It’s becoming increasingly important (and widely recommended) to use subdomains on out going emails (such as those sent be ecommerce sites, etc.). In brief, this is to separate out transactional emails from marketing emails, etc. That way the reputation score of one email category doesn’t negatively impact the reputation score of another (such as marketing emails marked as spam not discrediting the reputation of transactional emails, etc.).
Does Cloudflare have any plans to add sub-domains to the email routing system?
I might either be a few steps behind or in front of you here, but does Cloudflare support outgoing mail at this time (if that is relevant)?
When someone recommends not having mixed MX records I’m assuming they mean having different sets of records pointing to different mail servers in the same (DNS) zone. Have you looked into DKIM, SPF and other ways to improve email? I’m slowly getting there, but know enough for my client’s needs when managing their outgoing mail.
Personally, and for my own websites I keep it simple by having some forward-facing aliases or a catch-all routed through Cloudflare and over to a free Google Workspace account (I was an early adopter, lucky me) which also has a catch-all set up which is means fast and filterable addresses for different purposes with easy cut-off points in case of spammy leakage. I make up addresses for each of my domains on the fly in case I ever want easy routing control, and route most of aliases and/or the catch all to an alias/catch-all at a historic domain I plan to keep for life.
That way I can use the enterprise functionality of Workspace (Gmail) to apply more granular control to my incoming and outgoing mail (following best practices), without worrying too much about any problems I’ve not yet suffered (is that naïve?). The deliverability seems good. I do worry a little about spam, however spam to a specific address is never much of an issue when I’m making up addresses on the fly, which are routing directly to another layer of aliases on an un-associated domain.
If I were looking to pump out some serious email volume through a subdomain (such as sales) I’d consider using a 3rd party service, perhaps a free one to begin with. If I wanted newsletters it could be a monkey themed service, or if I wanted a sales subdomain with more control over the email server with then a free business email service could do the trick. As at least one business email provider I use offers domain aliasing and subdomain stripping, I’m pretty sure that would work nicely in a corporate context where you want sales emails sent out from a specific mail server, following best practices and then for convenience routing replies to any of those aliases back through Cloudflare at the root domain level, or even using a subdomain in Cloudflare (which may require an Enterprise account - which would be unnecessary for my own needs). Subdomain stripping will allow you to have all emails to ‘sales’ have the ‘sales’ subdomain stripped out when routing the email back, which I think negates the need for an Enterprise account just for this purpose, unless of course there are other benefits (which there always are, as long as the benefit outweighs or justifies the cost I guess).
e.g. your.name @ website . com goes to your email account - replies you send will be from your client and associated email service/server (not through Cloudflare)
[email protected] sales . website .com goes to the business email service (mail server), which uses subdomain stripping and domain aliasing to send a copy of that email to your.name @ website .com so you get a copy.
john.smith @ website .com goes to John Smith’s mailbox. His replies go through his client (etc.)
john.smith @ sales . website .com would then also go to John Smith’s mailbox. John Smith might have the ability to send email as john.smith @ website .com and perhaps also as john.smith @ sales . website .com via a different platform with a different mail server, for example perhaps that is set up via a different service (such as a CRM or sales platform). In that platform you could configure the sending of emails from a subdomain, ensuring that the from address matches the domain or subdomain that you connect to the service (perhaps with DKIM enabled)
I went a bit deep on this reply, so I’m going to take a breather.
But to summarise or offer a TL;DR seen as you managed to keep your question brief:
You can accept email at a subdomain Cloudflare email on a subdomain
Then send and receive emails sent to the subdomain(s) from any mail servers of your choice, but as far as I know there are no plans for Cloudflare to host or process outgoing mail.
Aren’t we all?.. urrrmmm well… actually perhaps not
I did digress somewhat from the assumed OP goals of having emails from subdomains routed/handled. Do transactional emails for example need to have replies go to the same subdomain? If so, wouldn’t subdomain stripping on a mail server (like I mentioned in my unwieldy reply) work nicely for handling replies such as those from transactional systems?
So if I had a transactional email system, a sales system (or CRM) and maybe a support system for good measure all kicking out high volumes of emails, I to would want to accept replies (or feedback) from those systems (ie. if a large number of transactional emails were not able to be delivered). Surely with this as a use case (ie. better monitoring of isolated subdomain reputation) by setting up different categories of emails from different subdomains, then I’d probably not mind if the emails were ALL routed back to a single root domain in a free Cloudflare account using different aliases (and then forwarded back to subdomains if that is desirable. My idea would be to use a catch-all on the root domain, so that each subdomain handling outgoing emails could have it’s own unique alias which is then routed via the root in Cloudflare back various systems so as not to overload a single system with every email from every subdomain).
I know that in the past there was not much of a technical reason for using subdomains (ie. it didn’t necessarily offer any better deliverability in itself compared with using DKIM and SPF) but using subdomains or even entire domains became more popular for a number of reasons (such better reputation monitoring and maybe a couple of other reasons).
I’m nowhere near experienced enough with enterprise-level transactional email systems to fully know or understand, but I love working out wordy theoretical solutions to problems I don’t have (it seems).
I should clarify … I am not interested in using Cloudflare for outgoing email. I am simply referring to their email routing service, which is for forwarding incoming email. Currently it appears I can only set up forwarding addresses on top level domain (e.g. mydomain.com), and not on sub-domains (e.g. shop.mydomain.com). Which means users who make use of sub-domains in their email infrastructure won’t be able to use Cloudflare for the routing of emails coming in via those sub-domains.
Hence the reason for my question. Namely, does CF even plan to support sub-domains in their Email Routing service.
I only spotted one question “Does Cloudflare have any plans to add sub-domains to the email routing system?”
The answer to that one is: Not that I know of (besides the existing support that exists). Perhaps someone representing Cloudflare or with more knowledge will comment on their plans to add subdomains.
My approach here was simply trying to stimulate discussion around if and why you would need subdomains (or an enterprise account). I can’t comment for your use case for either of those options (ie. either going for an ENT plan or finding a way to keep a good email reputation whilst routing emails using the beta service with or without subdomains).
Are you worried that replies to transactional emails may affect a particular system, or perhaps will impact upon an end goal you have?