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What is a PTR record? Do I need one?

One of the questions I get asked during email migrations is “What is a PTR record? Do I need one?”

You may be wondering about messages in your own inbox…

Who’s really sending that email?

A PTR (or Pointer) record is a security tool. Essentially, when you receive an email, your mail server uses the PTR record that comes in with the email message to check that the mail server sending the email matches the IP address that it claims to be using.  This is also known as “reverse DNS lookup.”

That sounds complicated, but what it comes down to is that a PTR record acts like an ID card for your mail server. It tells everyone receiving email from you that you are who you claim to be. That way, email receivers know that your IP address hasn’t been taken over by spammers. You need a PTR record because many mail servers will reject email that comes from a mail server without one. After all, the goal is to keep the spam out of your inbox.

How Intermedia works with PTR records

The IP addresses of all of Intermedia’s mail servers already have PTR records created, so the IP can be checked against the server’s name. So you don’t need to worry about having to get one. (PTR records come from whoever “owns” the IP address you are using — usually your ISP).

The second part of this system is the SPF (or Sender Policy Framework) record. This is code that we help you add to your DNS record to tell your email recipients that Intermedia’s Hosted Exchange is authorized to send your mail.

In cases where you may be using Intermedia’s Exchange and another mail server (for example, if you were using a Linux mail server that sends out to a mailing list based in Intermedia’s Virtual Cloud Server environment) you would need to create a PTR record for that server because it’s outside of Intermedia’s Exchange environment.

Get more details about PTR records

To learn more, take a look at our illustrated KB articles about PTR and SPF records:

And of course, if you have any questions, we are here for you 24/7. Give us a call at 800-379-7729, and we’ll answer your call quickly and provide the information you seek.

About Phillip Lewis

Phillip Lewis works on the Onboarding team. He spends his time transporting client data to Intermedia’s systems. His background is in British digital technology and its culture. In his spare time he likes to paint model airplanes.