Add your Populi site's DNS records and Populi's SPF record to your domain so emails aren't marked as spam

Email is everywhere in Populi. One of the things Populi is meant to do is let you use your data to communicate more easily with the right people. From mailing lists to course communications to plain ol' Send Email links under profile pictures, it's never difficult to find a way to send people messages. Suffice it to say, you'll be using email in Populi— a lot.

When you send email through Populi, that email is sent by Populi on behalf of your domain. To explain...

  • Say your web domain is your email address is
  • When sending an email using your smartphone or email client, the recipient’s email host examines your message to confirm that the email from was actually sent by the servers. By doing this, it can confirm the authenticity of your message. (Messages sent by a malicious user from other servers, claiming to be from your email address, would be considered spam.)
  • Populi generates email on your behalf when you use it to communicate with other users, and special authorization is needed so that Internet mail servers do not suspect Populi of transmitting mail improperly. These authorizations are established in the DNS records for your domain name. (DNS records are supported by registrars like GoDaddy, HostGator, etc. and your IT staff should be able to manage their contents.)

Populi recommends the use of several forms of DNS records in order to be able to send mail on your behalf with the utmost confidence that it will be trusted by mail servers. TXT and CNAME records are used for the highest form of email authentication, and SPF records are used as a secondary form of trust.

DNS records are associated with each domain name where your users have email addresses. If your users include johndoe@ and janedoe@, these would be two separate domain name configurations. In such cases, we can provide DNS entries for both configurations.

The point of all this is that to use Populi email successfully, you need update your domain with your Populi site's DNS records as well as Populi's SPF record.


So, you need to update a total of six records. Do this by visiting your domain register (GoDaddy, Hostgator, etc.). Log in to your domain manager, and in the space where you can edit your TXT field, add the following:

  • The five DNS records provided in Account > Domains.
    • The first is a TXT record containing a long string of random numbers and letters. The other four records are CNAME records for various Populi subdomains. These records establish the subdomains Populi uses to send email on your behalf.
  • Populi's SPF record: v=spf1 a mx ~all
    • If you already have an SPF record in that field, you'll need to merge the two.
  • After entering these items, go to Account > Domains and click Request Domain Validation. It can take up to 24 hours to complete validation of the SPF and DNS records (other than updating your domain registry, you need take no further action in Populi). Upon their validation, you'll see the indicator in Account > Domains update itself to Verified.
  • If necessary, you can return to this spot and press the Request... button again to update the validation.

Additionally, make sure that your users have a school email address listed on their profiles—whether or not it's marked as primary.

Feel free to contact us with questions and we'll do our best to help you.

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