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Trouble understanding MX Records

Posted on 2010-08-19
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Last Modified: 2012-05-10
I'm having trouble understanding MX records. We have three domain names hosted by WhoIs (first mistake I think). Our DNS information points to the DNS servers at Network Solutions since that's where our website and email is hosted.

We're going to be switching to Arvixe hosting in the next week or two and also switching to using Exchange Server on our own server in-house to host email. Where will I edit the MX record to point to our static IP at our office? Is this some that is controlled by the domain name registrar or the hosting provider?
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Question by:HKComputer
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by:endital1097
endital1097 earned 167 total points
ID: 33477982
you need to update the DNS records on Network Solutions web site
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jeremycrussell earned 84 total points
ID: 33477983
You will work with the hosting provider on that.  Whomever owns/operates the DNS servers that your whois lookup record would show your domain is pointing at.
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by:endital1097
endital1097 earned 167 total points
ID: 33477985
you will also need to contact your ISP to have the PTR record for your external IP address updated with your mail server hostname
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by:ZombieAutopsy
ID: 33478025
It should look like this.

You have a A record of mail.domainname.com pointing to your External IP.
Then you create you MX record with your domain name pointing to the A record mail.domainname.com

mail.domainname.com A x.x.x.x
domainname.com MX mail.domainname.com
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by:HKComputer
ID: 33478032
Thanks for this info. The email I got from srsplus<@>whois.com was both confusing and cryptic.
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by:Hypercat (Deb)
Hypercat (Deb) earned 249 total points
ID: 33478034
You need to add/edit these records on the DNS server that hosts your public DNS zone.  From the info you've provided, it looks like that is Network Solutions.  So, you'd need to log on to your Network Solutions account and change the MX records there. You would need to add an A (Host) record with the public name and public static IP address at your office. Note that the public name DOES NOT have to be the same as the internal name of your server.  Most administrators use something like "mail.domain.com" or "mx.domain.com" but you can use anything you want. The only thing that is important is that the IP address you use is the same as the public IP address at your office. Then you would need to change the MX record (which is probably now pointing to a host name provided by Network Solutions) to point to the public name of your server.
You would also have to change the settings on your firewall/router at your office to open port 25 (SMTP) and forward that port to the internal (private) IP address of the server that will run Exchange.
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by:HKComputer
ID: 33478045
The PTR is basically a reverse DNS pointer, right? This helps us stay off spam blocking lists if I remember correctly.
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by:Hypercat (Deb)
Hypercat (Deb) earned 249 total points
ID: 33478082
Yes - as stated, that is provided by your ISP, not by your DNS hosting provider.
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by:endital1097
ID: 33478095
yes, ISP owns the IP address
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by:Hypercat (Deb)
Hypercat (Deb) earned 249 total points
ID: 33478099
Another helpful DNS record to prevent spammers from spoofing your email addresses is an SPF record. This is provided by your DNS hosting provider (Network Solutions), although I'm not 100% sure that they have this capability on-line.  If you're not familiar with SPF records, here's a website with lots of info and a tool to help you configure the SPF record for your domain:
http://www.openspf.org/
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by:endital1097
ID: 33478115
@hypercat - good call on the SPF
i'm pretty sure network solutions does have this ability, it is just a txt record
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by:HKComputer
ID: 33535883
Both my registrar and my hosting provider, Network Solutions, deny that they have any control over our DNS/MX records. I've done some research and my name servers are certainly Network Solution's name servers.

We'll be changing hosting providers in the next two days. This is one out of many problems that we've had with NS and they've denied pretty much every problem we've ever had.
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by:Hypercat (Deb)
ID: 33544385
Do you have the logon information for your Network Solutions account?  If so, you can manage your own DNS records from there, if Network Solutions does, in fact, host your public DNS zone.
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by:HKComputer
ID: 33544487
Yeah, yeah, yeah. I got one of their reps on the phone and he told me how to do it. I also followed the instructions on their website. However, whenever I click on the link to manage our domains, it merely reloads the control panel and leaves me sitting on the main page on our account. We are not able to get into the Domain Control Panel at all (I'm using Firefox 3.6.x by the way). After the customer service rep heard that he told me that I my DNS information couldn't be changed by Network Solutions personnel or by me in our Account Control Panel.

A whois reveals that our name servers are most certainly Network Solutions' name servers.
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Expert Comment

by:Hypercat (Deb)
ID: 33544523
Sounds like a load of BS to me...I hope you don't have any problems moving your account. I have had a number of accounts registered through Network Solutions and haven't had any problems, but I have heard of others who've had difficulties like yours.
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Author Comment

by:HKComputer
ID: 33569516
OK, we've officially switched our hosting (and name servers) to Arvixe. I'll sleep better at night knowing that we aren't depending on Network Solutions anymore.

I'll close this question and dish out the points. Thanks for all the help.
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