Short form: Dreamhost showed me how to implement a method of decreasing spam at the domain level called SPF. They implemented another domain level method of reducing spam, DKIM, a few months after I showed them that they hadn’t set up their system properly.
Until recently, there was nothing stopping someone from sending email from lee.org illegitimately (called “spoofing” email). A lot of spammers used it to send junk email “from” lee.org. This bothered me because:
- spam :-(
- Sometimes I’d get thousands of bounced emails
- It reduced the assurity that my domain wasn’t hosting spammers, so sometimes real emails I sent would be marked as spam
Dreamhost support also suggested I create the emails postmaster@ and abuse@ because “I have seen some cases even though they are very rare cases in which not having these emails set up can cause some problems with servers receiving email.” Ok, sure. So I set those addresses up.
I created an account at postmaster.google.com to periodically check if Gmail is getting any spam from my domain.
I read up on spam-proofing a domain and realized that Dreamhost hadn’t implemented DKIM. Actually, they set it up for my domain but it was left in test mode. Even in Dreamhost’s DKIM example the test flag was set (see “Example of a DKIM Record, they write: k=rsa; t=y; p=GIMfMA0G…). So I had several back and forths with Dreamhost tech support starting in February and yesterday I got an email, “Our devs finally got around to removing the test flag and now DKIM records are properly being served.” Hurray!
In conclusion, you might want to check the headers on your outgoing emails. Look for the “dkim” header. Previously, when my account was still in “test-mode”, headers looked like “dkim=pass (test mode)”. And now they look like “dkim=pass firstname.lastname@example.org” :-)