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I noticed that my mail accounts for a particular domain were not receiving any emails. I decided to investigate this.

I have an MX record setup on Digital Ocean, where my name servers are pointing.

MX  
mail.pandaist.com   mail handled by 161.35.50.69.

This is handled by my mail server, which works for all of my other domains.

However when testing my mail on mail-tester.com, I get the following:

We didn't find a mail server (MX Record) behind your domain name pandaist.com.

And under that I see:

You may want to publish a DNS record (MX type) for the domain name pandaist.com or use a different bounce email address.

What exactly is causing my MX record to not be seen? I set it up at least a few months ago, so it absolutely should be propagated at this point.

I did just change my SPF record per mail-tester.com's instructions - could that be related to it?

Or maybe I need to forward mail.pandaist.com to just pandaist.com with no subdomain, as that's the (sub?) domain that's being used for the emails?

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You do not have any MX record for the root domain "pandaist.com": you only have one for the server "mail.pandaist.com". Depending on your DNS host, the syntax for adding an MX record for the root domain might defer, usually it might look like: @.pandaist.com

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