Use DKIM to Help With Email Delivery
DKIM stands for DomainKeys Identified Mail. DKIM allows the receiving email server to verify the authenticity of messages sent from your domain, which can help your emails to make it through spam blockers.
If you are using your own email address with Help Scout and want to use Help Scout servers to send your email, this article will help you with setting up the records so that those emails will pass DKIM validation. You do not need to set this up if you are using the default Help Scout Mailbox Address (e.g email@example.com) or sending through your own servers using SMTP or OAuth.
In this article
Why DKIM Matters
Have you ever received an email that looks like it's from PayPal, but is actually from a spammer posing as PayPal? This is called a "spoof" email, because it's quite easy to fake the domain associated with an email (like PayPal in this case). DKIM was created to combat these sorts of fake sender issues — it allows a recipient email server to check a signature on the email (sent in the headers, not something you see!) to make sure it matches a key that belongs to the domain it says it's from.
When you send an email to someone, it's most likely going through a spam protection service or blocker before it reaches your recipient. Most modern spam blockers will look for a DKIM signature and key match. They may block your email if they are unable to verify that DKIM signature.
DKIM & Emails Sent From Help Scout Servers
If you are using your own email address and using Help Scout servers to send your email, all outgoing emails will have a DKIM signature in the headers. As long as we have been able to verify that you've added Help Scout's servers to your SPF record, the DKIM signature will show as your domain. You just need to set up a couple of CNAME records at your DNS hosting provider so that when the recipient server checks that signature for your domain, it directs over to our servers and gets the right key. This helps your email have a much better shot at getting through spam blockers!
Note that if you have not added Help Scout's servers to your SPF record, emails sent from Help Scout then go out as "via helpscout.net" or "on behalf of" your domain. The DKIM signature will be for helpscout.net instead of your domain as the emails are not actually being sent from your domain. You must add our servers to your SPF to have your emails sent from your domain and DKIM signed as your domain.
Create CNAME Records for DKIM
You need 2 CNAME records at your DNS hosting provider. When a recipient server checks for the DKIM key at your domain, these records will forward that check over to Help Scout servers for the key.
- strong1._domainkey.yourdomain.com will point to strong1._domainkey.helpscout.net
- strong2._domainkey.yourdomain.com will point to strong2._domainkey.helpscout.net
Don't know who your DNS hosting provider is? Your DNS hosting provider is likely to be the service where you've registered the domain name or the hosting service where you host your website. MX Toolbox's DNS Lookup is a super helpful tool to discover public information about your domain. Enter your domain there and you'll see a box near the bottom that will show the provider for your domain.
Each DNS hosting provider will have their own terminology and formatting for creating a CNAME record. For example, creating the strong1._domainkey CNAME record at Google Domains will look like this (Note that they require a trailing dot after helpscout.net in the second field!):
The same CNAME record at GoDaddy would look like this:
Then at Cloudflare your form would look like this (the Proxy status needs to be set to DNS only):
We’ve included links to some popular providers’ help pages on CNAME or DNS below. If you don’t see your provider listed here, you need additional help, or you’re not sure how to log in to your account at your DNS provider, you’ll want to reach out to their support for an assist. The support team at your DNS provider will be able to help you find the right format if these articles don't get you there!
- GoDaddy: Domains Help: Add a CNAME record
- Namecheap: How to Create a CNAME Record For Your Domain
- Network Solutions: CNAME Records (Host Aliases)
- DNSMadeEasy: CNAME Record
- Google Domains: Create an A or CNAME record
- Hover: Managing DNS records
- Rackspace Cloud DNS: Create DNS records with Cloud DNS
- Bluehost: What Is A CNAME - How To Create & Edit CNAME
- Cloudflare: Create CNAME Records at Cloudflare to Work With Help Scout
Note: These providers may make changes to their knowledge bases or help pages that we aren't aware of. If any of these links do not lead to a help article about CNAME or DNS records for that provider, please let us know!