DKIM has been around for more than a decade but was not widely used until the DMARC standard added DKIM alignment and authentication as one of it’s passing criteria. Even now, many of our customers are telling us that DKIM is difficult to implement and they view is as less important than a proper SPF configuration. However, a new trend is making DKIM an absolute email delivery requirement.
What is DKIM?
DKIM is a technology that allows email senders to cryptographically sign their outbound email. This signature can then be verified by the recipient as proof that the email was legitimately from the domain signing it and that the message was not altered during transit to the recipient system. You can learn more about DKIM on our blog.
How does DKIM work with DMARC?
For an email to be DMARC compliant (and therefore more likely to be accepted and make it to the Inbox), an email must either pass SPF checks or DKIM alignment and authentication checks. This allowed for some edge cases, for example: an email could fail SPF because the sending IP address was new or because Marketing adopted a new 3rd party email sender that was not in the SPF record, but if DKIM was properly implemented, it would still be DMARC compliant. Similarly, if DKIM was missing or if a forwarder had broken the DKIM signatures, then the email could be DMARC compliant if it passed SPF checks. When DMARC was still in the adoption phase, these allowances for edge cases made sense and are still part of the standard.
How did DKIM become necessary?
While the DMARC standard specifies a minimum threshold for compliance, Inbox Providers and businesses can set higher thresholds to protect their users. Our Experts are now seeing Inbox Providers and many large businesses require DKIM compliance as part of their inbound email vetting processes. Basically, if your email does not pass both SPF and DKIM compliance checks, you may not make the inbox.
Get DKIM compliant as soon as possible! The only downside is the cost of initial setup but the long-term (and potentially immediate) benefit of DKIM compliance means that you are more likely to get delivered and make the inbox.
How can MxToolbox help?
Our Experts are here to get you SPF, DKIM and DMARC compliant and help you manage the on-going maintenance that keeps your email delivery in peak form. MxToolbox Delivery Center has tools to get you DMARC compliant, test Inbox Placement and react to Recipient Complaints. Or leverage our expert team with Managed Email Services.