Whitelabeling is the functionality that shows ISPs that SendGrid has your permission to send emails on your behalf. This permission is given by the act of pointing very specific DNS entries from your domain registrar to SendGrid. Once these DNS entries are entered and propagated, recipient email servers and services will read the headers on the emails you send and check the DNS records to verify the email was initiated at a trusted source. This drastically increases your ability to deliver email and allows you to begin building a sender reputation for your domain and your IP addresses.

SendGrid does not host domains. Do not attempt to transfer a domain to SendGrid. If you have already registered a domain, then you have a registrar, and it is often the hosting company where your website resides.

Any changes you make to DNS can immediately affect your client’s ability to reach your resources. We cannot take any responsibility for any changes you make to DNS, so please be very careful. If you have any questions, please contact our support team.

The Types of Whitelabeling

Domain Whitelabel

This type of whitelabel allows recipient email servers and services to verify the identity of the email sender back to the domain that the sender controls. This gives a layer of email authentication that helps in email deliverability. With only the domain whitelabel, you are still subject to the reputation of your IP address.

Email Links Whitelabel

When you put a link or an image into an email and have click or open tracking turned on, the click tracking links and the images will point to your domain. This shows the recipient email server that you are not trying to hide anything behind the links and that you control the content of your emails. Some bad actors will use 3rd party link shortening services to populate the domains they list in their email content and they do not include their own domain in those links. This practice is a red flag to spam filters.

IP Addresses Whitelabel

An IP whitelabel works in tandem with your domain whitelabel, but the real reputation for email is usually associated with the IP address since many domains can point to the same IP. It is always ideal to have both a domain and an IP whitelabel. You will need to have a dedicated IP address or purchase one through SendGrid Support in order to whitelabel your IP address. You can send email from multiple domains from each of your dedicated IPs. Remember that each domain will positively or negatively affect the other domains when you use the same IP for multiple domains.

Setting Up Whitelabels

You can set up your whitelabels from the overview page or from the individual whitelabel type pages in the UI. For the purposes of the User Guide, we cover each set up process in depth on the following pages:

How Does Whitelabeling Work?

Recipient Servers Check Your Email Headers

When your recipient’s servers receive emails, it’s their job to protect their users from unwanted mail. They assume all mail is guilty until proven innocent, so as the sender, it’s your responsibility to provide as much information about yourself as possible. The recipient server will check the email headers for sender identification information and originating server information. One of the most basic things that mail servers will check is the FROM address and whether it matches the domain of the sending server. If it doesn’t, on some email applications, your recipients will see something like “via sendgrid.net” in the header of the delivered email.

SendGrid Attaches Whitelabel Information In Email Headers

When you tell SendGrid to send emails on your behalf, whether manually or over the API, SendGrid will add headers to your emails about you and your email settings so that recipient servers know that we send your emails with your permission and on your behalf. If you don’t have a domain whitelabel set up, then your emails will show as being sent by sendgrid.net regardless of your FROM address.

Whitelabel Application Logic

Assigning whitelabels in email headers takes some care and consideration. SendGrid takes care of this process so that you don’t have to worry about it, but you should know how it works.

If SendGrid cannot match your email to a valid whitelabel, SendGrid.net will be used.

For any account, SendGrid will attach valid whitelabel information in the following order, starting at the top of the list and applying the whitelabel when the criteria are matched:
  1. Valid whitelabel that matches the domain in the FROM address.
  2. Valid default whitelabel.
If no valid whitelabels can be found, we will default to sendgrid.net. For subusers, SendGrid will attach valid whitelabel information in the following order, starting at the top of the list and applying the whitelabel when the criteria are matched:
  1. Valid whitelabel for this subuser that matches the domain in the FROM address.
  2. Valid default whitelabel for this subuser.
  3. Valid whitelabel assigned by the parent account to this subuser.
If no valid whitelabels can be found, we always default to sendgrid.net.