What is SPF and how can it help you fight spam?

Why you should think about SPF?
And, I'm not talking about the Sun Protection Factor that you see on your bottle of sunscreen.
 
I'm referring to SPF which stands for Sender Policy Framework. It is used to reduce the overall amount of spam and more specifically, it works to reduce the chances that your domain is “spoofed” or used by third parties to send fake emails using your domain name. When a spammer or other email abuser sends an email they frequently cover their tracks by faking an email address. If they use your email address, this can impact the reputation of your domain. By implementing SPF at the DNS level, you can dramatically reduce your spam and better protect your domain from becoming victim to spoofers.
 
How does SPF Work?
SPF is a TXT record entered at the DNS level specifying the provider(s) that your company uses to send email through. IE. Infosaic.com, Google.com, etc.
 
There are tools available which will generate this SPF record to add to your DNS like http://www.spfwizard.net.
 
To learn more about SPF visit: http://www.openspf.org/Introduction
Generate a SPF record: http://www.spfwizard.net/
 
View an example record, to include the meaning in the record, from the openspf.org website:
 

An Example Policy

Let's look at an example to give you an idea of how SPF works. Bob owns the domain example.net. He also sometimes sends mail through his GMail account and contacted GMail's support to identify the correct SPF record for GMail. Since he often receives bounces about messages he didn't send, he decides to publish an SPF record in order to reduce the abuse of his domain in e-mail envelopes:
example.net.  TXT  "v=spf1 mx a:pluto.example.net include:aspmx.googlemail.com -all"
The parts of the SPF record mean the following:
v=spf1
SPF version 1
mx
the incoming mail servers (MXes) of the domain are authorized to also send mail for example.net
a:pluto.example.net
the machine pluto.example.net is authorized, too
include:aspmx.googlemail.com
everything considered legitimate by gmail.com is legitimate for example.net, too
-all
all other machines are not authorized
 
 
As long as we use email, there apparently will be some level of spam in our lives; however with the advent of SPF, you have an additional tool to aid in the fight against spam.