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How do I modify the DNS records when a site is hosted on one IP and the mail is on a different IP?

Posted on 2009-05-13
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Last Modified: 2013-11-30
Here is my situation: I have been hosting the website and mail for a local car dealership. The manufacturer (GM) is forcing the dealerships to a common website platform hosted by a single company named Cobalt, but they only host the website, not the email. The dealership wants my company to continue hosting the mail with the same domain name as before. Cobalt's support will only communicate with the dealership in writing. I need to have the dealership tell Cobalt support specifically how to modify the DNS records so that the email  routes to my server. So, do I need to have the A record for Mail modified to point at my servers IP, or do I need to have the MX record modified to point at mail servers domain name? Or a combination of the two? I am fuzzy on how it should be done since there is both a Mail A record, and a Mail MX record? When do you use which, or both?
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Question by:danelson4406
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wolfcamel earned 100 total points
ID: 24374573
you should have an A record for mail.company.com and an MX record that points to mail.company.com

then you just need to change the A Ip address to point to your server.


You could have the MX point to the IP and it would appear to work, but this is badpractice and many mail servers wont send/receive with you if that is the case.
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by:Chris Dent
Chris Dent earned 100 total points
ID: 24374583

Normally you have this:

yourdomain.com.    IN MX  10   mail.yourdomain.com.

You might not see the "yourdomain.com." part in your view, it might be blank, or it might be @, both are valid.

The MX record must point to an A record so with that we would have:

mail.yourdomain.com.  IN A   1.2.3.4

The name used above, mail, is made up. It can be any legal name in DNS.

Keeping those separate from any names used for web pages keeps life nice and easy and neat.

If a domain doesn't have an MX Record a sending system will attempt to deliver mail to the IP address for the domain name. That looks like this:

yourdomain.com.   IN A   1.2.3.4
Or
@  IN A  1.2.3.4

This is a fall-back only, it will only ever be used if no MX Record exists.

Chris
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Expert Comment

by:wolfcamel
ID: 24374598
They should only need to cange the www record to point to them. I assume tht COBA:T is also managing the DNS as well
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Expert Comment

by:Chris Dent
ID: 24374633

I concur with wolfcamel, but wouldn't be surprised to see a change to the host record for "yourdomain.com" as a requirement as well. Neither will effect mail delivery if an MX record is present.

Chris
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Author Comment

by:danelson4406
ID: 24376171
To wolfcamel: Your assumption is correct. Cobalt is managing the DNS, and the domain name as well.
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Author Closing Comment

by:danelson4406
ID: 31580960
Thanks for the assistance. I submitted the suggested DNS changes through the local auto dealership (in writing) to the hosting company. Email started flowing properly.  
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