What Are Email DKIM Keys – And Why Does It Matter To Your Business?

DKIM stands for ‘Domain Keys Identified Mail’. It’s a relatively new method for recipients to be completely sure that they email has come from a specific domain.

DKIM helps protect email recipients against people who are pretending to be your business – scammers, spammers and phishers.

Increasingly, mail clients are treating emails that are not DKIM verified as suspicious, or even shoving emails that fail DKIM checks into the Spam folder.

Setting Up DKIM

Because DKIM is relatively new, many business will find that DKIM key have not already been set up. The process is pretty simple, and doesn’t take long, depending on who your domain DNS host is.

If you’d like us to do this for you, please check out our off-the peg product here.

DKIM keys come in two parts – a private key, and a public key (or several).

Usually different email providers will have different processes for generating the keys. Once generated they will look after the private key, and use it to sign your emails. They’ll then give you the public keys to spread around as much as you can!

DKIM keys screen
A screen from Amazon AWS’s ‘Simple Email Service’. The public key DKIM key values shown will be used to create 3 new CNAME records on the domain whose email reputation we’re trying to protect. The keys themselves are the string of characters at the beginning of each of the lines.

The public keys are for, well, public use. Because of this, they need to be freely available to anyone who wants them. A great place to put them is in your domain’s DNS settings, as CNAME records. When the recipients email server gets an email with DKIM it’ll try to fetch these public keys by grabbing data from your domain’s DNS.

To implement DKIM you need to edit your domain’s DNS settings – this can be tricky, and is critical to the health of your domain name, so please use someone who knows what they’re doing!

What DKIM Keys Mean For Your Business

Simply put : reputation.

Imagine if phishers and scammers were sending vulnerable people emails that appeared to come from your company! Not only would your company’s hard won reputation be helping the scammers steal money from their victims, but once word got out, your company’s name would be mud.

Online reputation monitoring sites would notice this, and ultimately your SEO would be severely damaged.

In addition, genuine emails your company were sending out would potentially lose their authority, and start to fail as an effective method of communication with your current or potential customers.

DKIM keys are one of a number of steps that you can take to protect your businesses reputation. Please put them in place before it’s too late!


DKIM, domain keys identified mail, email, phishers, phishing, reputation, scammers

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