What is it?
The SPF Record is essentially a list of authorised servers who are permitted to send email on your behalf. The SPF record lives as a text file in your domain's DNS Zone, and can only be published by you.
When preparing your site for Go Live, your IT department will need to add Commerce Vision's IP address to your SPF record. Your CV Implementation Consultant will provide you with this address information.
Why do you need one?
The Sender Policy Framework is a tool in the fight against spam. Mail-receiving servers will check messages to ensure that the sender's name matches their IP address. If it doesn't, the message is marked as junk or caught in a spam filter.
The exceptions are messages sent from IP addresses or host names that are listed in the SPF record.
Your customer goes online and places an order with you. Our CSS web application sends them an Order Confirmation email, with a sender address of "email@example.com" (or similar).
The customer's incoming mail server sees that the message is coming from Commerce Vision's IP address, but looks like it's from you. So their server checks your domain's SPF record and determines that Commerce Vision has indeed been authorised to send this message on your behalf.
The message is successfully delivered to your customer.
Want to learn more?
Check out the official Sender Policy Framework project's site - http://www.openspf.org/Introduction.