One of the most frequently asked questions is why don't my sources align?


There can be dozens of reason why this can happen but here are the tools that I use in order to rapidly troubleshoot each sending source. 


Conduct this test with each and every sending source that your business uses (Mailchimp, Sendgrid, Zoho, Office 365) and check the results page to see where there are possible alignment issues. 



Step One

https://www.hardenize.com/ - enter your domain name and check the email section SPF / DKIM. Make sure that they are not grey.  Ideally, they will be green, but you may have issues with the record. Use the feedback from this tool to fix or update your DMARC and SPF policies. 



Step 2


Ask yourself what sources (services) are used to send email on behalf of that domain? Some examples could be tools or sources for: newsletters, transactional emails, broadcasts, marketing outreach campaigns, regular 1-on-1 emails, or maybe a couple of forms and document generation platforms.

Once you have these identified. (Office 365, Mailchimp, Sendgrid etc) you will need to send a testing email using that application. 
You will generate 1 email PER sending source by generating a unique email address here - https://www.appmaildev.com/en/dkim

Send the email, wait for it to come to the webpage, and review the results. They should say pass/pass/pass. 

If it does not, you will need to go to the settings of that service and make sure that you have followed their DKIM / SPF setup instructions and ensure that the information is correctly entered into DNS. 

Once this is updated, fixed, adjusted - wait a bit for the DNS to update and send a new email to a new generated email address and look at the results. If you can't get a specific source to validate - open a ticket with that service. Ask them to review your settings and help you with alignment. They should be able to get you resolved pretty quickly or point out where you are misconfigured. 

Then repeat one at a time for each of the services sending email for your domains. 


Ideally, your results should show:


SPF: Pass

DKIM: Pass

DMARC: Pass





You don't really have to worry about any of the other sections for this test. 


If you have a failure in one or more of these sections there are technical issues that you will need to fix on your sending account. 


Note: Some sending sources or services are unable to send DMARC compliant emails check https://dmarc.io/sources/ to see if the service you are using is capable and to find a quick link to a guide on fixing the issue. 


DKIM Alignment


Even if DKIM passes I ALWAYS open up the DKIM section to ensure that the domain listed in the d= section is your own domain name and not the domain name of the sending service. 


It is very common for services like Office 365 to send email on their onmicrosoft.com domain not on the customers custom domain. Ensure that your d= is your own domain. And update your sending provider if it is not d=yourdomain.com. 




Step 3

SPF alignment issues


If the tool reports an SPF problem head to https://vamsoft.com/support/tools/spf-policy-tester

You will enter in the IP address that was not in your SPF record and an email address at your domain name. The service will simulate an SPF lookup and provide a pass / fail at the bottom of the report.