An MX record, or Mail Exchanger record, is a DNS record pointing to the 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.

It is important that you have working Name Servers so that they can answer queries about necessary domain name records:

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

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

Examples:

For accounts with Advanced Email Security:

Host Type Priority Mail Server
domain.com MX 10 west.smtp.exchXXX.serverdata.net
domain.com MX 20 east.smtp.exchXXX.serverdata.net
Host Type Priority Mail Server
domain.com MX 5 smtpXX.msoutlookonline.net
domain.com MX 10 smtpXXa.msoutlookonline.net

For accounts with Email Security v2:

Exchange 2010/2013:

Host Type Priority Mail Server
domain.com MX 10 west.smtp.mx.exchXXX.serverdata.net
domain.com MX 20 east.smtp.mx.exchXXX.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

Exchange 2007:

Host Type Priority Mail Server
domain.com MX 10 smtp.mx.exchXX.msoutlookonline.net
domain.com MX 20 smtp.mx.exchXXa.msoutlookonline.net

where XXX is your Exchange domain. Yon can look it up on Home > Exchange Servers and Settings page of the HostPilotĀ® Control Panel.

For accounts with McAfee Email Protection:

Host Type Priority Mail Server
domain.com MX 10 mx1.smtp.exchXXX.serverdata.net
domain.com MX 10 mx2.smtp.exchXXX.serverdata.net
Host Type Priority Mail Server
domain.com MX 10 mx1.smtpXXX.msoutlookonline.net
domain.com MX 10 mx2.smtpXXX.msoutlookonline.net

where XXX is your Exchange domain. Yon can look it up on Home > Exchange Servers and Settings page of the HostPilot.

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, the preference number indicates the order in which the mail servers should be used. This enables the use of primary and backup mail servers.

The 10 versus the 20 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.

Here you can find instructions on setting up MX records for common DNS providers:

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:

You can use, for instance, MX Toolbox to look up your MX record to make sure you set it up correctly:

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

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.