Sender Policy Framework (SPF) for Authorizing Use of Domains in E-Mail, Version 1
RFC 4408

Document Type RFC - Experimental (April 2006; Errata)
Obsoleted by RFC 7208
Updated by RFC 6652
Was draft-schlitt-spf-classic (individual in app area)
Last updated 2013-03-02
Stream IETF
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Stream WG state (None)
Consensus Unknown
Document shepherd No shepherd assigned
IESG IESG state RFC 4408 (Experimental)
Telechat date
Responsible AD Ted Hardie
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Network Working Group                                            M. Wong
Request for Comments: 4408                                    W. Schlitt
Category: Experimental                                        April 2006

                   Sender Policy Framework (SPF) for
            Authorizing Use of Domains in E-Mail, Version 1

Status of This Memo

   This memo defines an Experimental Protocol for the Internet
   community.  It does not specify an Internet standard of any kind.
   Discussion and suggestions for improvement are requested.
   Distribution of this memo is unlimited.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2006).

IESG Note

   The following documents  (RFC 4405, RFC 4406, RFC 4407, and RFC 4408)
   are published simultaneously as Experimental RFCs, although there is
   no general technical consensus and efforts to reconcile the two
   approaches have failed.  As such, these documents have not received
   full IETF review and are published "AS-IS" to document the different
   approaches as they were considered in the MARID working group.

   The IESG takes no position about which approach is to be preferred
   and cautions the reader that there are serious open issues for each
   approach and concerns about using them in tandem.  The IESG believes
   that documenting the different approaches does less harm than not
   documenting them.

   Note that the Sender ID experiment may use DNS records that may have
   been created for the current SPF experiment or earlier versions in
   this set of experiments.  Depending on the content of the record,
   this may mean that Sender-ID heuristics would be applied incorrectly
   to a message.  Depending on the actions associated by the recipient
   with those heuristics, the message may not be delivered or may be
   discarded on receipt.

   Participants relying on Sender ID experiment DNS records are warned
   that they may lose valid messages in this set of circumstances.
   aParticipants publishing SPF experiment DNS records should consider
   the advice given in section 3.4 of RFC 4406 and may wish to publish
   both v=spf1 and spf2.0 records to avoid the conflict.

Wong & Schlitt                Experimental                      [Page 1]
RFC 4408             Sender Policy Framework (SPF)            April 2006

   Participants in the Sender-ID experiment need to be aware that the
   way Resent-* header fields are used will result in failure to receive
   legitimate email when interacting with standards-compliant systems
   (specifically automatic forwarders which comply with the standards by
   not adding Resent-* headers, and systems which comply with RFC 822
   but have not yet implemented RFC 2822 Resent-* semantics).  It would
   be inappropriate to advance Sender-ID on the standards track without
   resolving this interoperability problem.

   The community is invited to observe the success or failure of the two
   approaches during the two years following publication, in order that
   a community consensus can be reached in the future.

Abstract

   E-mail on the Internet can be forged in a number of ways.  In
   particular, existing protocols place no restriction on what a sending
   host can use as the reverse-path of a message or the domain given on
   the SMTP HELO/EHLO commands.  This document describes version 1 of
   the Sender Policy Framework (SPF) protocol, whereby a domain may
   explicitly authorize the hosts that are allowed to use its domain
   name, and a receiving host may check such authorization.

Table of Contents

   1. Introduction ....................................................4
      1.1. Protocol Status ............................................4
      1.2. Terminology ................................................5
   2. Operation .......................................................5
      2.1. The HELO Identity ..........................................5
      2.2. The MAIL FROM Identity .....................................5
      2.3. Publishing Authorization ...................................6
      2.4. Checking Authorization .....................................6
      2.5. Interpreting the Result ....................................7
           2.5.1. None ................................................8
           2.5.2. Neutral .............................................8
           2.5.3. Pass ................................................8
           2.5.4. Fail ................................................8
           2.5.5. SoftFail ............................................9
           2.5.6. TempError ...........................................9
           2.5.7. PermError ...........................................9
   3. SPF Records .....................................................9
      3.1. Publishing ................................................10
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