I'm new to web hosting and configuring emails, and I was hoping I could get some help.

I purchased a reseller account and I set up my first cPanel account on a domain that I have. I then created a few emails and started to use them but I noticed that there were some errors(recipients didn't receive the emails or went to spam folder).

So I found out about SPF, DMARC, DKIM and I went ahead to set everything up according to mail-tester.com . Everything looked fine and I got a score of 9.1/10 and then 10/10 after fixing everything. The only issue that I had was with Hotmail/Outlook where my emails went to spam folder(gmail, yahoo and other custom emails went straight to inbox).

Anyway, my main issue was that every day I performed a test in mail-tester.com and I was getting a score 5/10 saying that I had to add a new IP to my SPF record. So I went from having 2 IP's in SPF record, to having 5 IP's and the list keep increasing.

What we retained as your current SPF record is: v=spf1 +a +mx +ip4:209.xx.xx.223 +ip4:xx.xx.xx.88 +ip4:xx.xx.xx.50 +ip4:104.xx.xx.87 ~all

It should be changed to:

v=spf1 +a +mx +ip4:209.xx.xx.223 +ip4:xx.xx.xx.88 +ip4:xx.xx.xx.50 +ip4:xx.xx.xx.87 ip4:xx.xx.xx.86 ~all"

(My main IP is 209.xx.xx.223)

If I ignore this error, emails on Hotmail/Outlook do not get received at all(however gmail and other email providers receive emails just fine). If I add the new IP to the list, my mail-tester score goes to 9/10 and the emails are received but go to spam folder.

I contacted my hosting's support team and they said that SPF is set up just fine and the errors on mail-tester don't really matter. But they do matter because my clients do not receive my emails, not even in spam folder so they can't whitelist them.

Obviously the cPanel account is on shared hosting, so is there a range of IP's I can add to the SPF record that will permanently fix this issue? Is there a third party or another solution I can use to make sure my emails are delivered?

Sorry if this is dumb question but I would really appreciate if I could get some help.

Thank you!

  • I would recommend you to try a couple of alternative services for MX testing just to ensure it's not mail-tester messing things around. Start with mxtoolbox.com/spf.aspx - helped me a lot while I was configuring mine SPF records. I have only one IP address in my SPF record and everything works just fine so this should not be the issue. – Net Runner Feb 1 '18 at 9:26
  • Thanks for your suggestion. I used the service you mentioned and everything looks fine prnt.sc/i8kffg . But, I just did a new test on mail-tester 5 mins ago, same error (new IP recommended this time), then I tried sending an email to a Hotmail account and still the email is not received. Also I noticed something(probably I'm wrong) but when I add the new IP to the SPF record, the email that wasn't delivered at first, then gets delivered after 10-20 minutes(in spam folder). – joepr Feb 1 '18 at 9:53
  • Nevermind on the last sentence. The emails gets delivered whether I add the new IP or not. It just takes some time (30 minutes to 2 hours) to arrive and they arrive at random times/order. – joepr Feb 1 '18 at 11:10

This might be caused by issues in the DNS records referenced with A/MX/etc. MXToolbox only checks syntax of the SPF record but doesn't actually test if it would work.

You might want to use a free service such as https://www.dmarcanalyzer.com/spf/checker/ to check the entire SPF chain, including lookup limit, referenced DNS resources and included 3rd party SPF records.

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