How to setup SPF on Campaign Monitor

Whether you're using the agency version of Campaign Monitor at or the standalone version at, you might want to set up SPF for that 100%/100% compliance measurement. Unfortunately, Campaign Monitor does not support custom return paths natively.

The process for setting up a custom return path on Campaign Monitor is unfortunately somewhat cumbersome and comes with the following caveats:

The process

The steps to achieve SPF Domain Alignment are:

  1. You add records to your domain's DNS.
  2. Campaign Monitor manually checks if they are set up correctly.
  3. Campaign Monitor turns on the feature.
  4. You get to double-check that it's working correctly.

A CNAME record is not necessary.

Getting started

There are several DNS records you'll need to set up and doing so incorrectly can mean that your mail fails to deliver so DNS competency is vital. Here are the steps you'll need to take:

1. Choose a sub-domain

You'll need to choose a sub-domain of your "friendly" from-domain that is not in use. Should this sub-domain's DNS records be overwritten at any point in time, your mail will fail to deliver.

A commonly used sub-domain is bounce.[], but you can choose whatever sub-domain you wish. Note that this cannot be the same domain as is used for your "custom domain" used for tracking links within Campaign Monitor.

2. Sign up for Gmail Postmaster Tools

For some reason, Campaign Monitor insists that you add your domain to Gmail Postmaster Tools - the parent domain, ie, not the subdomain (

You can follow Googles guide at to get started, or perhaps our guide is better for you.

After you've set up and verified your domain, visit again and follow the instructions in the "Manage your data access" then "Add someone to your domain" section. You need to give their [email protected] address access to your reports.

3. Set up SPF

Add to your sub-domain and the organisational domain. If you chose "bounce" as your sub-domain, you'll need to create the following TXT records:

  1. Add SPF record for the subdomain:
    • Name: bounce.[]
    • Value: v=spf1 -all
  2. Add SPF record for the parent domain:
    • Name: []
    • Value:

4. Add MX records

Add two MX records so bounced emails can be delivered to Campaign Monitors email servers. The example below uses "bounce" as the sub-domain.

  1. MX record 1
    • Name: bounce.[]
    • Value:
    • Priority: 5
  2. MX record 2
    • Name: bounce.[]
    • Value:
    • Priority: 5


If you are using DMARC for reporting and/or policy enforcement, you'll need to make sure that if you use the "aspf" tag, it's set to "r" for relaxed mode. See our DMARC documentation for further details and guides.

Finally let Campaign Monitor know

Once you've set up the DNS records, you'll need to let Campaign Monitor know. You can do this by sending an email to [email protected] and make sure to include the following information: