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Recently i had to point my domain name to a network on Ning.com to map and merge the site with the domain, so i had to add an A and CNAME record. This disconnected the link between my domain and my web host and because of this my friends cant access their email anymore. Ning doesnt offer webmail either. And im not sure if i want to use Google Apps.

Is there a way i can retain the new domain pointer to the network on Ning.com and a pointer to my web host for the webmail? Or is there any other options i can take?

Thanks you so much :)

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2 Answers 2

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Yes. This is very commonplace. You need to use an MX record (Mail Exchanger) to indicate that you want your emails to go to a different location.

The rules for MX records are as follows:

  • They must point to an A Record
  • They must point to an A Record, not an IP Address
  • They must point to an A Record, not a CName

So if your mail server already has an A record, point it to that. Otherwise, create a new A record (generally mail) and point your MX to mail. Remember that if you're pointing your MX record to a domain that's outside the current zone, you need to put a . on the end of it.

E.g. if your domain is example.com and your mail server is mail.example.com then you can point your MX record to mail.

However, if your mail server is mail.otherdomain.com then you need to point your MX record to mail.otherdomain.com.

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Hi, thanks for your reply. My web host is lunarpages (shared hosting). Does this make a difference? I know when i log into my webmail with my other domains hosted on the account i have to go to opal.lunarbreeze.com:2083 - so can i use this as the A record? –  Jonathan Sep 3 '10 at 0:02
    
I don't know if I can answer that question for you, you'll need to contact your email provider to ask them what the MX should be. –  Mark Henderson Sep 3 '10 at 3:12

Use an MX record but NEVER EVER use a CNAME on a domain. It violates the structural basis of DNS. A CNAME, or Canonical Name, is like a synonym in DNS. And DNS is hierarchical.

So saying foo.com is a CNAME to bar.com will invalidate all hosts such as xyzzy.foo.com and all MX records in foo.com. It effectively replaces foo.com with bar.com.

This is what I was taught when I was working on DNS in the 90s, at least. The advise has served me well in the 12-13 years since I heard it.

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