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DNS change / email delivery / MX and A records

Posted on 2010-11-30
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Last Modified: 2012-08-14
Let's say we've an organization named Test, with a domain test.org. The test.org domain is currently registered through Go Daddy but the DNS is not through Go Daddy, its handled by another vendor. I plan to switch the DNS to Go Daddy, but how can I do this so that email will be routed without their being any email downtime? In Go Daddy, once I set the DNS to be handled in Go Daddy, I can't set all the MX and A records until the DNS change takes effect, which seems like that would create a few hours(?) in which email won't be delivered. Thanks for your help.
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Question by:canalicomputers
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by:ggupta7
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by:Dave Howe
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add a new MX record pointing to the new mailserver, with a smaller number than the existing records. that should cause all mail to go to the new mailserver, while the dns is still hosted at the old location

then move dns; it doesn't matter which record a sending mailserver sees at that point, it will be sufficient to ensure the new server gets the mail.

the only key element is making sure the new mailserver will accept mail for your domain before you have moved dns.
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by:Dave Howe
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I should add - between adding the new MX record and moving dns, allow *at least* 48 hours. that will cause cached results at various sites/isps to expire and the new record to be acquired.
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by:canalicomputers
ID: 34238474
Thank you, but how do I addMX records in Go Daddy before moving DNS? Currently, it just says "not hosted here" and I dont think theres any way to add records. It seems like you have to move DNS before editing.
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by:Dave Howe
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no, you add records where the dns is hosted *now*, let the dust settle, then move dns.
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by:canalicomputers
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Ah ok, but once I make the move, how will Go Daddy know of the records in the old DNS location?
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Dave Howe earned 500 total points
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they won't have to.

provided you are pointing to the same mail server before and after the move, it doesn't matter if the records are an exact match or not - just that mail goes to the right place.

often if you are migrating to a new provider, they will ask for a "zone file" to import, so as to save setup time - you can make those quite easily, they are basically a txt file containing the dns records. Otherwise, you will usually have a time interval between when godaddy accepts the dns transfer, and when the TLD records are updated, as usually the TLDs (such as dot com or dot net) are only updated every 6 hours or so, and it takes noticably longer before isp caching servers even notice.  You can use that time to create (using the godaddy dns editing interface, whatever that is) the records you need in their new home.
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by:canalicomputers
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Thanks
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