1

Currently, our ISP is also our hosting provider.

Our MX record points to mail.example.com. when our website is at example.com pinging mail.example.com gives the static IP we get from our ISP. The secondary MX record points to our ISP. Pinging example.com goes to some server at our hosting provider.

If we keep our ISP as ISP, but switch to a different hosting provider, should this give any trouble? What do I need to do with the MX record? Can I keep it as is? In other words, when downgrading the ISP+Hosting provider to ISP only, can the MX record remain there? Or will the MX record move to our new hosting provider and do we need to talk to them to function as secondary MX record?

2

Firstly, if your website and email are at all important to your business, I would highly recommend you get someone in to look over your setup and document it for you. If you're moving your website to a different machine, you should really understand what your current setup is.

In your question, there are a few different elements that need to be considered:

Domain Name / DNS

Technically these are two separate things, but I'm going to assume you just have a control panel on a web page that lets you change your domain settings including A and MX records. The A record for example.com points to your website and the MX record points to your mail server.

The Domain Name settings might be associated with your ISP, or they might be with a completely different company.

Web Server

This is currently hosted with your ISP.

The A record has the IP address for the machine at the ISP that hosts your website. When you move your website to a new host, you will change your A record to point to the IP address for this new host.

You might also have a CNAME record for www.example.com that points to the A record. You can leave the CNAME as it is.

Mail Server

This is pointed to by your MX record. Since it points to your own IP address, I'm guessing you run a mail server on your local network and mail is being delivered there. If that is the case, this should be left as it is.

Finally

Again, I would recommend spending some money to get someone to spend a couple of days looking over your network and documenting it for you. It shouldn't be too expensive and will be well worth it in the long term, especially if it prevents your losing your website or access to email for any length of time.

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  • I would add some info about Registrar and it's roles/overlap commonly DNS but often other things too (301 redirects, email, spam, etc) – Jacob Evans Oct 22 '15 at 13:20
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MX records point the mail servers responsible for your domain. You can have several MX records in your DNS configuration, optionally setting a preference (lower values indicate a server that should be primarily used).

Usually, when you hire a hosting company, the MX records point to that hosting company's mail servers that are responsible for your domain, and when you migrate from a hosting to another, you're gonna have to use another mail server as well, unless, of course, that you with to maintain both hosting services, so you can use web hosting from company B - the new one - and the mail hosting from company A - the old one.

But if you wish to fully migrate, you're gonna have to use the MX records from your new company (of course, I'm presuming that the new hosting service contemplates mail servers too).

Hope this helps!

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