS. But don’t worry: our example record will cover all of the subdomains under your domain, and all of the email addresses you send mail from.
Assuming you don’t, let’s move on and add a DMARC TXT record.
3. Copy and Paste Our DMARC Example
It’s easy to add a DMARC record using this example. There’s no need to use a DMARC generator.
On your registrar’s DNS record screen, click Add record to create a DMARC record. We’ll use Cloudflare in this example.
A DMARC record is a TXT record starting with
_dmarc. So in the Type dropdown, select TXT.
In the Name field, type
_dmarc. with the period (dot) at the end. Some hosts don’t need the period, so they’ll remove it or show an error. In that case, you can safely use
_dmarc without the period.
In the large field in the DNS record, paste in this DMARC record example.
v=DMARC1; p=none; fo=1; rua=mailto:[email protected]
Here’s what this rule does:
- We’re using
p=nonebecause it’s the least restrictive setting. You’ll still get email reports if there’s an issue with your DNS, but it’s unlikely to affect your own emails from being delivered. If you start to get suspicious DMARC reports, you could change this part of the rule to
- Be sure to change the
rua=mailto:address. It should ideally be set to the email address that your mailer service provides in its documentation. If it doesn’t provide one, you can use an email address at your own domain.
- In basic terms, the TTL (Time to Live) setting is like an expiration date for your DNS. We recommend leaving the TTL setting on Auto, which is typically 4 hours. The setting isn’t crucial, so you can safely select 24 hours or 14400 if that’s the only option you have.
Some providers may ask for an alignment rule. It’s OK to exclude that since it’s not required for DMARC to work.
So after pasting in the rule, here’s our finished DMARC record:
Save your new DMARC rule to add the new record to your DNS.
If you already had a DMARC rule in your DNS, check the formatting carefully. Pay attention to the Name field; if you use
@ or your domain name in the Name field, it won’t work.
Wait For Your DMARC Record to Propagate
Whenever you make changes to your site’s DNS, you’ll need to wait up to 48 hours for the changes to take effect. If you’re using Cloudflare, you’ll usually find that the changes take place within a few minutes.
When the change has propagated, go back to a web-based DMARC checker like MXToolbox. Check again using its DMARC tool.
Your DMARC rule should show up in a green bar so that you know it’s working.
You can also use WP Mail SMTP to send another test email from WordPress. This will automatically run a fresh check on your DNS and look for your DMARC record.
If you added everything correctly, you’ll now see a pass message like this:
And that’s it! Now you added a DMARC record to your DNS.
Frequently Asked Questions About DMARC
Now you know how to create a DMARC record, let’s look at some other important questions.
- What Does DMARC Stand For?
- How Does DMARC Work?
- Who Can Use DMARC Records?
- Do I Need a DMARC Record?
- Can You Add a DMARC Record Without DKIM?
- Why Did My DMARC Record Check Fail?
- Do I Need to Use a DMARC Record Generator?
- Should I Add a PTR Record?
Let’s start looking at the answers to these DMARC questions.
What Does DMARC Stand For?
DMARC stands for Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance.
How Does DMARC Work?
The DMARC protocol checks the SPF and DKIM records for your domain. If the email server can’t find any SPF or DKIM records, it looks at DMARC to figure out what to do with the outbound mail.
Based on the content of the DMARC record, the server might:
- Quarantine your emails
- Send them to the junk or spam folder
- Reject them altogether.
That’s why it’s best to set up DKIM, SPF, and DMARC together. That way, the email server can easily separate emails from a legitimate sender from any spam messages that are sent using your domain.
DMARC has other functions too. For example, it generates technical reports about the actions it’s taken. You might receive these reports if you use your email address in the DMARC rule.
In most cases, you don’t need to worry about DMARC reports unless you have other issues with spam or email deliverability.
Who Can Use DMARC Records?
Anyone who owns a domain name can use DMARC to verify that the emails they send are genuine. There is no charge to use it.
Some third-party providers will say that it isn’t worth using DMARC on a small site. But we always recommend that you set up DMARC anyway because it helps to stop WordPress emails from going to spam.
Do I Need to Create a DMARC Record?
Yes, we recommend that you add a DMARC record if you’re using your domain to send email through a separate email service or provider. For example, if you want to use Sendinblue, you’d need to create a DMARC record on your domain for that.
As a general guide, you don’t need a DMARC record if you’re sending emails from a domain you don’t control, like a Gmail email address.
Can You Create a DMARC Record Without DKIM?
Yes, you can. But we recommend that you set up DMARC, SKIM, and SPF records if your email provider requires them. Not all do, so you’ll want to check the setup steps in their documentation.
Why Did My DMARC Record Check Fail?
If you’ve added your DMARC record and it still isn’t showing up, it may not have propagated. You might see the message ‘no DMARC record found’.
It’s best to wait for 24 hours for a DNS change to propagate before contacting support.
Do I Need to Use a DMARC Record Generator?
No. In most cases, our DNS example will work on your domain. Just be sure to change the email address in our rule before saving it.
If your provider gives different instructions, it’s best to use their DMARC record instead of our example.
Should I Add a PTR Record?
You definitely need a PTR record, but it’s unlikely that you’ll need to create this yourself. For more information, check out our article: What Is a DNS PTR Record (and Do I Need One?). It explains what a PTR does and how you can add one to your DNS.
Next Step: Fix WordPress Emails Going to Spam
Are emails from your WordPress site going to spam? If you have an online store, email delivery issues can be a huge problem for customers who are waiting for order confirmation or despatch emails.
To solve this problem, check out our tutorial on why your WordPress emails are going to spam (and how to fix it).
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