DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance) is a tool that helps protect email domains from being used for spam or phishing. One of the key parts of DMARC is the feedback it provides to domain owners in the form of aggregate reports. But what happens when there’s an error in sending these reports? Here’s a simple explanation.

What Are Error Reports?

Sometimes, a mail receiver (like an email service) might not be able to send an aggregate report to the domain owner. When this happens, the receiver should create an error report.

The receiver tries to send this error report to all the email addresses (“mailto” URIs) listed in the domain’s DMARC policy. It can also try to send the report to other URIs listed in the policy.

What’s in an Error Report?

An error report is an email message that includes certain information. This information is presented as pairs of fields and values. Here’s what each field means:

  • Report-Date: When the error happened. This is given as a date and time.
  • Report-Domain: The domain that the failed report was about.
  • Report-ID: The ID of the failed report.
  • Report-Size: How big the failed report was, in bytes. If the receiver tried to send the report in different ways and the size was different each time, it should send a separate error report for each attempt.
  • Submitter: The domain of the receiver that tried to send the report.
  • Submitting-URI: The URIs that the receiver tried to send the report to, but couldn’t.

The error report might also include a part that’s easy for humans to read. This part could explain the error and provide a URI where the domain owner can get help.

Remember, this is a simplified explanation. In reality, creating and sending DMARC error reports involves a lot of complex processes and technologies. But hopefully, this gives you a basic understanding of how it works.

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