An MX (Mail eXchange) record is a DNS record pointing to the mail server that is responsible for handling email for a given domain. You can send emails without the MX record configured for your domain name, but you will not be able to receive emails without it.

You can use, for instance, MX Toolbox to look up your MX records to make sure they are set up correctly.

MX toolbox MX lookup

Note: due to the distributed nature of Internet the propagation of the changes may take up to 72 hours.

DNS record information such as MX records are stored on Name Servers. It is therefore important that your domain has proper Name Servers so that the Domain Name System can answer queries about the necessary domain name records.

The following syntax is commonly used by many DNS hosting providers for MX records:

  • Host: your domain name.
  • Priority/Preference: number. The lower the number, the higher the priority.
  • Destination/Mail Server/Points to: your mail server.

Examples:

Exchange 2010/2013/2016/2019:

Host Type Priority Mail Server
domain.com MX 5 west.smtp.mx.exchXXX.serverdata.net
domain.com MX 10 east.smtp.mx.exchXXX.serverdata.net

where XXX is your Exchange domain. You can find your Exchange domain at Home > Exchange Servers and Settings page of the HostPilotĀ® Control Panel.

EXCH480 domain:

Host Type Priority Mail Server
domain.com MX 5 west.smtp.mx.exch480.serverdata.net

EXCH500 domain:

Host Type Priority Mail Server
domain.com MX 5 site2.smtp.mx.exch500.serverdata.net

EXCH580 domain:

Host Type Priority Mail Server
domain.com MX 5 site1.smtp.mx.exch580.serverdata.net
domain.com MX 10 site2.smtp.mx.exch580.serverdata.net
domain.com MX 15 site3.smtp.mx.exch580.serverdata.net

The preference is used when more than one MX record is entered for any single domain name that is using more than one mail server. In this case, preference number indicates the order in which the mail servers should be used. This enables the use of primary and backup mail servers.

The 5, 10, and 15 is a way to set load sharing and priority between multiple mail servers for a domain. The lower preference number is the higher priority. Two MX records with the same priority will share the workload. The server with the higher preference number will be contacted only if the servers with lower preference number are unavailable (this is typically used for backup mail servers).

You might need to contact your DNS provider to set up the MX record for your domain name. Some DNS providers have their own control panels where you can log in and manage your DNS records.

You can find instructions on setting up MX records for common DNS providers below:

Note: If you host your DNS records with Intermedia the MX records are already set up for any domain name that is added in HostPilot. Read the Knowledge Base on How Do I Manage My DNS Records Hosted With Intermedia? for more information. You can check the records in HostPilot, in Domain Names:

Domain Names in Control Panel

Note for Exchange administrators: your DNS records can also be used to configure the Autodiscover feature, which will assist you in setting up Microsoft Outlook. Read the Knowledge Base article on What Is An Autodiscover Record And Why Do I Need It? for instructions on how to make the necessary DNS changes.