Windows Live Hotmail rejecting forwarded emails from ZoneEdit

It's just come to my attention that emails sent to my wife's address via our domain hosted on ZoneEdit are now being bounced by Hotmail as suspect spam. I wonder if this is something to do with the new Windows Live Hotmail service.

Of course they're not spam, and this threw me for a bit.

The bounced emails contain a link to various resources about how to fix the problem.

A quick search of Google on "hotmail zoneedit" hinted that it might be possible to add extra detail to DNS to placate hotmail.

I then found Microsoft's Sender ID Framework SPF Record Wizard, which builds a SPF record for your domain.

In Step 1, I entered my domain - gardiner.net.au

In Step 2, it confirmed that A and MX records are available but no SPF record was found.

In Step 3, I checked the following options:

  • Domain's inbound servers may send mail(and checked both email servers listed)
  • All addresses listed in A records may send mail (and checked both IP addresses)
  • Discouraged; mail may legitimately originate
    from IP addresses not identified above, however,
    use of such IP addresses is discouraged and may
    not be permitted in the future.
  • Scope: Both

I'm not completely sure that this is correct, but it seems the best choices at first glance. I de-selected the "All addresses listed in A records may send mail" option, as as far as I can tell, the IP addresses in the A records for gardiner.net.au don't resolve back to the email servers.

Step 4 then generates the SPF record, which you copy to the clipboard.

Back in ZoneEdit, you can add a TXT record to contain the SPF data via the Advanced Records heading.

So now, I sit back and wait and see if Hotmail is any happier.

Written on June 11, 2007