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Best Practices

Gmail’s Changes

By Ken Simpson | 3 minute read


In February, Google introduced new email delivery requirements for email senders and special requirements for senders who send to more than 5,000 recipients per day. Here is a summary of the new requirements, which we recommend you communicate to your web hosting end-users as soon as possible to ensure they have time to make the transition.

Requirements for Everyone

  • SPF or DKIM email authentication for all domains is now mandatory. MailChannels customers should advise their users to incorporate the MailChannels SPF record as described in our help article or to start signing emails with DKIM using a WordPress plugin such as the Deliverability plug-in.
  • All email messages must be formatted in accordance with RFC 5322.
  • Do not impersonate Gmail in your From: headers. It’s commonplace for some web hosting users to send emails “from” their Gmail address. This practice may now result in messages being sent to the spam folder.
  • If your mail infrastructure is used for forwarding, use ARC to indicate messages were forwarded and identify you as the forwarder. MailChannels signs messages with ARC to ensure that Gmail knows the headers that we are responsible for; however, we recommend that our customers implement ARC as well as this strengthens the authenticity of your Received chain, giving Google more tools to prevent abuse and improve deliverability.
  • If you are sending to a list, include a List-id: header in each message so that Google can identify your mailing list and attribute a positive reputation to it.

Domains that send to more than 5,000 recipients per day must also adhere to these extra requirements in order to ensure reliable delivery to Gmail recipients:

  • Every message must bear a valid DKIM signature. Gmail uses the DKIM signature to determine how your domain’s emails are received over time. If you consistently send good email from your domain, your deliverability will improve.
  • Spam report rates must be below 0.3%. Once you start signing your messages with DKIM, you can sign up for Google’s Postmaster Tools and track your complaint rates to ensure you remain below this threshold.
  • Create a DMARC record. Even if you set the record to non-enforcing (p=none), a record nonetheless must exist after February 1st for all high-volume domains.
  • The email address in the From: header must align with either your SPF record or your DKIM signature. For instance, you can’t send an email from “” if your DKIM signature is for “”. The two domains must “align”.
  • Every message must have a one-click unsubscribe link. Every message to a list must include either a List-Unsubscribe-Post: or List-Unsubscribe=One-Click header, enabling mail clients including Gmail to make it easy for recipients to unsubscribe.

As an SMTP relay provider, MailChannels has already satisfied many of Google’s deliverability requirements, such as helping you stay beneath the 0.3% complaint-rate threshold required for good deliverability.

Get in touch with us today if you need any help assisting your users in making the necessary changes to their domains and email-sending practices before February 1st.

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