Verifying Email Addresses and Sending Domains

If you want to contact your respondents via email, you need to verify the email address or domain you plan to use as the sender email address. This is necessary to confirm that you control that address and therefore have the rights to send mail from it.

  1. On logging in, choose “Account” from the top menu bar, then “My Account” from the drop-down.
  2. From the next page, choose “Email Sender Settings” from the left-hand menu.
  3. On the Email Sender Settings page, you’ll see two main boxes – “Email Sender Settings” and “Domain Sender Settings”.

Email Sender Settings

To add an email address, enter it in the box under “Add Email” and click “Add”. This will send an automated email to the entered address, containing a verification link.

  1. If you’re the master account holder for an account with multiple users, there is a checkbox that reads “Verify this email for all sub-accounts.”. If this is checked, the entered email address will be available for use as an email sender by any user on your SmartSurvey account. With this unchecked, only you will be able to use it.
  2. Once “Add” has been clicked, the email address will go into the list of usable email addresses, marked as “pending”.
  3. Click the link in the email that was sent to the email address to be verfied. If the receiving computer is not logged in to SmartSurvey, then a login prompt will appear.
  4. Once clicked, and logged in if neccesary, then the address will be available for use as an email sender.

Domain Sender Settings

While verifying an email address will allow you to send emails, it’s not the best possible solution, as emails will appear as sent “on behalf of” in email headers, rather than looking like they’ve been sent directly. 

The "From" Field on email from an unverified domain will appear like this on some email clients:
"; on behalf of John Smith <>"

When the domain is verified, it will look like this:
"John Smith <>"

For the most seamless experience, then it’s also necessary to verify the domain that the emails will appear to originate from.

Verifying a domain consists of three steps, again with the aim of proving that you control that domain and can receive (and therefore send) email from it. If you’re not sure about any of the following steps, then talk to your IT team or whoever looks after your website or domain – they will be able to do what’s necessary. To start, add a domain by entering it in the text box and clicking “Add”.

As with email addresses, the master account user can click a checkbox to allow all sub-accounts to use the domain, or leave it unchecked to have it only available to that account.

Verify Domain Email

  1. Click “Email Verification Required”. You will need to enter an email address that exists on the domain you’re trying to verify. This can be any address you have access to and that can receive email.
  2. As with verifying an email address, an email will be a sent to the address entered.
  3. Clicking the link in the email while logged in to SmartSurvey will complete this step.

SPF Settings

SPF (Sender Policy Framework) is a simple system to communicate to email servers that a server has permission to send email on behalf of a specified domain.

  1. Click “SPF Settings Required”
  2. The box that will appear will show you the current state of the appropriate TXT record, along with what to change it to. Either make the changes shown yourself, or pass the instructions to your IT department.
  3. When the record has been added, then click “Verify SPF”. This will look at your domain records to see if the new value has been added, and if it is, it should come back as verified.

You must add the entire spf record and not the individual IP addresses and currently, this must be added to the root SPF record, not a sub-record.

DKIM Settings.

DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail) serves a similar function to SPF, but is a bit more complex, using an encrypted key. It is activated in the same way, by adding a TXT record to the domain.

  1. Click “DKIM Settings Required”,
  2. You will be shown the instructions on what needs to be added to your domain as a TXT record. Carry out the instructions yourself or pass them to your IT department.
  3. Once done, clicking “Verify DKIM” will again check your domain records, and if it finds the correct value, this will complete the step.

Important: Because changes to domain records need to propagate across the internet, it may take up to 24 hours after making the TXT record changes for “Verify SPF” and “Verify DKIM” steps to come back with a positive result, even if everything’s been set up correctly. In the event of a failed attempt, get the values checked, and if they’re correct, try again in a few hours.

Once the domain is verified, all email addresses for that domain will be verified as well and you won’t need to enter individual addresses for verification. Now you’re set up, why not check out our guides to using the email tool?

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