Set up your sending domain

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Before you send emails through ActiveCampaign, you need to set up your sending domain, which requires verification and authentication. In this article, you'll learn how to verify and authenticate your email domain. 

If you do not own a domain, you can purchase one through ActiveCampaign. Learn how to buy a domain with ActiveCampaign

Take note

  • Domain verification applies to all ActiveCampaign accounts (except Resellers) created on or after July 29, 2020
  • DNS propagation may not work if you purchased a domain in the last 24-48 hours. You may need to wait up to 48 hours for propagation to work for new domains
  • This process includes Mailserver Domains. Mailserver Domains were previously set up manually via a ticket to our Support Team. These are now completely self-service and included as part of the standard process outlined below
  • Setting up a sending domain covers everything you need for DKIM, SPF, and DMARC
  • You must verify your domain and subdomains before you send any emails
  • Domain verification is required for the following: Direct and Automated Campaigns, 1:1 Emails, and Notification Emails
    • A warning will appear if you try to send any of the emails above. This warning will include a prompt that you can click on to get started with the domain verification process
  • Resellers and accounts under Resellers do not need to verify their domains

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Domain Verification (required)

You need to verify the domain you'll use in both your "From" and "Reply-to" email addresses. Verifying your domain ensures that it belongs to you or your organization and no one else. It also prevents others from using your domain to send malicious emails to phish unsuspecting contacts. Once your domain is verified, you can use any email address containing the verified domain to send emails.

Domain verification will be set up in Options 1 and 2 below.

Domain Authentication

Authenticating your domain involves publishing DNS records (DKIM, Mailserver Domain/SPF, and DMARC) that establish your domain reputation to ensure optimal deliverability. This is necessary to avoid major deliverability issues. Both Gmail and Yahoo require authentication for all sending domains.

Domain authentication including DKIM, Mailserver Domain (SPF domain), and DMARC, will be set up in Options 1 and 2 below.

  You will encounter major deliverability issues if you do not authenticate your domain.

To help, we are gradually introducing the following: for accounts under 5,000 contacts, ActiveCampaign will automatically replace your From Address with a generic one if your domain is not authenticated. For example, if you use the From Address myname@my-domain.com, and my-domain.com is not authenticated, the From Address will be replaced with myname.my-domain.com.1@12345.emcampaign.com.

This generic, shared domain should not be adopted as a long-term solution, and you should authenticate your domain as soon as possible.

How to add a sending domain

The sending domain section is on your account's Advanced Settings page. To verify and authenticate a sending domain, follow these steps:

  1. Click Settings (Gear icon) in the left menu.
  2. The Settings menu will expand. Click "Advanced."
  3. Two options appear in the "Sending Domain" section, "Configure Domain" and "Set up manually."

    Configure Doman and Set up manually buttons.png

Option 1: "Configure Domain" (preferred)

“Configure Domain” is the easiest way to verify and authenticate a domain. This process utilizes our native integration with many top DNS providers to seamlessly set up DNS records to Verify and Authenticate your domain in one easy process.

The "Configure Domain" option does not support all DNS providers. See the supported DNS providers.

  1. Enter the domain you want to use in the “Enter your domain” field, then click "Continue." Do not include the https://. 

    Domain Field.png

  2. Click “Continue” on the next modal.

    Connect your domain to your website modal, click continue.png

  3. Our system will identify your DNS provider and note it on this screen. Note that the "Configure Domain" option does not support all DNS providers. See the supported DNS providers.

    The example below shows the DNS provider is GoDaddy. To move forward, you will need to have the credentials to log into your DNS provider.

    Analyzing your domain modal.png

      If you just purchased your domain in the past 24 hours, our system may not be able to identify your DNS provider. Please wait 24 hours and try again. Learn more about handling a newly purchased domain.

  4. Login to your DNS provider. This will look slightly different for each provider. This example is Godaddy. The login method will also be slightly different for each DNS provider. The DNS provider in question may ask you to enter a confirmation code emailed or texted to you.

    Example of what GoDaddy looks like in Connect a domain option.png

  5. We will connect to your DNS Provider via the login credentials you provided.

    Setting up your domain modal showing us connecting to your DNS.png

  6. After a few moments, your domain will be configured with the proper DNS records. This can take a few minutes.

    Example of configured DNS window.png

    After connecting, the domain you provided will be listed in the "Sending Domain" section of the Advanced Settings page.

      It can take some time for the new DNS records to propagate, sometimes up to 24 hours. You can view the status of the domain you added in Settings > Advanced Settings > "Sending Domains." Then click the dropdown to the right and click "Recheck Authentication."

