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For a small project of mine, for which really don't want to invest any cent, I want to host email services with my custom domain (let's assume www.example.com) l already own.

The hosting service l'm using (please don't judge) is Hostinger and the free mail service l want to avail is Zoho Mail.

I have registered with Zoho Mail, proven that I own the custom domain "example.com and have even created a user email account on the same domain contact@example.com.

So the thing is, I can send emails from Zoho Mail to other email accounts, but can't receive any. Everywhere I read, they tell me to configure the MX records in the cPanel. I've tried that but it ain't working.

What should do? Thanks!

  • You would create the MX DNS record, not on your cPanel, but with your domain registrar where your domain name likely exists with a SOA (statement of authority) record. You can check their web site or tech support for this. – closetnoc Nov 2 '16 at 0:33
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  1. Start at your domain registrar (GoDaddy, Namecheap, etc) and see where your NS (name server) records point. Your NS records point to your DNS host. Your registrar may be acting as your DNS host, but your web hosting company could also be acting as your DNS host. Your DNS host could also be a completely different third party company.

  2. Once you have identified your DNS host, log into it. You will need to edit your DNS records there. You may be able to edit DNS records in other places, but only records at the place where your NS records point have any effect.

  3. Create MX (mail exchanger) records pointing to your email provider. Your email provider will tell you what the values should be. There should be at least two records. Records typically look like:

    Type: MX, Name: mail1.mailhost.example, Priority: 10, TTL: 3600
    Type: MX, Name: mail2.mailhost.example, Priority: 20, TTL: 3600
    
    • Type: Create MX records which are used for email delivery
    • Name: Where the record is pointing at your email host. This field is sometimes called "host"
    • Priority: The lower number priority will be used as the primary mail server and the higher number priority is a backup
    • TTL (time to live): The number of seconds before the DNS records expires. This controls how long it can be cached. A shorter TTL means you can update the records and have them take effect sooner, a longer TTL is more efficient. The TTL should not be less than half an hour or greater than three days.
  4. Log into your mail host and have them verify your MX records if they have functionality to do so.

  5. Use a tool to verify your MX records. You can find various tools online to do it. I prefer to use dig on the command line. This command will show example.com's MX records. Substitute your own domain for example.com:

    dig MX example.com
    

    Before your records have propagated you can test to make sure that your official name server is serving the correct records. Substitute your own domain for example.com and one of name servers from your NS records for ns1.dnshost.example:

    dig @ns1.dnshost.example example.com
    
  6. Wait a few days for your new MX records to take effect everywhere

If your MX records aren't working check the following:

  • Verify that you are creating MX records at your DNS host
  • Verify that your MX records are using the values provided by your mail host
  • Make sure you waited long enough for your old MX record's TTL to expire.
  • Make sure you are not using a CNAME record for your domain apex (that is the naked domain without the www.). The apex record is usually denoted with @ when you edit your DNS records. A CNAME record at the apex is not allowed. you MUST use A and/or AAAA records to point your bare domain to your website host. Only subdomains (such as www.) are allowed to use CNAME records. Using a CNAME record at the apex should not be allowed by your DNS host, but if you manage to create one there it will cause your MX records not to work.
| improve this answer | |
  • Hey, thanks a lot for the answer. Though it's more than 3 years since I asked it (and I'm not too sure how I fixed it, or if I even fixed it at all) I'm sure it'll help others. Appreciate it! – Mihir Chaturvedi Aug 2 at 12:54

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