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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 over a week ago

All Dotdigital accounts are automatically given a generic from address to send email from, which looks something like However, using this unbranded from address isn't recommended. It can degrade your online brand and trust, and could limit your open and subscription rates.

We recommend setting up a subdomain of your branded domain, such as, so we can then generate a custom from address (CFA) for you, making your email address look branded, friendlier and more familiar to your recipients.

A custom from address is made up of two parts:

  • the alias, which is the part before the @ sign (for example, events@...)

  • the domain/subdomain, which is the part after the @ sign (for example,

To create a CFA, you can either:

  • use or create your own subdomain and ask your domain provider to let you delegate it to Dotdigital, allowing us to implement it as your CFA.

  • purchase a domain/CFA from us.

⚠️ You must create a new email address to use only for your custom from address. It is not possible to use an existing email address.

Advantages of a branded domain

There are three simple reasons why it's important to brand your sending subdomain:

  • Better delivery rates.

  • Increased engagement from your recipients for better open rates.

  • Avoid any damaging effects to your company’s existing business email.

Our branded domain service offers four major benefits:

  1. Get more of your emails into inboxes.

    Dotdigital CFAs are fully configured for authentication, confirming to mailbox providers that you are who you say you are. This is essential for getting more of your emails delivered into inboxes.

  2. Build your online brand and trust to improve your open rates.
    Your recipients should see only your brand in the CFA - no mention of your ESP or webmail provider. Making sure your from address is fully branded helps increase open rates.

  3. Protect your company domain name and your transactional emails.

    Using a branded domain protects your company's transactional and business emails from being affected by block listing due to spam complaints. If your CFA's domain does accidentally get block listed, our Deliverability team step in and take the necessary steps to get the domain unblocked as soon as possible, using the excellent relationships we hold with mailbox providers.

  4. Our branded domain service represents great value.
    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 point your subdomain to us— one which is branded to your company domain name. 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, and why the industry standard is to use a separate domain name, 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. Rather than clicking unsubscribe, some users just mark your email as spam/junk. This, and other factors, can damage your sending reputation which can lead to you appearing on block-lists for companies like Spamhaus.

Our Deliverability team maintain excellent relationships with mailbox providers, so in the rare circumstance that someone does get blocked, they can step in and take the necessary steps to undo this.

In order to avoid your normal business email becoming blocked, regarded best practice is to send from separate domain names for your marketing email and your regular/transactional email.

2. Easy infrastructure changes

Dotdigital do, from time to time, make changes to our infrastructure, which means that the domain records need to be changed. This means that many domain records need to be updated at the same time.

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.

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 (for example,, 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, please contact your Customer Success representative.

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

⚠️While this is possible, we highly recommend not to 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—and images used in previous campaigns.

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.

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.

This is why it's not possible to allow one of our CFAs to be used in another platform.

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