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Using a Custom From Address

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About Using a Custom “From” Address

The email address you use to send email messages from Qualtrics has a large effect on your email deliverability and open rates. By default, emails sent through Qualtrics come from the noreply@qemailserver.com email address. If this does not work for your studies, you can change the address in three ways:

  1. Use any of the Qualtrics “From” addresses.
  2. Set up a Custom FROM domain right inside the Qualtrics Admin page.
  3. Set up a SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) Relay.

Qualtrics From Addresses

Qualtrics owns a set of email domains (relevant domains listed below). We can send email messages from any of these domains and maintain high email deliverability. If we were to send email messages from an email domain that we do not own, email providers like Gmail and Yahoo will mark the emails as potentially fraudulent and the emails would likely end up in an individual’s junk or spam folder.

Any of the following email domains can be used to send out a survey without extra setup. Simply add your own custom local-part (the text before the @ symbol) to the domain and change the “From:” field in your email editor to your new email address.

Example: mycompany@qualtrics-research.com is a valid email address.

Default Email Domains

  • @qemailserver.com
  • @qualtrics-survey.com
  • @qualtrics-research.com

Configuring a Custom FROM Domain

With the help of their IT team, brand administrators can configure a custom FROM domain, allowing members of the brand to distribute emails using their organization’s email domain.

Custom FROM domains are set at the level of the entire brand. They cannot be restricted from user to user.

Qtip: You can specify subdomains if you do not want to use an entire domain. For example, Qualtrics University’s Computer Science Department may want to use just compsci.quni.edu, but not the entirety of quni.edu. Adding a subdomain will not give you the ability to distribute with the entire domain – e.g., a DKIM for compsci.quni.edu will not allow you to also use quni.edu.
Attention: Adding a custom FROM domain will allow any user within your organization to distribute emails from any email from that domain. Qualtrics does not recommend adding main company domains (e.g. mycompany.com), and instead suggests registering a subdomain (e.g. surveys.mycompany.com or research.mycompany.com).

ADDING A CUSTOM FROM DOMAIN

A brand administrator will need to complete the steps that take place in the Qualtrics Admin page. When Qualtrics generates DNS information in Step 7, the brand administrator must then share that information with their organization’s IT team, who will configure the MX record and / or TXT with the DNS information they were given.

How your IT team goes about setting up these records will vary based on your organization. However, once in the organization’s mail settings, IT experts (often called “domain administrators”) should look for keywords like “DNS” or “domains.” They then will see the option to create records that are “MX” or “TXT” type.

Attention: Qualtrics generates a unique Custom DKIM key each time the brand administrator configures a domain in the tool. Even if the domain MX record has been configured previously, your organization’s IT team will need to configure the DNS record with the DKIM key to complete the setup. This workflow protects your domains so only your organization can use them with Qualtrics distributions.

To achieve high deliverability and open rates, Qualtrics emails meet all email-authentication standards. One of them, Sender Policy Framework, or SPF, verifies whether Qualtrics IPs are authorized to send emails from the given address. This address is known as Return-Path, Envelope-Sender, and Mail-From. To make all emails compliant with SPF, bounces@bounces.qemailserver.com address is used as Envelope-Sender.

Qtip: If your setup requires using a custom domain as Envelope-Sender, please include Qualtrics IP addresses to your SPF record by adding “include:_spf.qemailserver.com”. If the domain has Qualtrics IP addresses in its SPF, the FROM address is used as Envelope-Sender.
Attention: Using bounces@bounces.qemailserver.com as Envelope-Sender allows Qualtrics to collect asynchronous bounces, making the deliverability statistics of your distributions comprehensive.
  1. Go to the Admin page.
    Adding a custom domain in the Email tab of the organization settings
  2. Go to the Organization Settings tab.
  3. Navigate to the Email section.
  4. Click Add domain.
  5. Enter the Domain you wish to use.
    setting up a custom domain but adding the domain, selector, and choosing a key size
  6. Choose the Selector for your key. Usually this is “qualtrics,” but can be any value you set.
  7. Choose the Key size which determines how long the key is. You may choose 1024 or 2048 bits depending on your security requirements.
  8. Click Add.
  9. The window will display the MX/DKIM records. Copy the DNS configuration displayed in the pop-up; make sure you copy the information included in the Domain, Type, and Value columns.
    copying the DNS record information

