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We've bought a domain through the free Google Apps service and use the Gmail account provided. I'm thinking of hosting our own site on a separate web host, but emails sent to our domain might be directed to our web host.

Is there a way to continue using Gmail while the domain points to the web host?

I've never dealt with domain names and web hosts before, nor am I experienced with web development (will use a CMS).

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2 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

First, you can very easily have your site hosted at one provider and your email hosted by Google. I love Google Apps mail and so do my customers; I've done this several times!

Things You'll Need to Know:

  • Who will host your DNS? New Host, Google, or you?
  • What is the IP address of the New Host web server?
  • It might be handy to jot down your current MX records - you can do this by visiting MXToolbox and typing in your domain name. Note the priority and the servers.

Regardless who hosts your DNS, you'll need to make the following changes:

  • Set "A Record" for the the New Host's Web Server IP address
  • Set MX records to point to Google's servers (which you noted by visiting MXToolbox above)

Types of DNS Records

  • A - Address Records - These transforms domain names like foo.com into IP addresses like 123.45.67.89
  • MX - Mail Exchange Records - Determine to which mail server you@foo.com is routed.
    • There are sometimes (like Google) multiple MX records listed by priority.
    • In this way, if the first mail server fails, deliver is attempted at the next.
    • Priority can be any logical set of numbers 1, 5, 10 or 1, 10, 100
    • Lower priority mail servers are attempted first.
    • Google has you set some servers with the same priority. I don't know why.
  • CNAME - Canonical Name Records - Basically an "alias" of one domain to another
    • In our example, in order for you could create a CNAME record so www.foo.com points to foo.com
    • You could also CNAME calendar.foo.com to Google's ghs.google.com for your users to have Google Apps based calendars (this is really neat to some users)

There are many other types of DNS records -- see the sources below for more information. You can do some really neat things with DNS!

If you plan to change who hosts your DNS, you will want to have the new DNS set up before you change the nameservers with your domain registrar (GoDaddy, NameCheap, and others are popular domain name registrars).

Other Sources of Information

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Thanks for the detailed explanation. I bought the domain through Google Apps itself, and it does link me to a DNS management console. I can change these "A" and "MX" records there. What exactly are they? A live chat with a prospective web host provider instructed me to change the A records to point to their IP address. –  Oxwivi Dec 11 '11 at 7:00
    
@Oxwivi I've expanded the answer above -- let me know if something needs additional clarity! –  Nathan Dec 11 '11 at 7:33
    
Excellent answer, thanks Nathan! I would've awarded you a bounty, if possible. Previously I thought that emails networked the same way as just any other protocols. Learned something new again! –  Oxwivi Dec 11 '11 at 9:17
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I tried this and works good :

At My hosting WHM (create new account)

1- Use the nameservers specified at the Domain's Registrar (my own DNS)

2- selected the option Remote Mail Exchanger .

PS: No need to add anything in hosting MX records.

At My domain Manger which is on name.com

1- enable Google Apps (when you agree the DNS will changed to name.com DNS default)

Note that later on you have to change the default name.com DNS to your own DNS>

2- Google Apps Automatically created new records in Domain MX records Management:

10 aspmx.l.google.com

20 alt1.aspmx.l.google.com

20 alt2.aspmx.l.google.com

30 aspmx2.googlemail.com

30 aspmx3.googlemail.com

30 aspmx4.googlemail.com

30 aspmx5.googlemail.com

3- go to Edit DNS name server, and deleted the default name.com DNS and added my (my own DNS)

PS:No need to add anything in Domain MX records.

Works fine..

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