Google has introduced significant changes that affect bulk email senders. Starting February 1, 2024, Gmail will implement a new email authentication rule, requiring users who send over 5000 emails per day to Gmail accounts to authenticate their domains. This rule is likely to have a substantial impact, particularly on bulk email senders who use shared hosting or IP addresses.

Gmail’s new email authentication requirement

Some of the key changes and requirements that will come into effect on February 1, 2024, are;

  • SPF, DKIM, or DMARC mandatory Setup: It has been a standard practice for email senders to set up SPF or DKIM email authentication for their domains. However, beginning February 1, 2024, this will shift from a recommendation to a requirement for all bulk email senders.
  • Valid DNS Records: Domains or IP addresses used for sending emails must have valid DNS records. It should be easier to identify the IP address associated with the sender’s domain.
  • Spam Rate: To maintain good email deliverability, senders will be required to keep their domain’s spam rate below 0.30%. You should begin to get concerned if your spam rate goes past 0.10%. Google has created Postmaster Tools that you can use to check your email spam rate.
  • Accurate Sender Information: The “From” email address and name should accurately represent the sender. Providing false sender information can lead to email rejection over time.
  • Unsubscribe Link: The email authentication rules also emphasize compliance with existing email marketing regulations. Email senders are required to include a one-click unsubscribe link that is visible in the message body for emails sent to subscribers.

Google warns that bulk email senders failing to meet these authentication rules by February 1, 2024, will start experiencing email deliverability issues.

Impact on Shared Hosting

Shared hosting accounts often share IP addresses among multiple users. Google says that the reputation of any user sharing the same IP can affect everyone. Even if you meet all the authentication requirements, a violation by another user on the shared IP can impact your email deliverability.

Since you do not have control of other users’ behavior in shared hosting, it’s advisable to explore migrating from a shared hosting server to a VPS that provides a dedicated IP. Also, consider switching to a self-hosted email marketing system like Joltmailer which gives you complete control over your email-sending reputation.

You can read more about the new email authentication guidelines.  Yahoo and Gmail have joined hands to implement these guidelines.