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The title might be a bit misleading but I don't know how else to describe my situation.

Situation: Client have registered a domain through company A, which from the record it is currently pointing to company A DNS. Client also purchase a Microsoft 365 subscription with the email hosting service through company A and they have set it up for him. From what I see from the DNS MX/A record, it has the root domain pointing to outlook.com for the microsoft 365 email hosting.

Now he wants a website from us, and since he does not have a web hosting service, naturally the new website will be hosted with us, which will be a shared hosting account we have with a hosting provider. He would like to retain his current email hosting so he can keep all the email and continue using the Microsoft 365.

I have setup new domain for web hosting as well as migrating the whole web hosting and e-mail hosting from another hosting provider before. While I think it should not be any difference, I have never have case where e-mail and web hosting need to be in different server, and to dealt with Microsoft 365 before.

I believe all I need to do is point the domain to my hosting DNS, and copy the current DNS setting in company A including the MX/A record to my web hosting DNS. Is that what should be done? Will the SPF record of Microsoft 365 need to reset and what else do I need to do to ensure smooth transition?

I do not want to do anything for my client before I know what to do.

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Microsoft 365 requires a few records in order to work correctly and for the website to work you just need to use the A records of your web host.

Website Records Example

| TYPE      | NAME         | VALUE             |
|-----------|--------------|----------------------------------------|
| A         | @            | 165.138.200.221                        |
| A         | www          | 165.138.200.221                        |
| AAAA      | @            | 0:0:0:0:0:ffff:a58a:c8dd               |
| AAAA      | www          | 0:0:0:0:0:ffff:a58a:c8dd               |

A = A Record IPv4 Address.
AAAA = AAAA Record IPv6 Address (optional).

165.138.200.221 is an IPv4 address example.
0:0:0:0:0:ffff:a58a:c8dd is an IPv6 address example.

Microsoft 365 Records

| TYPE  | NAME         | VALUE                                            |
|-------|--------------|--------------------------------------------------|
| CNAME | autodiscover | autodiscover.outlook.com                         |
| MX    | @            | example-com.mail.protection.outlook.com          |
| TXT   | @            | MS=ms12345678                                    |
| TXT   | @            | v=spf1 include:spf.protection.outlook.com -all   |

CNAME Very important and without it adding email accounts to devices is troublesome, since they do not ask for server details, its queried from the autodiscover.
MX Record should use priority 0 and the address can be found within the 365 Dashboard "edit domain".
MS=ms12345678 is responsible for domain verification found within the domains section within Office 365 dashboard.
v=spf is a SPF record that will reduce mail being mistakenly marked as spam 

Microsoft Connectivity and Autodiscover

If you need to amend, remove or edit any Microsoft 365 related records then you should test it afterwards using Microsoft Remote Connectivity Analyzer, click the Office 365 tab and then you will need to obtain from your client:

  • Office 365 Administrator Email Address e.g tom@example.com
  • Internal Microsoft Account, looks like tom@silverfinch.onmicrosoft.com
  • Password

If you or your client rather use an account where you do not have access to billing or user information then he or she can add you as a Exchange Administrator, simply login to Office 365 Portal, and click add a user, then under 'Roles' check exchange administrator. Screenshots of this process can be found at the bottom of this answer.

Please note when creating the account they should uncheck any products in Product licenses, otherwise they are going to increase their monthly bill.

Name Server Change

If you are changing the name servers then you need to ensure that the one you are switching too already has these records in place otherwise your going to experience some downtime. Assuming the only thing you need to change is the A records, there will be zero downtime and email will be unaffected by the website.

Screenshots of adding an Exchange Administrator in Office 365

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  • I don’t like the idea of getting credential of my client’s primary account, do Microsoft 365 allows setup of moderator account? If so, any tutorial? – Nick Li Jan 4 '18 at 2:38
  • Yes they do... I've updated the answer to reflect this information. Anyhow, get stuck Google is your friend :) – Simon Hayter Jan 4 '18 at 3:02
  • Awesome Simon, thank you for the detail instructions and explanation, now I am comfortable to do changes for my client – Nick Li Jan 4 '18 at 3:41

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