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Branded domains: sending with a custom from address (CFA)
Branded domains: sending with a custom from address (CFA)

The from address of your campaign is the email address a recipient sees in their inbox when they receive your email.

Laura Russell avatar
Written by Laura Russell
Updated this week

Each Dotdigital account is automatically given a generic from address to use, which looks something like However, using this unbranded from address isn't recommended. Sending from a branded custom from address helps to build trust and maintain positive brand image.

To create a CFA, you can:

  • create and use your own subdomain (best results)

    • set up NS records so we can manage DNS on your behalf: NS delegation

    • manage DNS yourself: self-hosting

  • purchase a domain from us

  • purchase a domain from your chosen registrar and either NS delegate or self-host DNS.

Learn how to delegate your sending domain in Delegate a subdomain or lookalike domain to our servers.

If you need to manage DNS yourself, learn more about self-hosting in Verify your DNS records for a Self-hosted From address.

⚠️You must create a new subdomain or lookalike domain to use for your custom from address. It is not possible to use an existing subdomain.





The alias of an email address is anything that comes before the @ symbol. This is also known as the local-part.

Sender reputation is associated with the domain, which means that different aliases of the same domain all share sender reputation.


The domain component of an email address is everything that comes after the @ symbol.


A subdomain is a prefix to your website domain.

Only the owner of the domain can create a subdomain.

Lookalike domain

A lookalike domain is a domain that looks similar to your website domain but has no relationship with it.

If your website domain is then a lookalike domain could be

Using DNSSEC on your parent domain

If you’re already using DNSSEC on your parent domain for enhanced security, you must manage DNS yourself.

It’s not possible to successfully delegate your subdomain to Dotdigital with DNSSEC enabled on the parent domain.

Advantages of a branded domain

  1. Get more of your emails delivered.
    Our CFAs are fully configured for authentication, confirming to the mailbox providers (MBPs) that you are who you say you are. This is essential for getting your emails accepted for delivery.

  2. Build trust in your online brand to improve your inbox placement and open rates.
    Your recipients see only your brand in the CFA - no mention of Dotdigital. Making sure your from address is fully branded like this allows you to build your own sender reputation and can help increase your engagement rates.

  3. Protect your company domain name and your transactional emails.
    Using a branded subdomain protects your company's business emails from being affected by your marketing activities.

    If your CFA's subdomain does accidentally get blocklisted, our Deliverability team can work with you to identify the cause and help request delisting once you’ve implemented a solution.

  4. Our branded domain service represents great value, as we do all the work for you.
    For a small admin fee, we manage a subdomain for you (or purchase a sending domain if for any reason you are unable to use a subdomain), including DNS and SSL certificates. We also include custom tracking links in your emails. Then, we set up all the configuration and authentication required, so you don't need to.

Reasons you can’t use an existing company email address

1. Reputation risk

The primary reason the industry standard is to use a separate subdomain is reputation risk.

Regardless of how much care and attention you put into making your marketing emails relevant to your lists, there are likely to be some subscribers that decide they no longer want to receive them. Some will unsubscribe, but many users will just continue to not engage with emails and some may even mark your email as spam/junk.

Sending to unengaged contacts or having recipients mark your messages as spam, along with other factors, damage your sending reputation, which may lead to emails landing in the spam folder or even blocklistings with mailbox providers themselves or widely-used blocklists like Spamhaus.

In the rare circumstance that someone does get blocked, our Deliverability team can work with the sender to identify the cause and help request de-listing once a solution has been implemented.

In order to avoid your normal business email going to spam or becoming blocked, regarded best practice is to send from separate subdomain for your marketing email and your regular/transactional email. Major mailbox providers such as Gmail, Microsoft and Yahoo prefer marketing emails to be sent from a subdomain in order to help them to identify your mail streams.

2. Easy infrastructure changes

We do, from time to time, make changes to our infrastructure, which means that the sending domain/subdomain DNS records need to be changed.

As such, we require access to the records for all the domains we're sending on behalf of. This is easier when the domains are not also accessed by other agencies when used for normal business email or for websites.

For sending domains that are delegated to Dotdigital, we make all necessary DNS changes on your behalf so there’s no action you need to take.

For customers managing their own DNS, we provide you with 14 days notice of any planned changes so you have time to make the necessary changes and avoid interruption to your email sends.

3. Avoid delays to your normal business email

As well as a risk to the reputation of your normal business email, there can also be delays to the speed at which it's delivered if it gets queued with bulk email being sent from the same domain.

We recommend either generating a subdomain, for example,, or, failing that, purchasing a CFA from us, such as This protects your company’s normal day-to-day emails from any problems that could be associated with your email marketing.

Creating a branded domain also allows us to include custom tracking links within your emails, plus, set up all the configuration and authentication required for deliverability, so you don't need to involve your IT department in the set up.

If you already own an alternative domain or wish to set up a subdomain, contact your Customer Success representative.

Move a CFA that I use with my current ESP to Dotdigital

⚠️While this is possible, we highly recommend you do not do this.

Even with an excellent reputation, doing so has a negative impact on deliverability. When you change your ESP, you change the underlying infrastructure, so it’s entirely new for the mailbox providers.

Also, when you delegate the domain to us, your previous ESP won’t work anymore, because essential settings such as email authentication are now pointing to Dotdigital. This means a hard stop when migrating; there is no possibility to use both systems alongside each other.

You should be aware that this can also affect links, including unsubscribe links, meaning that you wouldn’t be able to honor unsubscribes from emails sent from your previous platform.

Can I use a Dotdigital CFA in another platform (for instance, to send transactional email)?

No, we don't support this. The domain used in our platform needs to be set up in an exclusive way. It's not possible to allow one of our CFAs to be used in another platform.

There are a few key technical reasons behind this:

  • We'd receive the bounces for another platform, whilst the other platform wouldn't get any.

  • Using the domain elsewhere causes problems with open and link click tracking.

  • Our automatic DNS monitoring assumes that there are no other DNS entries except ours.

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