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How to host web site / email on 2 different servers

Posted on 2008-10-24
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Last Modified: 2012-05-05
I've recently started renting a dedicated server, and have a client who we have developed a new web site for.

The new site will be hosted on our dedicated server, but the client wishes to maintain control of their email because they have a dedicated email server within their premises.  The smtp functionality in IIS hasn't been activated because so far its not been needed.

Can anyone explain how I create this configuration??  My server control panel lets me create MX records etc for domains, but it says an MX record cannot be an IP address, which is how I thought it would work.  How is this usually done when a dedicated email server exists?  I've never done this so don't know.  Am I correct in thinking that ALL email for this domain would come through my server then redirect to their email server?

Please note that they do not have a seperate subdomain for email; all emails go to user@theirdomain.co.uk
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Question by:Rouchie
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by:Frosty555
ID: 22797283
If you want to use MX records, your dedicated email server will need to have it's own domain name. That way the MX record for theirdomain.co.uk can forward to theiremaildomain.co.uk.

Alternatively, your DNS that controls theirdomain.co.uk needs to be configured so that it forwards port 25/110/143 for smtp/pop/imap to one place (the email server's IP), and other ports to your web server's IP. Not sure if that kind of functionality is available to you. It depends on your DNS provider.
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edster9999 earned 400 total points
ID: 22797304
You have two servers.  One in your location (or host area) and one in the costomers.

You need to give them DNS names and assign these in the DNS server to the IP addresses so lets call them

www.example.com
and
mail.example.com

set them up with the correct IP addresses

www.example.com = 80.10.10.10
mail.example.com = 90.34.34.34

Now add a mx record to point to mail.example.com

Now incoming web requests will go to the web server and incoming mail goes to the other server with the customer.

Job done.
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by:Frosty555
Frosty555 earned 100 total points
ID: 22797317
Using an IP address for the MX record is doable, but typically not allowed. That's the case for you.

According to wikipedia:

"The host name contained in an MX record must have an address, i.e. an A or AAAA DNS record."

...

"It is also impermissible to use an IP address directly in an MX record[2]; while some mailservers will send mail to domains with IP-based MX records, many (most notably Exim) will refuse to do so."
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by:Rouchie
ID: 22797715
Hi everyone

Thanks for your rapid responses.  Its a bit of learning exercise for me so sorry for my ignorance...!


>> Using an IP address for the MX record is doable, but typically not allowed. That's the case for you.

Yes I defintely can't do this according to my host.


>> Now add a mx record to point to mail.example.com

So this seems to get around the problem above....  
Am I correct in thinking that if I do this, then email must be addressed to  someuser@mail.theirdomain.co.uk , with the subdomain in the email address?  


>> Alternatively, your DNS that controls theirdomain.co.uk needs to be configured
>> so that it forwards port 25/110/143 for smtp/pop/imap to one place

I can't see any options for port forwarding, so presume this isn't possible.
Alternatively, there is an option that says "Create a New SPF Record".  This contains tons of options that I've attached to a text file.  Does this look like it might be useful in this situation??


Currently my client manages their DNS settings, so I thought it might just be easier for them to set up forwarding of WWW.theirdomain requests to my server's IP address, so that all the other stuff is dealt on their server.  I still need to understand what's happening though in case their IT people want help with the configuration.
SPF.txt
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by:edster9999
edster9999 earned 400 total points
ID: 22797793
No - you are setting up an mx record on the domain example.com and telling it where to deliver mail (mail.example.com)

so if I email fred.blogs@example.com it will be dropped off at that server
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Expert Comment

by:edster9999
ID: 22797817
You *really* do not want to go with port forwarding.  This is a method used when people are playing with systems on their home dsl not for companies.

SPF = a file to cut down on spam.  If people check it when they receive mail from this host then it tells them where the mail can come from.  You would list the IP addresses of offices and home locations.
If the ip looks right it would be accepted.  If it comes from a little ISP in Russia it would be rejected.

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Author Comment

by:Rouchie
ID: 22797968
Thank you both for your excellent responses.  

I'm going to close this question now and I'll reopen another if I get any more queries directed my way.

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