    Qtip: To configure your domain correctly, the domain must contain a top-level domain (e.g., the “.com”, “.org”, etc. at the end of “qualtrics.com”).
    Qtip: You may see only one field when you complete this step. For example, if you only see the TXT information, chances are your MX record is already correctly set up.
  10. Send your IT team the DNS information copied in Step 7.
  11. This IT team needs to set up public TXT records with the DKIM information on the website of your domain provider.
    Qtip: For TXT records, some domain providers require to wrap the content with quotes. For example, v=DKIM1; k=rsa; p=MIGf should be entered as “v=DKIM1; k=rsa; p=MIGf”.
  12. Your IT team also needs to make sure they’ve created an MX record in the DNS.
    Qtip: If you already have an MX record, you don’t need to worry about this step. You can validate your MX configuration using the MX Toolbox. You will also see the domain is marked Verified under MX if this record exists and is valid.
    reviewing a custom domain in Qualtrics. the MX column is used to find if the MX is verified
  13. Click Activate.
    Qtip: It may take up to 24 hours until the records are visible for Qualtrics, due to the DNS propagation delay.

ERROR MESSAGES

Below are some common error messages you may get during this set up, and what to do to correct the issue. Keep in mind that it may take up to 24 hours until the records are visible for Qualtrics, due to the DNS propagation delay.

  • No valid MX record present in DNS resource: The MX has not been configured properly.
    Qtip: Qualtrics does not require any specific MX record. It just verifies that an MX record is set for the domain. You can validate your MX configuration using the MX Toolbox.
  • Unable to retrieve the domain key from the DNS resource record: The DNS record is not configured properly. For example, you may have set it up for the wrong subdomain.
  • Failed to validate the DNS resource record for the DKIM key: The DNS record has been found, but it doesn’t match the private key in our platform. A different DNS entry might be used, or there may have been a mistake when copying and pasting the value. The domain name and value can be found on the Activate popup. Make sure this is a TXT record. (See Step 7 above.)

Specifying a Default FROM Address

Once you’ve configured your custom FROM domain, you can request a default FROM address be added to your brand by contacting Qualtrics Support. The default FROM address will be pre-populated in all mailings for all users on your brand. The default FROM address will also be used to send collaboration emails and email triggers, as well as to receive any bounceback messages.

Attention: For EmployeeXM projects, the default EmployeeXM FROM address will automatically be applied to email messages.

Setting Up an SMTP Relay

SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) is a protocol that allows you to transfer all Qualtrics emails to your own email server first and then send the email to your recipients from your server automatically (and using your own email domains).

Attention: Only clients who have a branded license can set up an SMTP relay with Qualtrics. Check with your Qualtrics Account Executive to see if your license qualifies. Be aware that the brand administrator for a license is the only individual who can request an SMTP relay set up for your license.

Setting up an SMTP connection

To connect to your mail server through SMTP, your brand administrator will need to collect the below information and then contact Qualtrics Support.  Before reaching out, please make sure the following information is readily available to provide to Qualtrics:

  • IP Address or Domain (Required)
  • Server Port (Required)
  • Username (Usually required, depending on your server configuration. For security purposes we recommend having a separate username and password specifically for Qualtrics access.)
  • Password (Usually required, depending on your server configuration.)

In addition, you can provide an optional detail:

  • What default “From” address should be used on outgoing emails. By default, emails will come through from whatever address is used to set up the mailing in Qualtrics. The “From” address will also be used to send collaboration emails and email triggers, as well as to receive any bounceback messages.

Other Considerations

While not required, we strongly recommend allowlisting the Qualtrics’ IP ranges in order to mitigate any additional deliverability issues.

The SMTP server must be a high volume email server capable of:

  • Handling multiple simultaneous connections from Qualtrics
  • Sending multiple emails per second (a <150ms response time is desirable)
  • Responding to our requests

If you have any questions about whether your server meets these specifications, reach out to your organization’s IT department.

Valid Email Domains

Valid email domains are used to determine what email addresses people can use when signing up for Qualtrics under your brand.

