I have a client site currently on a Hostgator reseller account but I'd like to move the website hosting over to my Linode. The email accounts however should stay with Hostgator. DNS is also managed with Hostgator. In the " Simple DNS Zone Editor" of the Hostgator CPanel I have the option to add an A Record or a CName record.

In which of the two do I need to enter my Linode IP, and will their emails continue to function fine on Hostgator? Is this all I need to do?

2 Answers 2


In Hostgator's DNS zone editor, change the current A record for www.clientdomain.com and/or clientdomain.com to the Linode hostname or IP. As long as you don't modify the MX records, email will be unaffected.

  • Remember: If you're changing the DNS entry for clientdomain.com, make sure that you verify that you do have a correct MX entry pointing to your mail host. Otherwise you're going to break mail. Jul 26, 2010 at 22:41

While dysolution's answer should work, I recently ran into the same predicament as yourself and have found that the simple, obvious, and logical solution does not actually work.

HostGator's DNS has the MX record for a domain point back at a CNAME, mail.exmaple.com. mail.example.com is itself a CNAME to the A example.com (which points to HostGator's servers). First, changing the A record will break email, as nothing will be set up do handle it. The obvious solution of changing the CNAME mail.example.com and pointing it back to the original IP of the website (A example.com), doesn't actually work either. It appears they have some fancy stuff going on which makes it difficult to work outside their system.

If I find a solution to my problem, I'll be sure to post it here.

  • HostGator's default DNS sounds nasty. CNAMEs are prohibited in MX records, according to RFC974, RFC1034 3.6.2, RFC1912 2.4, and RFC2181 10.3 (as reported by DNSStuff.com). In this case one should delete the mail.domain.com CNAME record and re-create it as an A record which points to the appropriate HostGator IP address to resolve the issue. Aug 29, 2011 at 0:24
  • I opened my own question on the issue and was able to find a solution after a bit of work. Their default setup is definitely nasty.
    – Dakota
    Sep 1, 2011 at 3:42

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