Why emails go to spam folders?

June 10, 2016 765 views
Email DNS

I currently have this settings:
My droplet is named as my domain and hostname is as my domain = droplet.
This is my cloudflare configuration

I'm using sendmail.
What else can i do?

3 Answers

I assume that you mean when you send emails to someone from your server, your emails are ending up in the other person's spam folder, right?

There are 4 things you need to check on your side:


Make sure your IP address is not on a blacklist.


Make sure the SPF record is set properly in a TXT record of the DNS for your domain:
"v=spf1 +a +mx +ip4:xx.xx.xx.xx ~all"


Make sure that the DKIM record is set properly in a TXT record of the DNS for your domain:
"v=DKIM1; k=rsa;\;


Make sure your server is not an open relay

Have you set up an SPF record for your domain name in your DNS provider? Usually if this is not set correctly it will trigger spam software to mark emails as SPAM.

  • Something like this maybe?

    TXT   @    v=spf1 mx a ~all

    where is the same as my hostname.

    • So for my domain I have:

      v=spf1 ip4:[IP ADDRESS] include:[DOMAIN] include:[DOMAIN] include:[DOMAIN] ~all

      You don't need a TXT record for each service which is sending email on your behalf.. (You have 3?)

      That should cover your domain name and any 3rd parties (Google / Sendgrid) any emails coming from your droplets public IP. Try that (obviously wait for DNS TXT record to update).

      • Thanks for your answer but still going to spam folder, any clue?

        • Is it going to every spam folder? Or just some? (Google mail/hotmail etc??)

          Did you check if you are black listed? If you are then you need to go to the company responsible for each blacklist and request removal. MxToolbox can run a report and give you links to the pages to request removal.

          Other than that, we would need to see some log files which give reasons for SPAM.

I had the same issue before so I've sent a ticket to the support and this is what they've told me (IT WORKS GREAT BTW):

Hello, and thank you for contacting DigitalOcean!

While our droplets are self-managed, I am happy to offer advice and brainstorm with you on this. There are a lot of reasons why e-mail may land in spam folders. To get a quick opinion on it, you can visit the link below and send an e-mail to the address that it generates you. This will give you a full report on how your e-mail appears to recipient servers.

These are the most common reasons why e-mails are filtered to spam folders:

  1. Inconsistent headers
  2. PTR lookup failure / no DNS record matching PTR
  3. SPF Failure
  4. Content

Inconsistent headers could be something like you sending from your server but in the “From” field it shows that it was sent from somewhere else, like Yahoo, Hotmail, etc. The “From” field should show an address that your server should be sending as (typically your domain).

You should make sure that your server’s hostname is a fully qualified domain name (example: and that the droplet is named to match, so that the PTR record is set. Additionally, your DNS should have that hostname (example: pointing to your droplet IP address so that reverse lookups are consistent.

Your SPF record is a DNS record of the type “TXT” which includes either a reference to a DNS record that points to your droplet IP address or the droplet IP address itself. For example, if I want to send mail as and I want to send from my website, as well as a droplet with the IP of, my SPF record might look like this:

“v=spf1 +a +ip4: ~all”

The “~all” tells the receiving mail server to basically do what it thinks is best if the mail does not match the “+a” (domain’s primary A record) or the “+ip4:” (the droplet’s IP address). You can also use “-all” instead which suggests to the recipient mail server that any e-mail not originating from these points should be discarded.

Finally, content. Your content can be read as spam whether you intend for it to be or not. Try sending e-mails without long signatures, images, brand names, or website names to rule out the content of your e-mails. However, keep in mind that past content can impact your future e-mails as well.

Now, it is important to note that the most common belief is that blacklists cause filtering to spam folders. In most cases, blacklisting will actually cause e-mail rejection, not filtering to spam folders. However, it is certainly a possibility, even if not a probability, that blacklistings can impact what folder your e-mails land in. You can look up blacklistings for your IP address here:

Do note that not every blacklist is relevant. Recipient servers have to actually use them for them to matter. Many are not widely used, and therefore do not matter. If you question whether this is the case with a particular blacklist, feel free to ask us, we generally know which ones are important.

Please let us know if you have any additional questions, and please leave us some feedback in the form below. We'd love to hear from you!

Platform Support Specialist
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