The majority of Klaviyo customers do not need to take any action to update their DNS records. We automatically configure them for you. That said, there are two cases that go beyond general deliverability where updates to your DNS records are required:
- Using a dedicated sending domain, a process called whitelabeling.
Any company is eligible to create a whitelabled sending domain.
- Using a dedicated sending IP (for large volume senders).
Only large volume senders qualify for using a dedicated sending IP.
Why Sending Infrastructure is Important
In the world of email marketing, your sending infrastructure is very important. Why? Inbox providers, like Google and Hotmail determine whether to block, filter, or deliver your email based on the reputation of your sending infrastructure.
If you want to use dedicated infrastructure, it is important that you update your DNS records. Inbox providers, like Google and Hotmail, work hard to make sure mail that appears to be delivered from you actually is delivered from you. They do this by comparing records that get automatically added to your email to the DNS records on your website. So, to ensure your mail gets delivered, you need to update your records.
Using a Dedicated Sending Domain
Sending from a dedicated sending domain is a process called whitelabeling.
By default Klaviyo sets up records that ensure your emails will be delivered to your recipients. For example, on Gmail your recipients may see that your from address includes "via klaviyomail.com".
If you're interested in using a dedicated sending domain, please see our guide on Whitelabeling Your Sending Domain.
Dedicated vs Shared Sending Domain
More sophisticated inbox providers look closely at the reputation of your sending domain, which is a measure of engagement among recipients who receive emails using a specific sending domain.
Shared Sending Domains contain a root domain that is shared among multiple Klaviyo accounts. Klaviyo automatically adds a unique element to sending domains to make it easier for more sophisticated inbox providers like Gmail and Hotmail to identify each sender as different.
There are two main benefits of using a shared Sending Domain:
- You do not have to update any records. When you sign up for Klaviyo you can start sending immediately.
- You benefit from a much bigger volume of emails sent on a shared Sending Domain, which establishes a more powerful reputation than a sender could establish on their own, ensuring better inbox placement.
The potential negative of using a shared Sending Domain is that your reputation among each inbox provider could be influenced by other senders. Klaviyo has a sophisticated architecture that removes bad senders from our platform and reduces the impact of poor performers on a individual sender's reputation, so there should be no impact.
Dedicated Sending Domains are whitelabeled sending domains that use the root domain of a business, instead of a root domain supplied by Klaviyo.
The benefits to using a dedicated Sending Domain is that only one sender has an impact on the reputation.
The negatives to using a dedicated Sending Domain are as follows:
- You must slowly warm the Sending Domain
- You must update your DNS records
Using a Dedicated Sending IP
If you're a managed account and send a high enough volume of messages each month, you're eligible to send from a dedicated IP Address. To do this, you must update your DNS records.
Establishing a whitelabel for a dedicated IP Address requires adding a single A record to your DNS records with your hosting provider. This record will be provided to you by your account manager at Klaviyo.
Dedicated IP Address vs Shared IP Address
Inbox providers look at the reputation of the IP Address that a given sender uses when sending a message. Reputation is determined by the engagement among recipients who receive emails from a specific IP Address.
Shared IP Addresses are used by multiple Klaviyo accounts. Klaviyo has developed a sophisticated underlying infrastructure that automatically groups senders of similar performance together and assigns shared IP Addresses to them. So, accounts using a Shared IP address will be sharing that IP address with other senders of similar performance.
The benefits of using Shared IP addresses are as follows:
- You don't have to follow a warm up schedule when you get started.
- The IP Address will carry an established reputation that is measured across more emails than any one sender would send on their own.
- Klaviyo's Compliance team monitors the IP address and curates which accounts are entitled to send with it.
The only potential negatives of using Shared IP addresses are you are not in total control of the reputation. Klaviyo takes email sending performance and sending infrastructure reputation incredibly seriously. We have automated systems that remove bad senders from the platform and group like senders, so this potential negative is mitigated on Klaviyo.
Dedicated IP Addresses are used by managed accounts on Klaviyo and are only used by 1 account. The benefit of using a Dedicated IP Address is that the reputation of the IP Address can only be influenced by the single account that is using it.
The negatives of using a Dedicated IP Address are:
- It must be appropriately warmed.
- You must update DNS records.
- You must send a high volume of monthly emails to establish a reputation.
Warming Your Infrastructure
When you introduce a dedicated element of sending infrastructure, it's important that you appropriately warm it up. Warming a Sending Domain or IP Address means that you are introducing that new element to inbox providers. Each inbox provider has a different algorithm that looks at the combination of your sending "fingerprint" which is made up of the following elements:
- Sending Domain
- IP Address
- Click Tracking Domain
- From Address
- CDN URL
Appropriately warming a net new sending infrastructure element does two important things.
It gives the inbox providers' algorithms an opportunity to adjust to this new piece of infrastructure. By default, the algorithms tend to be skeptical of new sending elements and will bias towards placing those emails in the spam folder. If they "get comfortable" with the element by seeing it's volume slowly increase and engagement stay high, then it will quickly establish a strong reputation.
By starting slowly, it allows you as a sender to adjust your sending behavior if you experience bad engagement before a negative reputation is set on the new sending element.
What to expect?
Using dedicated sending infrastructure is not an overnight fix to deliverability woes. On the contrary, using dedicated sending infrastructure is an overt investment you're making as a sender to reap the benefits of fantastic email sending performance.
As you continue to invest in acquiring quality subscribers and removing unengaged subscribers, the reputation of your sending infrastructure will continue to improve and the percentage of your messages that go straight to the inbox will outpace your competitors.
Whether you're using shared or dedicated infrastructure, sending to unengaged subscribers and earning poor performance in your email sending is a surefire way to see more emails get filtered to the spam folder.
If you invest in healthy lists, your performance will go up. When your performance goes up, your reputation gets stronger. When your reputation gets stronger, your inbox placement goes up. When your inbox placement goes up, your performance goes up. This is the virtuous cycle of successful email marketing.