Authenticate your email

If the custom domain you send email blasts from isn't hosted by NationBuilder — authenticate it to protect your email deliverability

Updated over a week ago

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Custom domain authenticated email

If your custom domain is managed by NationBuilder, the appropriate authentication records (NS and DMARC) have been added to your DNS records, and no action is needed to authenticate a broadcaster.

If your custom domain is managed elsewhere, you need to:

1. Add the domain to your nation. This is necessary even if the domain will not be connected to a website hosted by NationBuilder.

2. Add CNAME records to your domain registrar. To ensure optimal deliverability, make sure you have a DMARC record set up in your domain registrar too. This is external to NationBuilder and you can find DMARC record generators online, like Valimail, which will create a record and help you monitor the results. You can also simply look for “DMARC generator” to find a free online tool.

Using a free emailnb address

All broadcasters using free emailnb  addresses — e.g. "[email protected]" — send email blasts through one of our pooled authenticated domains. This means that the email will be sent “via” There are many pooled authenticated domains, so the exact domain used will include a number after nationsend .

The recipient will see [your email address] via in the “from” line of the email. If the recipient checks for sender details (for example, by clicking an arrow in Gmail), she will see that it was mailed by and signed by a nationsend  domain.

The email has been authenticated and sent using a pooled domain. This means that you are sharing domain reputation with other NationBuilder customers. We strongly recommend purchasing a custom domain.

Custom domain managed elsewhere without authentication records

NationBuilder will send broadcaster email via a nationsend domain if the authentication records for your custom domain are not visible.

Here are a couple of reasons email is sent via nationsend for custom domains managed elsewhere:

1. You did not add the authentication records to your domain registrar.

2. Your domain registrar does not allow you to create records with underscores. Previously, no domain records could include underscores. All DKIM records include underscores, so it is not possible to authenticate your domain without this capability. The problem is with your domain registrar. You can complain to your provider, move your domain record hosting to another provider such as Cloudflare, or have NationBuilder host your domain records.

3. You added the records to your domain registrar and sent an email blast before those records propagated. It takes up to 48 hours for any domain changes to be acknowledged across the world wide web.

To reiterate, if NationBuilder is managing your domain records, the authentication records are added automatically and email will be sent using your authenticated custom domain. 

Why authentication matters

Technically, email is a relatively insecure way of communicating. The basic way messages are sent and received makes it very easy to pretend to be someone. Spammers use this security gap when they send fake messages from a bank or PayPal, trying to gather your login credentials. Since it is so widely used, the underlying technology for email will not be updated. Rather, there are competing additional layers added to emails to prove that the person sending the email has permission. The two most widely used authentication protocols are DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail) and SPF (Sender Policy Framework). NationBuilder uses both DKIM and SPF to authenticate email blasts, notification emails, and one-to-one email.

Most commercial email providers now reject blast emails that are not authenticated. This means that the message does not appear in the recipient’s inbox or spam folder - it is never received by the recipient. That is why all email sent using NationBuilder is sent via an authenticated domain.

Sender reputation is based on domain reputation, recipient engagement, and to a lesser degree, IP reputation. Using a properly authenticated custom domain and optimizing your email program is the best way to optimize deliverability.

Most email blasts sent from NationBuilder use our pooled IP addresses. A growing percentage of people sending bulk email are using services like NationBuilder and email providers have adjusted their deliverability algorithms. The importance of IP reputation has decreased, while the importance of an authenticated custom domain has vastly increased. For complete control of your email reputation, it is possible to purchase a dedicated IP address from NationBuilder. If you send a large amount of email and would like to discuss whether this would help your email deliverability, please email [email protected] or contact our Customer Support team via in-app chat.

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