Recheck Authentication button.png

Option 2: “Set up manually”

You might want to choose this option if:

  • Your DNS provider isn’t supported by Option 1, “Configure Domain”
  • You don’t have login credentials to your domain DNS provider
  • Your organization has specific security protocols around DNS

If you choose to “Set up Manually” we will send a verification email to an email address you supply for your domain, and then we will provide DNS records to authenticate your domain. 

  1. Type the domain of the email address you'll use to send your emails into the "Enter your domain" field provided. For example, if you want to send emails from sales@mycompany.com, enter mycompany.com. Do not include the https://. 

    Domain Field.png

  2. In the "Verify your domain" modal, type the email address into the field provided to receive a verification email. This can be any email address associated with your domain. You need to be able to check this inbox to open the verification email and click a confirmation link.

    Verify your domain modal.png

  3. Click the "Continue" button. You will see a message indicating that the domain verification email has been sent.

    Verification email has been sent confirmation.png

  4. An email will be sent to the email address you provided to verify the domain. This email will expire after seven days.

    Once you receive the email, click the link provided and follow the prompts to complete the domain verification process.

    If you did not receive the email, go back to the Advanced Settings page in your ActiveCampaign account and click the "Resend verification email" button in the Sending Domains table:

    Resend Verification button.png

  5. Once you have verified your domain, click “Set up DNS records" to authenticate your domain, which is required for delivery to any Gmail and Yahoo recipients as of February 2024, or click “Setup later.” It is best practice to set up DNS records as soon as possible to avoid major deliverabilty issues.
  6. Log in to your DNS provider (i.e., Godaddy) in a separate window. If you do not know your DNS provider, use this tool. Then, copy and paste the records from the table below into the proper fields in your DNS provider. Your records will look like this:

    Example of DNS records in ActiveCampaign.png

Most DNS providers will require the following items to set up your DNS records:

  • Type
    Choose the relevant type for each row (CNAME or TXT).
  • Name or Host
    Copy and paste the “Name” from ActiveCampaign for each DNS record, like acdkim1._domainkey (most common) or the full CNAME “Name” like acdkim1._domainkey.mydomain.com (less common). Which one you should use depends on whether your DNS provider automatically adds the domain name to the DNS records you create. If you are unsure which to use, look at the format of other DNS records in your settings (do they include the domain name in the Name or Host field?) or ask your DNS provider.
  • Value or Record
    Copy and paste the “Value” shown inside ActiveCampaign for each DNS record.
  • TTL
    TTL means "Time Till Live." Use the recommended or default setting of your DNS host. If there isn't a default setting, we recommend 300 (5 minutes).

This process will vary slightly based on your DNS provider. To find specific instructions for your host, use your preferred search engine to look up "Add CNAME/TXT record at _____," replacing the blank line with your DNS provider. For convenience, we've included some common DNS providers below:

Typically, the DNS record propagates in 5 to 10 minutes, but in rare cases, it can take up to 24 hours, especially if you recently purchased this domain. To view the status of your DNS record, return to the Advanced Settings page, click the down carat to the far right, then click “Recheck Authentication” or “View DNS Records.”

Recheck authentication or View DNS record button.png

When your DNS records are successfully propagated, you should see the Authentication status “Authenticated” with a green indicator. You are now ready to start sending messages with your verified and authenticated Sending Domain.

"Resolve Issues" Button

If your DNS records do not successfully propagate, the “Resolve Issues” button will appear. You can use this button to resolve authentication issues.

When you click the "Resolve Issues" button, it launches the same flow used in Option 1: "Configure Domain" when setting up your sending domain. "Configure Domain" is where we connect to your DNS provider to set up the correct DNS records. Learn how to use the "Configure Domain" option.

If your domain is only partially set up, it is safe to click the "Resolve Issues" button to complete the setup.

"Configure Domain" supported DNS providers

Only the following DNS providers are supported via our “Configure Domain” functionality. If your provider is not supported, that is ok. You can proceed to the “Set up manually” section below to set up DNS manually. If you do not know your DNS provider, use this tool.

Other DNS providers may work with our native integration. The DNS providers listed are the only providers we currently guarantee should work.

  • 123-Reg
  • Amazon Route 53 (AWS)
  • Bluehost US
  • Cloudflare
  • Crazy Domains
  • DNSimple
  • DreamHost
  • Gandi
  • GoDaddy
  • Hostgator
  • Hostinger
  • Hover
  • IONOS
  • Namecheap
  • Network Solutions
  • One.com
  • OVH
  • Register.com
  • Siteground
  • Squarespace
  • Wordpress

"Domain not found" message

Domain not found.jpg

If you see a warning like this, it means you've attempted to authenticate using an unsupported DNS provider with the "Configure Domain" option. To resolve this issue, you must use the "Set up manually" option when connecting your domain. See the supported DNS providers.

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