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Keeping it short, MailChimp states that:

Authentication Should Be Simple

Email authentication is useless if it's too hard to implement. Many email service providers require server setup in order to authenticate your email campaigns. Accessing your server to modify DNS and TXT records and modifying your MTA is just not practical (especially for small businesses). At MailChimp, our authentication is free and automatically added to your campaigns by default.

So that got me curious. How can MailChimp automatically authenticate emails without accessing my servers to modify my domain's DNS records?

(record types: SPF, DKIM, PTR, SenderID)

  • Have you tried asking them? – cremefraiche Mar 8 '16 at 2:25
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    @cremefraiche: No I haven't, but I did Google around, and since I didn't found an answer I thought it would be useful to ask the question here so it become accessible to other people with the same doubt in the future. But thanks for the link, I might ask there as well. – Thomas C. G. de Vilhena Mar 8 '16 at 11:44
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So that got me curious. How can MailChimp automatically authenticate emails without accessing my servers to modify my domain's DNS records?

As far as I can see... they can't.

From their own setup instructions:

To set up custom DKIM, you must create or edit two files, known as "records," through your hosting provider, domain registrar, or DNS provider.

And from the very page you referenced:

Some methods (SPF, SenderID) simply require a file on your server that can be cross-referenced by a receiver.

My guess is that either:

  • They're talking about sending via one of their own domains rather than your own
  • They mean it as an aspiration related to their participation in the "Authentication and Online Trust Alliance" (which they link to underneath) rather than something which is true today
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    Your guess is right. I sent an email test message using MailChimp and I'm seeing a "via mail181.wdc02.mcdlv.net" next to the sender's name. So even though my domain's no-reply email address shows up as the sender, it's clear the the message is coming from MailChimp's email server. – Thomas C. G. de Vilhena Mar 8 '16 at 12:08
  • @thexacre thank you for your guess, I was wondering how mailchimp is not spam while they don't do any authentication! – shady sherif May 15 '16 at 14:35

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