How to verify a sending domain

Overview

Verifying a sending domain means using a subdomain of your business' website to send marketing emails identified as coming directly from your brand. Check out What is a Verified Sending Domain? before proceeding, then read on to learn how to verify a sending domain and authenticate a Sender Profile!

In This Guide

🚦 Before Getting Started

Have admin access to your website's DNS settings; Sendlane cannot adjust your DNS settings.


1

 Prepare to update your DNS

There are two methods of verifying a sending domain: NS records only or a combination of CNAME, MX, and TXT records. Sendlane looks at your primary domain to determine which DNS records your domain needs.

🙋 What do I do if I see NS records in Sendlane, but my hosting provider doesn't allow me to add NS records?

If you see NS records on the Sending Domain slideout window, but your website's host doesn't allow you to add new NS records, contact your Customer Success Manager or Sendlane's 24/7 live chat. We'll set you up with the DNS records you need!

Users with AWS hosting will also need to request CNAME/MX/TXT records

⚠️ If your DNS host is Wix or Hostgator, you will need to move your DNS before proceeding

Wix and Hostgator do not support either method of verification. You will need to move your DNS hosting to a different provider before proceeding with sending domain verification. We highly recommend Cloudflare.

NS Method

The following DNS providers use the NS method (click to view instructions for creating records):
CNAME/MX/TXT Method

The following DNS providers use the CNAME method (click to view instructions for creating records):
2

 Create a subdomain in Sendlane

⚠️ You MUST ensure your intended subdomain is not already being used before proceeding

If you have previously used subdomains of your primary domain for sending (or any other reason), you should not reuse them with Sendlane. If you attempt to use a subdomain that is still in use, meaning its DNS records are associated with another ESP, you will receive errors when verifying it with Sendlane.

Even if you clear the DNS records associated with a subdomain previously used for email marketing, you will bring the sending reputation of that subdomain to Sendlane. We highly recommend creating a subdomain that has never been used before.

Before creating a subdomain, you'll need to decide what you want your subdomain to be and ensure it is not already being used.

Choose a subdomain like send or e, or choose a word related to your business. Do not choose a subdomain that could cause inbox providers or Contacts to confuse you with another business. Using another business' name (including sendlane) will cause deliverability issues.

Once you've selected a subdomain, check it is not already in use by entering it into MxToolbox. The DNS Record Published test will return DNS Record not found if the subdomain is not already in use. If you receive any other result, remove all DNS records from your intended subdomain OR choose a different subdomain.

To create a subdomain in Sendlane:

  1. Click the Account icon
  2. Click Email
  3. Click Setup Domain
  4. Enter your business’ primary domain in the Domain Name field
  5. Enter the word you’d like to use as your subdomain in the Sending Domain field
  6. Click Save

Your subdomain has now been created!

3

 Add records to your DNS panel and verify

After creating your subdomain, you’ll see a list of DNS records appear on the Sending Domain slideout window. These records will authorize Sendlane to use your new subdomain to send Campaign and Automation emails from your account.

Adding DNS records varies by DNS provider but usually involves selecting a record type from a dropdown and entering the host, value, and TTL information you copied from the Sending Domain slideout in the specified fields. Watch the video above to see a demonstration of creating DNS records in Cloudflare.

Use your DNS providers’ documentation to ensure you follow the correct procedure for adding new DNS records (do not edit any existing records). Below are links to documentation for popular DNS providers:

⚠️ You need to create new DNS records; do not alter existing DNS records

Look for language like “add” and “create,” which indicate new DNS records, versus “change,” “edit,” or “update,” which indicate modifying existing DNS records.

Once you’ve added the DNS records provided by Sendlane to your DNS panel, click Verify DNS Records. You should see a new Verified column with green checkmarks next to each record, indicating that the records were added correctly.

If the system can’t verify a record, you’ll see an X icon instead of a checkmark. Review the DNS records you created in your DNS panel against the DNS records in the Sending Domain slideout and make any necessary changes, then click Verify DNS Records again. DNS records can sometimes take up to 24 hours to verify.

Watch the process of adding records in Cloudflare below

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4

 Link a Sender Profile to your verified domain

After your subdomain has been verified, you need to create a new or edit an existing Sender Profile to use your verified subdomain to send from.

