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What is the ‘sp’ attribute in a DMARC record? Do I need to set it?

The “sp” attribute is short for subdomain policy and is not currently a widely used attribute. It allows a domain to specify that a different DMARC record should be used for subdomains of the specified DNS domain. To keep things simple, we recommend that the ‘sp’ attribute be omitted on the organizational domain itself. This will lead to a fallback default policy that prevents spoofing on subdomains. It is important to remember that subdomain behavior is always determined by the overriding organizational policy. 

Subdomains inherit the parent domain's policy unless explicitly overruled by a subdomain policy record. The ‘sp’ attribute can override this inheritance. If a subdomain has an explicit DMARC record, this record will take precedence over the DMARC policy for the parent domain, even if the subdomain uses the default setting of p=none. For example, if a DMARC policy is defined for priority ‘all’, the ‘sp’ element will influence DMARC processing on subdomains not covered by any specific policy.

In case you are using our DMARC record generator tool for creating a DMARC record for your domain, you need to manually enable the subdomain policy button and define your desired policy, like shows below: 

After creating your DMARC record it is important to check the validity of your record using our DMARC record lookup tool to make sure that your record is error-free and valid. 

PowerDMARC is the author of this solution article.

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