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A friend's domain is registered with 123reg. The nameservers point to Host A, who currently host the website and provide Exchange email. He would like me to keep the website with Host A, but change the email to use 123reg's service.

I think this means that I need to:

  1. Update the nameservers to use the 123reg default
  2. Update the DNS to direct the website to Host A, and the mail to Host B
  3. Set the MX records to use 123reg default email

But I'm worried about getting it wrong and bringing the website down, are those 3 steps above correct?

If I do that, how do I point the DNS records for the website to Host A? Is it adding these two A records to the DNS:

  1. Set Destination IP value to Host A's IP address, and the Hostname value to 'www'
  2. Set Destination IP value to Host A's IP address, and leave the Hostname value blank (for non-www access to the site)

Current DNS, for reference:

Here is the current DNS setup on 123reg.

I think this is currently not active because the nameservers are pointing elsewhere.

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  • You don't need to change nameservers to changing hosting. If you are changing email hosting just update the MX records. – Stephen Ostermiller Mar 6 '18 at 17:39
  • The current MX records point to 123reg, but the emails are arriving at Host A's mailserver (exchange). I had presumed that the nameserver setting had rendered the MX records obsolete. Is this not the case? – Martin Hansen Lennox Mar 6 '18 at 18:08
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    The nameserver records point to your DNS server. The DNS server has MX, A, and CNAME records that point to your mail and web hosts. If you change your MX records it may take a few days until the records propogate and mail stops arriving at your old mail host. – Stephen Ostermiller Mar 6 '18 at 18:56
  • So to clarify... in the example above I can leave the MX records as they are (because I want to use 123reg for mail). I will need to add A records to point to the IP of Host A (because I want to use them to host the site). Finally I change the nameservers to 123reg that will allow the DNS changes I've made to take effect. Is that correct? Thanks for your patience! – Martin Hansen Lennox Mar 6 '18 at 20:19
  • Why make the changes at the 123reg DNS servers rather than just change the MX records at Host A? – Stephen Ostermiller Mar 6 '18 at 20:29
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There are many ways to accomplish what you want, but it really just boils down to this: Change the MX record.

The EASIEST thing to do is to go to the sites current host, and go to the MX record section. There may already be an entry there, even if it is just the hosted domain name. You need to remove what is there. You then replace that with your new email hosts MX records.

The way you proposed above is fine as well, but that involves more steps and more links in the chain which could break down...

  • It is also important with many web hosts to update the internal server references so that it knows email is hosted elsewhere - otherwise, for example, if your page generates an email it will not be routed to your actual email server if the web server still thinks it is handling email for your domain. This is separate to MX records. Often you need to contact customer support to have this rectified. – Willtech May 22 '18 at 8:47

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