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I have created a WordPress website, which I have hosted on a VPS.

In a bid to promote both email security and help improve the chances on an email landing in an Email's recipient's Inbox, rather than Junk Folder, I have successfully created the following:

  • SPF Record
  • DKIM Record (Both Public and Private Key)
  • DMARC Record

I have verified, and validated, these above DNS Records by using 3rd Party Tools (Mx Toolbox for example) as well as checking the email headers.

I have also created an Email Certificate, via a 3rd Party, which I attach with emails, when sending from Outlook.

All seemed fine. I then created a new Gmail Account, which had never received emails from this domain. Yet, the email still landed in the Junk Folder.

I have not performed any Mass Mailing, nor is the domain is not on any Blacklists. The domain has been active for about 18 months.

What could be causing the email to land in the Junk Folder? The email content contained no links and consisted of a paragraph of text with a Subject Text Box entry too.

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    View the full headers for the email in the Gmail account and see if there's an Authentication-Results header (might be worth adding it to your question if so). That will tell you if you SPF etc. records are being seen correctly by Google. But in general, I think it's pretty normal for emails sent from a fresh server to land in junk, otherwise spammers would just keep setting up new hosts. There are lots of transactional email providers around designed specifically to solve this problem. – Tim Fountain Apr 11 '18 at 20:07
  • Thanks for the pointer. I guess it makes sense for mail servers to 'start off' at zero so to speak. That said, emails have been sent to a fair few people for the past 6+ months. No unsolicited emails. Just enquiry responses. I have checked the email headers, in Gmail, and both DKIM and SPF are recognised with a 'Pass'. That said, there is no reference to DMARC, in the email hearders, when accessing the email via Gmail, though it is seen when accessing the email via Outlook. Wonder if this could be a potential issue. – Craig Apr 11 '18 at 21:06
  • @TimFountain "I think it's pretty normal for emails sent from a fresh server to land in junk" - "normal"?! Are you referring to "mass mailings from a fresh server"? (Although the OP states that no mass mailings have been sent.) – MrWhite Apr 11 '18 at 23:27
  • What is the content of the email being sent to junk? Or is it literally any email from this domain/server? – MrWhite Apr 11 '18 at 23:30
  • The server has been live for about 18 months. It currently has 2 domains with no mass mailing performed. The majority of emails have been internal between other 'same domain' emails. Of the external emails that have been sent out, many of stated that the emails have landed in their Junk Folder. As for their content, nothing more than a few paragraphs of text, usually in response from an initial query from the recipient. Some have included images at time. As far as contextual links go, these have been limited to no more than 3 in any given email. – Craig Apr 11 '18 at 23:34
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It's possible that your domain's IP address was once spamming emails. If your VPS provider used the same IP address for a previous client, this could be the case.

Also possible is that your domain was once owned by someone else who was spamming people with it, and because the domain didn't become popular that you don't see a history with domain ownership/backlinks.

If you sent any email at all to a GMail account from this domain in the past, and that user marked you as spam, GMail may have added all of your emails to the spam box.

Google has a complex process of determining what emails are spam and which ones aren't. Sometimes it does get it wrong.

But here are some rules of thumb to go by to avoid ending up in a spam box:

  1. GMail does not want to deliver mail that the users did not request. This involves 3rd party selling of email addresses.

  2. GMail wants to deliver mail that the user requested.

So it seems that you're off to the wrong foot with GMail. But perhaps this could be fixed. I would try having your users write you an email first. Perhaps you can add your email address to your contact page. Once GMail sees that it's users actually want to engage with you, it will start to realize that you are not spam.

  • Thank you for this comment. I guess there is some kind of 'Email Trust Score' then, generated from some kind of Algorithm; just like SERPs? How would Google 'see' that someone would want to engage with the domain? For example: A user placed their email in a contact form, on the website. They then received a reply but this reply landed in their Junk Folder. Is it a case of that while the domain is building up its 'trust score', recipients are going to have to go into their Junk Folder and confirm the email is not Junk? – Craig Apr 11 '18 at 17:38
  • I'm not sure exactly how the Algorithm works for GMail junk, but it's probably pretty intuitive as most of their other algorithms. Google wants to be pretty sure that the user requested this email. I would think that they would track email signups in Chrome, but it's quite possible that they aren't doing that. If enough users directly email email@example.com, this is a huge signal that email@example.com should be passing to the inbox. – Michael d Apr 11 '18 at 18:34
  • @Craig "Is it a case of that while the domain is building up its 'trust score', recipients are going to have to go into their Junk Folder and confirm the email is not Junk?" - No, that would be silly. There is no reason to categorise something as "Junk", just because it is "new". – MrWhite Apr 12 '18 at 0:01
  • @Michaeld ... Once GMail sees that it's users actually want to engage with you: How would an email service provider, such as Google, know that a user wants to engage? Is it a case of them sending an email or are Google able to recognise a 'Double Opt In'? In other words, when a user clicks through to a link, to confirm they wish to receive emails, is it the action of clicking the link that Gmail etc would recognise or is it the action on the 'Confirm' landing page? If the latter, how would an email service provider be able to track such actions? – Craig Jun 1 '18 at 14:47
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You can check you ip or domain and email reputation at this site

Talos (which used to be Senderbase)

and if the issue is related to missing or incorrect dns records you can get a dns report on your domain at this site

Colos

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