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I’m a web designer with minimal knowledge about DNS records etc.

I have a client who currently has a domain registered with LCN. They also have their email provided by LCN and they currently have a wordpress.com website.

They now want a new website which I’m going to build using wordpress.org.

I have a multi-site hosting package with one.com which I would like to use for the new website as it will be much cheaper than hosting it with LCN. However, I want to keep their email with LCN.

I understand that I need to change the name servers at LCN to point to the one.com hosting, and I need to update the MX records at one.com in order to preserve the email service.

I have also been told by LCN that I will need to update the SPF. I’m not fully sure what this means but after some brief research I think I know how to do it.

What I don’t know is, to minimise email downtime, is there a particular order that I should do this? I have asked LCN and one.com but have been told conflicting advice…

LCN have said MX record and SPF first, then name servers second. One.com have said name servers first, and then MX record and SPF.

So what is the correct order?

Is there anything else I need to do?

And at what point do I cancel the current wordpress.com account?

2 Answers 2

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It's actually much, much simpler than this. All you need to do is change the A records for the domain to point to your new hosting IP address. If the remaining DNS records are all currently working as configured, you don't need to change anything else. So change the @ and the www A records from your current hosting IP address to your new hosting IP address.

For the SPF records, you should already have those established at the server that is hosting your email, correct? Those shouldn't need to be removed. If they don't currently exist, then you will need to create them. Either way, you will want to have the IPs of both your email hosting server and your web hosting server (for website-generated emails) included in the SPF record. When you create it doesn't really matter much at all. And if you keep your MX records as they are right now, then you won't have any email downtime at all.

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    "All you need to do is change the A records for the domain to point to your new hosting IP address." - Assuming there actually are MX records currently; those aren't mandatory.
    – marcelm
    Feb 14 at 13:43
  • True, though most shared hosts create them automatically if you are using their DNS.
    – LMK Web
    Feb 15 at 18:00
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LMK Web's answer is mostly correct, but there is a trap you need to watch for.

In DNS, if the MX Record is pointing to the root domain, your email is going to break. To explain: Since you are changing the IP address of the A Record (the location of the website) if your MX is pointing to it, then the IP address of the mail server will change as well.

You can get around this by changing the MX to something like mail.example.com. Then create an A Record for mail.example.com pointing it to the IP Address of the mail server (which might be different to the IP address of the root domain i.e. the A Record).

Essentially what we are doing is pointing example.com to one IP address and mail.example.com (the MX record) to a different IP address.

You cancel the WordPress.com account when you know that the site is resolving to the new server and email is working.

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    "if the MX Record is a CNAME" Which is a DNS misconfiguration anyway. An MX record should NOT be pointing to a name that is a CNAME. See §2.4 of RFC 1912. Feb 13 at 22:47
  • @PatrickMevzek - thanks...that was a complete mistype. I have fixed it now :P
    – Steve
    Feb 14 at 3:09
  • After you edit, I still don't find this clear. What I think you are saying is, if you have example.com A 1.2.3.4 and example.com MX example.com, changing the A record will break the mail. This seems a crazy way to configure a domain, but I guess you've seen it!
    – grahamj42
    Feb 14 at 7:03
  • @grahamj42 - it is a bit complex to wrap your brain around. Essentially what we are doing is getting example.com to one IP address and mail.example.com (the MX) to a different address.
    – Steve
    Feb 14 at 7:12
  • @Steve, I have worked with DNS for more,than 30 years and I think it's unlikely that the OP would understand your point.
    – grahamj42
    Feb 14 at 7:58

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