Helping email get through to Hotmail / live accounts

I’ve been having a few issues reported to me regarding the sending of email through a web based email form to numerous Windows Live Hotmail accounts.

At first I assumed that they were simply getting marked as Junk until told this was not the case, so signed up for a new Hotmail account of my own to test with and found out they weren’t getting through at all.

One possible solution I tried was the addition of an SPF record and to do this I needed to generate one:

  1. Go to http://www.openspf.org/
  2. Under “Deploying SPF” enter the domain you are sending from.
  3. Run through the Setup Wizard, answer all the questions and hit “Continue”.
  4. This will generate your SPF record e.g. “v=spf1”.
  5. If you run BIND, paste “example.com. IN TXT “v=spf1” into your zone file.
  6. WHM users can use the edit DNS zone functionality to add a TXT entry.

After adding the SPF record I headed over to my test Hotmail account to add the domain to the safe senders list, useful if you are sending email to a specific account:

  1. Login to Hotmail and on the Inbox screen click on the “Options” menu (far right just above the advert).
  2. Click on “More options” at the very bottom.
  3. Under “Junk e-mail“, click “Safe and blocked senders“.
  4. On the next page click “safe senders“.
  5. Put the domain you are sending from “yourdomain.com” in to the input box and click “Add to list >>“.

Another possible solution for recipients is to add the email you are sending from to their contact list, in an attempt to prevent email from being filtered into the Junk folder.

To be honest, I’m not 100% certain that the addition of an SPF Record made any affect at all, but it did appear numerous times when searching for a solution to helping emails be delivered to Hotmail.

I would like to think the SPF record helped, but believe the real answer lied with adding the domain to the safe senders list and / or adding the sending email address to the contact list.

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