Create a new Sender Profile

  1. Navigate to the Sender Profile tab by clicking Manage Sender Profiles on the Sending Domain slideout window or clicking the Audience icon > Sender Profile tab
  2. Click + Sender Profile
  3. Enter the Sender name and Company name
  4. Under Domain, select the Verified radio button
  5. Under From Email, enter a prefix for your new Sender Profile and select your verified subdomain from the dropdown
  6. Enter a Reply to email address
  7. Enter your business’ address in the address fields
  8. Click Save

Edit an existing Sender Profile

  1. Click the arrow icon in the View column next to the Sender Profile you want to edit
  2. Click Edit
  3. Under Domain, select the Verified radio button
  4. Under From Email, enter a prefix for your Sender Profile and select your verified subdomain from the dropdown
  5. Click Save
5

 Warm your verified domain

Both methods of domain verification result in a new or reset sending reputation. After you verify a sending domain for the first time, we strongly recommend that you follow one of the two warm-up plans described below:

One send to engaged Contacts (riskier, faster)

  1. Update all Automation emails to use your new authenticated Sender Profile
  2. If you use 3rd-party data tools to collect leads, pause them
  3. Create a Segment of 30 day clicks (do not include opens)
  4. Create a Campaign (check out Sendlane's guide to evergreen email content for tips and tricks!)
  5. Use the Segment you created in step one as the Audience for your Campaign
  6. Send your Campaign
  7. If you disabled any 3rd-party tools in step two, enable them again

After sending the warm up Campaign to engaged Contacts, send Campaigns as usual.

Five sends to engaged Contacts over ten days (safer, slower)

  1. Update all Automation emails to use your new authenticated Sender Profile
  2. If you use 3rd-party data tools to collect leads, pause them
  3. Create Segments for:
    1. 7, 14, and 30 day clickers
    2. 7, 14, and 30 day openers
  4. Create or update evergreen content for five sends
  5. On Day 0, send to 7 day clickers and keep the volume of the audience between 500 and 3,000
  6. On Day 1, send to 14 day clickers and keep the volume of the audience between 2,500 and 4,500 (1.5x your first audience maximum)
  7. On Day 2:
    1. Before continuing with the next send, pause to review reporting from the previous sends. Pay close attention to the Email Providers & Devices section of your Campaign report to confirm that emails are being accepted appropriately. Gmail, Yahoo, and AOL should show 15-20% open rates.
    2. Send Day 2's Campaign to your 30 day clickers Segment and keep the volume of the audience between 4,500 and 6,750 (1.5x your first audience maximum)
  8. On Day 3, send again to your 30 day clickers Segment and increase the audience to between 6,750 and 10,125 (1.5x your first audience maximum)
  9. On Day 4:
    1. Send again to your 30 day clickers Segment and increase the audience to between 14,000 and 15,188 (1.5x your first audience maximum)
    2. Pause to review reporting again
  10. For Days 5-10, repeat steps 5-9 using the opener Segments you created in step 3b in addition to the clicker Segments as the audience for your Campaigns. Continue to monitor reporting during these sends and aim to double the size of your audience with each send.
  11. If you disabled any 3rd-party tools in step two, enable them again

Additional Resources


Troubleshooting

I added my records, but they are not authenticated in Sendlane!

There are two common reasons your sending domain may not be verified in Sendlane after following the instructions above:

  1. You added records to the account where you registered the domain, but you have actually moved DNS control to another DNS provider. Go to the current DNS provider for your domain and add them there.
  2. The Sending Domain you added has other associated records. You may have attempted to verify a subdomain that is already in use. Try verifying another subdomain or remove any records associated with your subdomain that are not Sendlane's records. For example, if you chose mail.domain.com as your Sending Domain, mail.domain.com cannot have NS, A, CNAME, TXT, or MX records currently existing in its DNS. If you do consider changing your Sending Domain from "mail" to "email" or "e" or something other than "mail" in the first step above

If you use separate services for your domain and hosting, please add these records to the service that controls DNS. You can check which service controls your DNS using a service like DNS Checker. Enter sendlane.com, and you’ll see we use Cloudflare for our DNS!

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I use Google Domains and can only add one NS record!

Check out Google's instructions under "Create or modify a resource record," then add the four NS records in a single row.

https://s3.amazonaws.com/helpscout.net/docs/assets/5cd30c272c7d3a177d6e82b7/images/61df50e779a38f5473fd361c/file-Hu5YDKxrHv.png

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I need my Sending Domain Type, Host, Value, or TTL information!

This information can be retrieved by clicking the gear icon in the Actions column of the Sending Domains section:

Back to Troubleshooting

Why is Google showing a warning on my email that was sent with an authenticated sending domain?

This warning usually appears on emails sent with an authenticated sending domain because the email was sent to the email address used in the sender profile. Emails sent to the same email address they're sent from can seem suspicious to Google's filters.

Try sending your email to a different email address to see if the warning still appears.

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