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Does SPF Qualifier matter if DMARC is implemented

Short answer: No, it does not matter.

Long answer:

Historically, the SPF authentication used to be the criteria to apply actions on the emails received. Several years later when the adoption of DMARC emerged, the SPF qualifier action was overridden by the DMARC policy.

However, this is dependent on whether the receiving mail server is validating DMARC on their inbound traffic, or ONLY authenticating the SPF, in which case the SPF qualifier action may apply to the emails that fail the SPF check:

  • If Neutral (?) qualifier is applied, your emails can be accepted in the inbox.
  • If SoftFail (~all) qualifier is applied, your emails can be accepted but marked as spam.
  • If HardFail qualifier (-all) is applied, your emails can be rejected or marked as spam.

 

 If the recipient MailServer is validating DMARC and applying it’s policy on their inbound traffic, then SPF SoftFail or HardFail qualifier will not have any impact on the action applied to your emails.

 

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