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Locate 'missing' SPF record on an external DNS domain

Get tips on creating and properly implementing a Sender Policy Framework (SPF) record on external DNS domains in Exchange Server 2003.

I'm running Exchange Server 2003 Service Pack 2 Enterprise Edition on Windows 2003 Service Pack 1 Standard Edition. I ran a domain name system (DNS) report on my registered domain through www.dnsstuff.com, and it indicates that I don't have a Sender Policy Framework (SPF) record set up for the mail server.

To the best of my knowledge, I created an SPF record using Microsoft's Sender ID Framework SPF Record Wizard and saved the file. However, I am not sure where it should be set as far as DNS goes -- internal to our network or external to the registrar?

It can be tricky at times to understand SPF and the SPF Record Wizard doesn't specifically say "external." It can also be confusing because you are publishing the internal mail servers that you host in your organization that send and receive email, so it's hard to know what addresses to publish. However, in a way, you were able to answer your own question. By going to www.dnsstuff.com you were querying you public (external) DNS.

The SPF record, just like your MX record, is used primarily by external messaging systems trying to send you email. You will need to have the SPF record added to your external DNS domain/zone in order for them to see and use it.

Check out "Implementation tips for the Sender ID Framework -- Creating your SPF record" for an updated guide from Microsoft on creating and using SPF records.

Do you have comments on this Ask the Expert Q&A? Let us know.

Related information from SearchExchange.com:

  • Tip: How defective DNS records damage Sender ID and Exchange Server
  • Tip: Online tool simplifies creation of SPF domain records
  • Tip: Common DNS issues that affect Exchange Server
  • Tutorial: A primer on DNS and MX records
  • Reference Center: Exchange Server and DNS tips and resources
  • Dig Deeper on Exchange Server setup and troubleshooting

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