Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Branded Subdomain Setup

Setting up a branded subdomain

Technically, all that is needed is the MX record, but we strongly recommend using an SPF record and a domain key.

Here is some general info on the subdomain setup:

Let's say your domain is acme.com and you want a subdomain of news.acme.com (which will only be used for sending email through JangoMail).

In your DNS (where you registered your domain), you create the subdomain of news.

Since we are sending on behalf of your subdomain, your subdomain needs an MX record saying we can send for you. Set up an MX record for your subdomain that shows: mail.jangomail.com.

Overall, at the subdomain level, we look for a MX record (mandatory), SPF record and a domain key/DKIM (both are strongly recommended), and at the parent-level domain, especially if click tracking will be used, a custom tracking domain.  

Each of these has a short explanation below:

Custom tracking domain

If you are using a branded subdomain, the custom tracking domain only needs to be at the parent-level domain, not at the subdomain.

If you are using "track" for your custom tracking domain, the DNS entry will look similar to what is shown below.

Enter the tracking domain information in your JangoMail account. If you enter your custom tracking domain name into a browser and go to that address, you should see our landing page.

Domain key/DKIM

A general summary of the DKIM/DomainKey setup is:
  • Login to your account.
  • Go to Settings > Advanced > Domain Keys / DKIM (in JangoSMTP) or Settings > Sending and Receiving > Domain Keys / DKIM (in JangoMail).
  • Click on "Add New Item." Add your domain by entering your domain and a selector for your domain. The selector can be any word such as "jangomail" or even your account username. Keep in mind that the selector you choose will correspond to the DNS record you must add for your domain (TXT record for selector._domainkey.yourdomain.com). Click Save.
How it looks in your account before it is enabled:

If you are using a subdomain, then the left-side value is your_selector._domainkey.your_subdomain_name and the right-side value is the key value generated in your JangoMail.

A private key has now been created for your domain, but the key pair will be disabled until you add the public key into your DNS settings. To view the key, click the "View Key" icon on the line for your entry. A popup will launch showing you the public key, the private key, and the exact DNS TXT record you must add into your DNS server. Copy the "Value" entry onto your clipboard.

Create the TXT record in your DNS. An example using HostMonster is shown below (and it includes what you would add for the SPF record).

Once the DNS record is in place, you must come back to JangoMail to enable the key pair. Go back to DomainKeys/DKIM, and click the "Enable" link next to your domain. JangoMail will then verify that your DNS TXT record is in place and correct, and if so, it will enable the key pair. Your messages will now be signed with a domain key/DKIM.

SPF record

SPF setup is pretty straightforward, and the guide shows what to do based on two conditions.

FROM Address

In JangoMail, options for the FROM address are listed here:

With the branded subdomain setup in your JangoMail account, send your messages using your subdomain name in the FROM address, for example, info@news.acme.com. JangoMail will be able to handle reply management for your messages.

General info

For your basic HTML email, a campaign has open tracking on by default. Click tracking is an optional setting, but one that you want to turn on for reporting reasons.

When you use a custom tracking domain, the URL for a hyperlink looks "better" in that it has your domain or brand in it, as opposed to ours. If you do not use a tracking domain, a URL will begin with something like x.jtrk86.net (that is not necessarily an actual URL, but you get the idea of what it looks like). With a tracking domain, recipients will see x.your_domain.com or track.your_domain.com (the "x" and "track" names are suggestions, you can use whatever you like).

Example domain

Using a subdomain named news.jangodemo.com, you can see the DNS values at network-tools.com (select the DNS Records radio button, enter news.jangodemo.com, and click Go, or use the link below):

You can see the MX record referencing mail.jangomail.com, and the SPF record (the TXT entry) with include:jangomail.com. The domain key uses jm, so if you enter jm._domainkey.news.jangodemo.com, you'll see the key value. The custom tracking domain is track.jangodemo.com, so if you enter that, you will see entries for jngo.net. You can also enter track.jangodemo.com in a browser, and it will take you to the jngo.net landing page.

If you have any questions about the above, please let us know. It's actually pretty easy to do all of this - the explanation of the steps makes it seem like a lot of work, but all of this can done in less than 5 minutes (you may have to wait for DNS propagation of your settings, which can take several hours, but that usually takes place right away).

You may also be interested in reading:  How to Set Up SPF Record and a Domain Key