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Serial Mails and SPF Entries

If you want to send a serial mail, SoSci Survey may warn you about a “SPF record” for the address of the sender. SPF stands for Sender Policy Framework and means that it has been defined which mail servers are allowed to send e-mails with your sender address.

For example, if you had the sender address Now, of course, the company behind does not want spammers or fraudsters to send e-mails with their sender address. Technically, such misuse is easily possible, which is why SPF records were invented. Assume that the company has the IP address and operates a mail server at this IP address. Then the administrator of could set an SPF record for the domain, according to which only this specific mail server is allowed to send e-mails whose sender address ends in …

If an employee of the marketing department of now uses SoSci Survey for a customer survey and (completely legitimately) sends a serial mail using SoSci Survey (with the sender address, it will be sent via the mail server of SoSci Survey by default. The SoSci mail server contacts the mail server responsible for the mail address of the email recipient (e.g. The receiving mail server checks whether an SPF entry exists for the sender and finds it. However, the SoSci mail server does not match this entry, accordingly the email is rejected as a supposed fraud attempt or the probability for a spam classification increases. As a rule, this is not conducive to return. There are different solutions here.

Generic Sender Address

The simplest solution is to send the serial mail not via your own mail address, but with a mail address from SoSci Survey (e.g.

  • As sender your name or your company´s name is still displayed in the serial mail, e.g. first name surname <> and
  • Your e-mail address will be displayed as the reply address in the serial mail (reply-to), so that replies to the e-mail will automatically go to your e-mail address and not to SoSci Survey.

You can select the generic e-mail address in the serial mail directly Send invitationsSerial mail → select the serial mail on the right (Edit serial mail) → Tab ContentSender.

Auswahl der Absenderadresse in Serienmails

Use SMTP server

SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) is often used as the protocol for sending e-mails. E-mail programs use this protocol to contact a mail server in order to send e-mails. SoSci Survey can also use SMTP to send serial mails via “external” mail servers.

Of course, no company wants spam and phising to be sent via its own mail server. This is why access to mail servers is protected. For example by username and password.

If you use a Freemailer (,,, …) or the mail server of a university, then you should not send serial mails with it. There are two reasons for that. First, there are almost always strict limits for sending mail. The university mail server maybe only allow 50 emails per day and user account. After all, the university does not want a stolen user account to be used to send spam on a large scale. Secondly, one should never enter one's own mail account in SoSci Survey, because the access data is stored unencrypted (see below).

Entering an SMTP server under Survey project in the Project settings in the Specials tab at SMTP server for serial mail dispatch is especially useful for companies. If your company has its own mail server, you can create a new user account there, which can send the required number of e-mails.

SMTP-Server für den Versand von Serienmails eintragen

Enter the SMTP server and the access data and test whether the dispatch works. If everything is correct and the mail server does not block SoSci Survey due to other filters (e.g. IP address), then “OK” is displayed below and you will receive a test mail to the e-mail address of your user account.

Warning: The password for the mail account is stored unencrypted and (to emphasize this again) displayed in plain text. It is therefore essential that you use a separate e-mail account, which is only used for serial mailings and can be deleted once the survey has been completed.

Warning: Notifications about invalid e-mail addresses (“Undelivered Mail Returned to Sender”) are not sent to the mail server of SoSci Survey, but to your mail server. Therefore SoSci Survey cannot mark the incorrect e-mail addresses in the List of Contacts as such.

Warning: Clarify the dispatch via a mail server with your IT department. Otherwise, a security mechanism might wonder about the large number of emails “from outside” and block the user account.

Tip: If you operate your own survey server, you can enter an SMTP server globally for all survey projects in the server settings in the tab serial mails.

Change SPF entry

Another option would be to adapt the SPF entry to your own domain. You could enter the mail server of SoSci Survey as the legitimate sender for your own mails. However, this option is usually not recommended:

  • The own IT department will not be enthusiastic if the SPF entry is to be changed.
  • In principle, there is a risk that other users of the survey server will send e-mails on behalf of your company. This risk is limited because SoSci Survey validates the email addresses of user accounts, but does not completely exclude them.

If you want to customize the SPF entries, please enable the following IP addresses for sending:

    • 2a02:2940:0:c007::98
    • 2a02:2940:0:c007::100
en/survey/mailing-spf.txt · Last modified: 07.09.2022 20:59 by admin
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