How to Set Up DMARC Records in cPanel
In today’s digitally driven world, email communication remains pivotal for businesses. However, it has also become a common vector for cyber threats like phishing and spoofing.
Protecting your domain from being exploited by such threats is crucial, and that’s where implementing a DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance) record becomes indispensable.
If you’re wondering how to set up DMARC records in cPanel, this article has you covered. We’ll explore what a DMARC record is, its benefits, and a step-by-step guide on adding a DMARC record to your domain through cPanel.
What is a DMARC record?
DMARC is an email authentication protocol designed to give email domain owners the ability to protect their domain from unauthorized use, such as email spoofing.
The purpose of DMARC is to prevent malicious actors from sending messages that appear to be from legitimate domains.
It builds on the email authentication methods SPF (Sender Policy Framework) and DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail), tying them together with a consistent set of policies.
Why is DMARC crucial? Do I need a DMARC record?
DMARC is not just beneficial; it’s a critical security measure for organizations. Here’s why:
Brand Protection: Without DMARC, your organization is vulnerable to brand abuse, email scams, and other cyber threats. Implementing DMARC helps protect your brand’s reputation and integrity.
Increased Email Deliverability: DMARC improves your email delivery rates by reducing the likelihood of your legitimate emails being mistakenly flagged as spam and blocked by email providers.
Visibility and Control: DMARC offers insight into who is sending emails on behalf of your domain. It provides reports on email delivery, allowing domain owners to monitor and control their email traffic.
Considering these substantial benefits, setting up a DMARC record is advisable for all businesses looking to secure their email communication.
Setting Up a DMARC Record in cPanel
If you’re hosting your website’s domain via a service that provides cPanel, you can add a DMARC record directly through this platform. Here’s how you can create and add a DMARC record in cPanel:
Step 1: Accessing the Zone Editor
- First, log in to your cPanel account.
- Once logged in, scroll down to the “Domains” section.
- Click on the “Zone Editor” option. This area allows you to manage DNS records, including the addition of DMARC records.
Step 2: Managing DNS Records for Your Domain
- In the “Zone Editor,” you’ll see a list of your domains. Locate the domain you want to secure with DMARC.
- Click on the “Manage” option next to your chosen domain. This action will open the DNS records page for that specific domain.
Step 3: Adding a New DMARC Record
- On this page, locate and click the drop-down arrow next to the “Add Record” button.
- From the options that appear, select “Add ‘DMARC’ Record.” This choice indicates you’re adding a new DMARC policy.
Step 4: Configuring Your DMARC Policy
- If you haven’t decided on a specific DMARC record yet, you can choose a policy type, and cPanel will generate a record for you.
- For those who have predetermined DMARC records, click on the “Raw” tab. Here, you can input your custom record details.
- Additionally, you have the option to click on “Optional Parameters.” This feature allows you to fine-tune how your policy operates. If you’re uncertain about these settings, it’s safe to stick with the default values provided.
Step 5: Inputting the DMARC Record
- If you’ve opted for a custom policy, you’ll need to enter the details into the “Record” field. This step is crucial as it dictates how email receivers handle your emails. For example:
- After you’ve double-checked the information entered, click “Save Record.”
Step 6: Verifying Your New DMARC Record
With your new record added, it’s essential to ensure everything is functioning correctly. You might need to wait some time for the changes to propagate throughout the internet.
Consider using online tools like MxToolbox to check your DMARC setup, or monitor reports that come from your DMARC policy for insights into your email traffic.
Step 7: Ongoing Monitoring and Adjustments
Remember, setting up your DMARC record isn’t a “set and forget” task. Regularly review the reports generated by your DMARC record, and be prepared to make adjustments to your policy as needed. These changes will help you maintain high email deliverability and security.
Understanding DMARC Configuration Options in cPanel
When setting up DMARC through cPanel’s Zone Editor, users are presented with a range of configuration options. These settings define how receiving mail servers should handle emails from the domain in question. Let’s delve into each of these parameters:
- None: This policy is primarily used for monitoring. It allows domain owners to gather data on their email sending sources without affecting their email flow. No action is taken against emails that fail DMARC checks.
- Quarantine: Emails that fail DMARC checks are placed in the recipient’s spam or junk folder.
- Reject: Emails that don’t pass DMARC authentication are refused delivery.
Under this section, you’ll find advanced DMARC settings that offer granular control:
Subdomain Policy: This determines the DMARC policy for subdomains. If unspecified, the main domain’s DMARC policy applies to the subdomains.
- None: No specific policy for subdomains; they inherit the main domain’s policy.
- Quarantine: Email from subdomains failing DMARC checks go to the spam or junk folder.
- Reject: Email from subdomains that don’t pass DMARC authentication aren’t delivered.
DKIM Mode: DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail) is an email authentication method. This setting dictates how strictly the DKIM policy is applied:
- Relaxed: Aligns if the DKIM
d=field (domain) matches the root domain of the sender.
- Strict: Requires an exact match between the DKIM
d=field and the sender’s domain.
SPF Mode: SPF (Sender Policy Framework) is another email authentication technique. Like DKIM Mode, this setting defines the strictness of SPF checks:
- Relaxed: SPF alignment when the return-path domain matches the root domain of the sender.
- Strict: An exact match between the return-path domain and sender’s domain is required for SPF alignment.
Percentage: Represents the fraction (in percentage) of mail that should be subjected to the DMARC policy. Typically set to 100% when the domain owner is confident in their DMARC settings.
Generate Failure Reports When:
- All Checks Fail: Reports are generated when both SPF and DKIM checks fail.
- Any Check Fails: Reports are generated if either SPF or DKIM checks fail.
Report Format: Choose the format in which you’d like to receive DMARC reports.
- AFRF: Authentication Failure Reporting Format.
- IODEF: Incident Object Description Exchange Format.
Report Interval: This determines how often you receive DMARC reports (in seconds). The default is 86400 seconds (24 hours).
Send Aggregate Mail Reports To: Enter the email addresses (comma-delimited) where you’d like to receive aggregate DMARC reports. These provide an overview of the DMARC authentication results.
Send Failure Reports To: Input the email addresses (comma-delimited) where you wish to receive forensic reports. These detail-specific authentication failures, helping domain owners identify and rectify issues.
By understanding and configuring these settings appropriately, domain owners can exert precise control over their email delivery and security.
Proper DMARC configuration is instrumental in building a trusted reputation for your domain, ensuring your emails reach their intended recipients, and protecting against malicious activities like phishing and spoofing.
Setting up a DMARC record in cPanel is a straightforward process, but its impact on your business’s email security is profound. By following the steps outlined above, you can enhance your domain’s security posture, protect your brand, and improve email deliverability.
Remember, cyber resilience is an ongoing process, and setting up a DMARC record is a significant step in the right direction.