How to create a custom return-path address

How to create a custom return-path address

As marketers, you know that the race to achieve inbox placement is getting tougher every day. The best way to land your emails in your contact's inbox is by implementing email authentication techniques. At Zoho Campaigns, we urge our users to implement SPF, DKIM, and DMARC. For your emails to pass the DMARC validation, you must implement SPF and DKIM. When your emails pass the SPF and DKIM alignment and validations, your emails will pass the DMARC validations performed by mailbox providers.
 
Let's dive deep and learn about achieving SPF alignment by using a custom return path address.

What is a return-path address? 

The return-path address is an envelope address used by email senders to receive notifications about email bounces. Email senders can analyze the bounce receipts and take necessary corrective measures. It's important to understand that an email can only have one return-path address. You can find the return-path address in the email header.   
 
In Zoho Mail, you click on an email, navigate to the top-right arrow, and click on Show original. The message header details will open in a new window.




Here are instructions to get the email header of other commonly used mailbox providers.

What is a custom return path address? 

Let's assume that your sender address is mail@zylker.com. By default, the return path address provided by Zoho Campaigns will look like this: bounce_680519846+a.16c5bdf641dd89ec_v28@sendh2.hlet.zcsend.net 
 
Here, the domain of the sender address and the return-path address do not match. In this situation, the SPF alignment will fail.
 
A custom return-path address will use the domain that is used by the sender address. For example, if your sender domain is zylker.com, you can create a custom return-path address like bounces@bounce.zylker.com. When the domain of your sender address and that of your return-path address match, you can achieve SPF alignment and your emails will pass the SPF validation.  

How to set up a custom return-path address  

  1. Log into your account.
  2. From the navigation toolbar, choose Settings.
  3. Select Custom Return-Path under Deliverability.

  4. Select Setup for the domain for which you want to create the custom return-path address.

  5. In the Return-path setup dialog box, add the host name in the Host Name to be Added field.
  6. Click Copy in the CNAME record to be added field to copy the CNAME record.
  7. Paste the CNAME record in your DNS.
  8. Click Verify Domain.

Advantages of using a custom return-path address  

Having a custom return path address will help your emails pass the SPF alignment in DMARC validation. When you implement SPF, DKIM, and DMARC, it will improve email deliverability and prevent your emails from spoofing attacks. 

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