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Hosting Provider: How to provide backup MX record for all domains hosted?

Posted on 2006-11-17
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Last Modified: 2012-08-13
Hi.  We provide web/email hosting for our clients.  I would like to create some redundancy in as much as a backup SMTP server for when our mail server is offline.

We use a company called www.DNSMADEEASY.com for outgoing SMTP services and they also offer a backup mail server.  But as far as I can tell I would need to purchase one for each domain that I collect emails for.

Is it possible to create an MX record for each of our hosted domains, that is a CNAME record and maps to my MX record (for which I have the backup mail service?  Or have I missed something fundamental here?

I have other servers that I could utilise, how can I go about creating some redundancy on these servers so that mails are never bounced back to sender?

Thanks in advance.

TheFoot
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Question by:Barry Jones
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Sembee earned 1600 total points
ID: 17968803
You can have the same host listed in the MX records, but the host needs to know what domains it is responsible for.
Most email servers can do email relaying for a domain, so they will accept email for a domain and then attempt to send it to the "real" email server.

However if you are doing any kind of filtering on recipients (no one should be using a catch all) then this very effective way of conserving bandwidth will be lost unless you can get the other server to be able to use the same database of user accounts. What you may want to look at is whether your email package can support a gateway server configuration and have multiple gateways in to the email server farm. That is what someone like AOL does.

Simon.
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by:PsiCop
PsiCop earned 400 total points
ID: 17969725
Another consideration - SPAMmers will mercilessly pound on any Secondary MXs. You need to make sure your anti-SPAM/AV defenses are as solid on the backup MX as they are on the primary.
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by:Barry Jones
ID: 17975880
Thanks for your replies.

I guess from what you have said, the best option is to use clustered servers, and a central user database.  I know little about clustering servers, least of all when using co-hosted servers.  I will probably use either a secondary mail server installation and configure it to forward all emails when the primary server is back online.

My main concern really is that I didnt want to have to ask my clients to add a secondary MX record to their domain if I can help it.  I guess it is no big deal really, as if they want a reliable service then they will not mind doing that.

Thanks for your advice, I was really checking to make sure that I hadnt missed any options.

Cheers.  TheFoot
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