SPF Neutral instead of Pass when SPF is configured properly

Lately, we have been having an issue where an email is marked as SPF Neutral instead of getting a good old PASS from GSUITE when an email has been sent through the website’s contact form.

In our situation, we were using a 3rd party SMTP service that was integrated with our hosting. This service required modifying the SPF record to add an include statement, and set up the DKIM record. Great. Done. All looks good.

Everything looks exactly correct! The email was going out but going to Junk Mail. When we inspected the email it said SPF neutral, not permitted or denied, and not a PASS as we expected.

Well, that set me off on a 5-hour hunt for the answer. I sure did learn a lot about how exactly SPF, DKIM and DMARC work. However after a lot of tweaking, and getting the email through to the Inbox, the SPF was STILL coming through as a NEUTRAL. Now it was just annoying!

After a lot of investigating, we found that our cloud hosting service actually had an issue with their POSTFIX mail server. Instead of sending from the actual domain (where the website and SPF record were located), they were sending it from their internal domain alias that the site gets by default when a new application is set up.

Looking back at it now, it is obvious and stands out plenty! It took us a while to find this issue, so this article is to help anyone that might be experiencing a similar issue and pulling their hair out!

Best of luck and for solid hosting and reliable email delivery, don’t hesitate to get in touch!

P.S. By now you should realise our feature imagery is always a little abstract.

We don’t only host our own websites, we do work with a lot of other web designers in the Wagga/Riverina area that choose us to manage their hosting with fully fledged security services, malware prevention, backups and lightning fast speed.  Get rid of the headache today and give us a call.

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