Terra Dotta software regularly sends emails as part of daily tasks and routines. Sometimes these emails are generated automatically and sent "from" the contact 1 email address (configured under Settings > Account Info), and sometimes the emails are manually written and sent from any site administrator. In order to ensure emails are delivered properly from your Terra Dotta site to your users and to prevent emails coming from your Terra Dotta site from being flagged as spam, you will need to set up SPF and DKIM.
Any new Terra Dotta client who is implementing will be asked to configure SPF and DKIM as part of their initial project. Clients who have already gone live and are experiencing email delivery issues can configure SPF and DKIM to resolve those delivery concerns.
A Sender Policy Framework (SPF) helps to prevent spammers from sending emails out under the guise of your institution. This is a type of Domain Name Service (DNS) record that identifies which mail servers are permitted to send email on behalf of a domain.
DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) is an additional important layer of verification. It is an email authentication method designed to detect email spoofing. It does this by providing a mechanism to allow receiving mail exchangers to check that incoming mail from a domain has been digitally signed by an authorized email server.
Without SPF and DKIM, emails coming from your Terra Dotta site might not be properly delivered because these emails are typically sent "from" a domain that does not match the domain of the email server that sends Terra Dotta’s emails.
For example, your administrator in the Terra Dotta site will have an email address specific to your institution or company - such as email@example.com. When this administrator sends an email from the TD site, it comes from the yourinstitution.edu email address. However, it is actually sent from Terra Dotta’s "terradotta.com" email server. If "terradotta.com" doesn’t have permission to send emails on behalf of yourinstitution.edu, Gmail and other email service providers will likely flag the email as suspicious. Therefore, it is highly beneficial that you set up both the SPF and DKIM processes in order to ensure email delivery success.
To create an SPF record, ask the DNS admin at your institution to add the following to your domain’s SPF record:
- Clients on Terra Dotta’s US servers:
- Clients on Terra Dotta’s Australia/Pacific servers:
- Clients on Terra Dotta’s Canada servers:
Note: US server 220.127.116.11/32 was retired on 3/16/2020, so this IP address may safely be removed from the SPF record.
The DKIM process is more detailed. For new clients, you will need to work with your TD project manager to complete this process. If you have already launched your Terra Dotta site, you should submit a Support request for assistance. Terra Dotta will configure keys and then send additional information to your DNS administrator so that DKIM signing can be activated.