How to Setup Email Authentication in cPanel

cPanel's email authentication feature declares which servers are authorized to send mail, and helps receiving servers verify that the email they received is coming from a trusted sender.

If someone, such as a spammer or malicious actor, were to send a spoofed email claiming to be from a certain domain name, spam filters on the receiving end would detect that the email was not coming from an authorized server, and flag the message as possible spam or a possible phishing attempt.

If you send emails containing confidential information, or ask people to login or enter information, setting up email authentication is recommended. If you do not set it up, spammers and phishers can pretend to be you, and the end user would have no indication that the email was sent from an unauthorized sender.

DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM)

Enabling DKIM is a means of verifying incoming email in order to prevent incoming spam messages. It ensures that incoming emails are unmodified and are from whom they say they are from.

Setting up DKIM is easy.

  1. Login to cPanel
  2. Click on Email Authentication in the Mail section.
  3. Click the Enable button for DKIM.

A message will be displayed confirming that DKIM is enabled.

Sender Policy Framework (SPF)

This is where you specify which servers and IP addresses are authorized to send email on your behalf. This helps receiving servers identify possible spoofed email and spam coming from unauthorized servers, so they may be flagged.

It is important that SPF is set up correctly, otherwise you could be flagging your own emails as spam.
  1. Login to cPanel
  2. Click on Email Authentication in the Mail section.
  3. Click the Enable button for SPF.
    • The default setting is to allow email sent through your web server (SMTP or webmail).
  4. Optionally set additional advanced settings.
    • If you send email via other servers, you can add the domains and IP addresses in the Advanced Settings section.
  5. Click the Update button to save your changes.

Video Tutorial

How to setup email authentication in under 2 minutes.

Notes

Email authentication won't prevent all unauthorized emails, but it will reduce the number that reach people's inbox. The person receiving the email would need to have email authentication enabled or a spam filter as well. All major email providers, such as Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo! Mail all have this enabled.

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