Qtip: This affects brands with self-enrollment, where users can sign up through a URL as well as brands with SSO. It does not affect accounts where users request accounts from administrators.

Valid email domains are set at the level of the entire brand. They cannot be restricted from user to user.

A brand administrator can add valid email domains by contacting Qualtrics Support.

Subdomains

You can specify subdomains if you do not want to use an entire domain. For example, Qualtrics University’s Computer Science Department may want to use just compsci.quni.edu, but not the entirety of quni.edu.

Setting Brandwide Default Options for “From” and Reply-To Email Addresses

If you are a Brand Administrator, you can set the “from” or reply-to email addresses that will appear as options in distributions sent out from your brand. You can specify:

  • Different options for Global, CustomerXM, and / or EmployeeXM distributions.
    Example: Both your Customer Satisfaction team and Human Resources department work out of Qualtrics in different types of projects. They want different email addresses connected to their distributions.
  • Different options for “From” and “Reply-To” Email Addresses for each of these categories.

To get these default options modified, log into your Support Portal to reach out to Qualtrics Support.

Attention: If you are using custom email addresses, rather than Qualtrics defaults, you must follow the directions on this support page to establish those custom domains using DKIM or an SMTP relay.

These default options are brand-wide. That means they can be used as the “from” / reply-to for all accounts in the brand that send distributions. Even when you provide default options, users can still change the “from” / reply-to email addresses in their distributions to any valid domains set for the brand.

Using Default Emails

Once you have contacted support and had the desired email addresses set, users in your brand will be able to select from the list of defaults when they send a distribution. There will be a dropdown with these options next to the “From” and “Reply-To” fields.

All defaults set for the brand will be listed, and users can choose accordingly. For example, if you set a global, EX, and CX default, all three would appear in the dropdown to all users in the brand. Users can select which one applies to them.

Email distribution window open. Dropdown arrow next to From address and Reply to address. We see a email address provided

What emails are affected by these settings?

Any email distribution with a dropdown arrow next to the “From” or “Reply-To” field can choose from the defaults set for the brand.

Key Terms

As you read through this page, you’ll come across several technical terms. This section is meant to help clarify what each of these settings are called and some other common names for them.

Warning: Qualtrics Support cannot set up these features for your organization. You must reach out to a member of your organization’s IT team to get these settings modified on your domain provider’s website.
  • DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM): DKIM uses public-key cryptography to authenticate the message, send it, and verify that the message content hasn’t been altered. Think of this as an electronic wax seal on your email.
  • Domain Name System (DNS): A DNS record indicates that your domain exists. There are many kinds of DNS records, including MX and TXT.
  • Mail Exchanger (MX): A type of DNS record that lets recipients know that a domain can receive mail. See more about MX records on the Avoid Being Marked as Spam support page.
  • Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP): An SMTP relay sends all Qualtrics mail to your server first, and then sends emails out from your server to your chosen participants.
  • Sender Policy Framework (SPF): A means of authorizing emails. An SPF record can be used to configure your custom domain to be the Envelope-Sender on your emails.
  • TXT Record: A type of DNS record that allows you to establish a public record validating your domain’s right to deliver mail in a certain way. TXT records can include a lot of different information, including DKIM and SPF.
  • Allowlist: You can allowlist email addresses or IP ranges. Allowlisting allows you to tell your email provider that you trust mail coming from these sources, and can greatly improve your email deliverability. See Allowlist Qualtrics Servers to learn how to allowlist us.

TLS Encryption

Qtip: While this information is most relevant to users with an SMTP relay set up, all emails sent from Qualtrics servers use STARTTLS encryption.

TLS stands for Transport Layer Security, and is the act of encrypting messages being passed between servers so that third parties cannot “eavesdrop” on the messages traveling back and forth. TLS ensures your information is secure and only the intended server (e.g., the email address contacted) will receive those messages.

Qualtrics uses STARTTLS, or opportunistic TLS encryption. This means that if the receiving server supports encryption via TLS, we will encrypt a message when we send it. If the receiving server does not support TLS encryption, we will still send without encryption. Check with your IT team to make sure your settings are up to date, as both servers having TLS encryption increases security.

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