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How to Change your MX Records to use Arrowmail Services


What are MX Records?

MX records are a specific type of DNS record, stored on 1000s of DNS servers around the Internet, which form the mechanism for getting emails delivered to the right place.

When a mail-server has an email to deliver to jsmith@mycompany.com it asks its nearest DNS server for the name of the computers responsible for accepting email for addresses at mycompany.com and it does this by requesting the MX records for that domain.

The MX Record Priority System

There can be multiple MX records for an email domain, and each MX record has a priority, which is a number between 0 and 99.
0 is the highest priority and 99 is the lowest.
Where there are multiple MX records, the server with the highest priority is tried first and, if this server doesn't respond, the next highest priority server is tried, and so on.
The MX priority system enables an automatic backup/fail-over system to be setup for an email system.

How to Change your MX Records

In order to use some of Arrowmail's services you have to make changes to your MX records.
This is normally done using a Control Panel on the website of your
Domain Registrar, who are the people you pay money to in order to keep using your Internet domain name.
When you have changed your MX records, the changes don't take effect immediately as the old records will have been cached by DNS servers on the Internet and so it will take a few hours, possibly up to 24 hours, for the cache entries to expire and be replaced by the new values.

When changing MX records, to switch between one email system and another, it's therefore best to have both systems operating simultaneously so there's no disruption to your incoming emails while the changes are propagated throughout the Internet.


How can I find out my current MX Records?

Here's how to find out:-
Open a Command Prompt window on your PC by clicking:-
Start - Run
Type CMD and then click OK

Then type the following commands (each one followed by pressing Enter):-
nslookup
set type=mx
mycompany.com
(substitute your real domain for this)

and you should see your MX records:-


Command Prompt window showing the MX records a company with a single mail-server

Press Ctrl+C to break out of the NSLookup command, then type exit to close the window.



What Changes do you need to make to use Arrowmail's Services?

For our Ring Fence and Hosted Mailbox services it's necessary to delete any existing MX records and add 3 MX records for the Arrowmail servers:-


 
Command Prompt window showing the MX records when using only Arrowmail servers


If you are just using our Lost Email Protection service then you keep your existing MX records and add the 3 Arrowmail MX records as additional lower priority entries:-


 
Command Prompt window showing the MX records when using the Arrowmail servers as a backup

In the above example the actual MX priority numbers don't matter as long as the priority for your company's mail-server is higher (lower number) than the priority for the Arrowmail mail-servers.

We recommend having the same priority number for all 3 of the Arrowmail servers as this helps distribute the load between all our servers.



My Domain Registrar limits the number of MX records I can create

In this case you can just add a single MX record for the Arrowmail servers and we'll use our own DNS system to load balance and fail-over between them.
You can use the Arrowmail servers by adding the following, single MX record:-


 
Use this MX record if your Domain Registrar limits the number of MX records you can create

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