Tagdns

The Internet is hard.

There are so many things that need to happen to make the Internet work. DNS entries need to be right. MXs need to be set up. Web servers need to be configured. And, let’s be honest, anyone who has ever run their own services on the Internet has flubbed a configuration. We don’t think about it, because most of the time the configurations are handled by scripts and they do things right...

SPF: The rule of ten

Some mechanisms and modifiers (collectively, “terms”) cause DNS queries at the time of evaluation, and some do not. The following terms cause DNS queries: the “include”, “a”, “mx”, “ptr”, and “exists” mechanisms, and the “redirect” modifier. SPF implementations MUST limit the total number of those terms to 10...

TXTing

On Friday I talked a bit about the history behind TXT records, their uses and abuses. But what’s in a TXT record? How is it used? When and where should you use them? Here’s what you get if you query for the TXT records for exacttarget.com from a unix or OS X command line with dig exacttarget.com txt Shell ~ ∙ dig exacttarget.com txt ; <<>> DiG 9.8.3-P1 <<>>...

A brief history of TXT Records

When the Domain Name System was designed thirty years ago the concept behind it was pretty simple. It’s mostly just a distributed database that lets you map hostname / query-type pairs to values. If you want to know the IP address of cnn.com, you look up {cnn.com, A} and get back a couple of IP addresses. If you want to know where to send mail for aol.com users, you look up {aol.com, MX}...

PTR Records

PTR records are easy to over look and they have a significant impact on your ability to deliver mail without them.  Some ISP and mailbox providers will reject mail from IP addresses that do not have a PTR record created. PTR records are a type of DNS record that resolves an IP address to a fully qualified domain name or FQDN.  The PTR records are also called Reverse DNS records. If you are...

4 things spammers do legitimate marketers don't

I’ve never met a spammer that claims to be a spammer. Most that I’ve met claim to be legitimate marketers (or high volume email deployers). But there are things spammers do that I never expect to see a legitimate marketer doing. I’ve written about these things throughout the blog (tag: TWSD), but it’s probably time to actually pull them together into a single post. Use...

Four things to check before your next mailing

Like many bits of technology, email is often set-and-forget. Everything is checked and rechecked during setup, and then no one goes back and looks at it again. But mail programs are not static, and people make changes. These changes don’t really break things, but over time they can create their own set of problems. Setting aside some time every quarter or even every year to check and make...

I can't click through if you don't exist

Recipients can’t click through if you don’t exist A tale of misconfigured DNS wrecking someone’s campaign. I got mail this morning from A Large Computer Supplier, asking me to fill in a survey about them. I had some feedback for them, mostly along the lines of “It’s been two decades since I bought anything other than rackmount servers from you, maybe I’m not a...

Flush your DNS cache (again)

This time it appears that DNS for major websites, including the NY Times, has been compromised. Attackers put in DNS entries that redirected visitors to a malware site. The compromise has been fixed and the fake DNS entries corrected. However, people may still have the old data in their DNS caches and security experts are suggesting everyone flush their DNS cache to make sure the fake data is...

SPF Fail: too many DNS lookups

I’ve had a couple folks come to me recently for help troubleshooting SPF failures. The error messages said the SPF record was invalid, but by all checks it was valid. Eventually, we tracked the issue down to how many include files were in the SPF record. The SPF specification specifically limits the number of lookups that can happen during a SPF check. SPF implementations MUST limit the...

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