Trouble understanding MX Records

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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HKComputerAsked:
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jeremycrussellConnect With a Mentor Commented:
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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endital1097Connect With a Mentor Commented:
you need to update the DNS records on Network Solutions web site
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endital1097Connect With a Mentor Commented:
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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ZombieAutopsyCommented:
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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HKComputerAuthor Commented:
Thanks for this info. The email I got from srsplus<@>whois.com was both confusing and cryptic.
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Hypercat (Deb)Connect With a Mentor Commented:
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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HKComputerAuthor Commented:
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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Hypercat (Deb)Connect With a Mentor Commented:
Yes - as stated, that is provided by your ISP, not by your DNS hosting provider.
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endital1097Commented:
yes, ISP owns the IP address
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Hypercat (Deb)Connect With a Mentor Commented:
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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endital1097Commented:
@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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HKComputerAuthor Commented:
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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Hypercat (Deb)Commented:
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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HKComputerAuthor Commented:
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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Hypercat (Deb)Commented:
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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HKComputerAuthor Commented:
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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