This is a problem we see quite often - this article is meant to serve as a guide to both our clients and their website developers/hosts.
Why are submissions on my contact form/website going to junk?
As part of standard anti-spam/security, your domain has a number of protection mechanisms in place to prevent third parties from "pretending" to be your companies e-mail domain (ie mycompanyhere.co.uk). It does this by using something called an SPF record.
What is an SPF record?
An SPF record is a publicly viewable record that all e-mail servers can see that essentially says "Only these specific servers are allowed to send e-mail on behalf of mycompanyhere.co.uk"
So what is happening when my website sends an e-mail to me from my contact form?
- The contact form is probably trying to send directly to you as an already existing legitimate company address
- The servers that your website are using to send that e-mail are not officially designated servers for sending mail as your company domain (IE they are not on the SPF record as allowed servers)
- When the e-mail gets sent to you, it goes into your junk because the e-mail is failing that check
But submissions on my contact form are not coming through at all?
If you are not receiving mail even into Junk then in the first instance contact us and we can perform a message trace to see if the contact form is even getting as far as communicating with your e-mail servers. To do this we need to know the e-mail address the form is sending from. In most cases we have seen this is because websites have been misconfigured. If you are not receiving contact forms even in to junk, and you have confirmed this with us the please use the following template to send to your host:
"Hello, You're currently hosting our website domainhere.co.uk and we're having problems with the contact form submissions not getting delivered at all. Our IT Support providers have asked us to ensure that the website is configured correctly to deliver to the live MX record and is not attempting to deliver locally (called a Remote MX record in Cpanel/Plesk). If it is configured correctly on your site, they have asked if you can please send across the SMTP transaction log showing that our e-mail servers are accepting/not accepting mail sent from the contact form. All of our other mail is being delivered correctly which makes us believe this is a problem on your side."
We will need the SMTP transaction logs from your host to check this further.
How do we fix this?
You have a number of options.
If your site is submitting multiple forms to multiple people inside your company only, go for Option 1
If your site is submitting forms to people OUTSIDE of your business, go for Option 2
If your site is a single form going to your company only, go for Option 3
Option 1 - Add the Websites e-mail servers to the SPF record and we will whitelist the servers for delivery
For this to be an option your website host has to know the IP addresses of the servers they are using for e-mails. Here is a template to request these details from them:
"Hello, You're currently hosting our website domainhere.co.uk and we're having problems with the contact form submissions getting delivered to junk. Our IT Support providers have asked us to get the IP Addresses or DNS names of the servers that our webhost are using to send mail so they can whitelist the IP addresses and add the servers to the SPF record. Can you send these across to us?"
Once you have the information, pass it to us and we will will whitelist the addresses. If your domain is being managed by us we will make the changes to the SPF record too
Option 2 - Have the contact forms submit e-mail directly through your organisations e-mail infrastructure
This requires the provisioning of a user account dedicated for the submissions, IE firstname.lastname@example.org. If you're on Office 365 this would involve an additional user adding to your subscription. We would provision the user and pass you the details, and your webhost would setup on their servers as per Option 1 https://bit.ly/2QJlWlr
Option 3 - Change the e-mail address that the contact form sends from
This is the easiest option. Ask your webhost to make the form NOT send as @yourdomainhere.co.uk. This doesn't mean you have to register a domain, your webhosts can often just setup the from address as anything else that is NOT your main website name.