I bought a domain without webspace and want to forward emails to that domain to my Gmail account. But I don't receive any emails which are send there, not even a return-to-sender-email. I also tried with another email provider and my company's email address.

My hoster supports email forwarding, thus I activated it with the "catch all" option and added my 3 email addresses as target. The domain is configured with www IN CNAME example.rhcloud.com. There is no other configuration yet.

Do I need to add MX entries? Or what else do I need to do?

P.S.: Don't migrate this question to serverfault. They said I'm not allowed to ask questions, because I'm not a sysadmin...

  • A "catch all" email account with forwarding should receive all incoming email and forward it to your target email addresses. If email service is included with your hosting package, the support team there should be able to view mailserver logs to see what's happening with your emails. If you comment or update the question with your domain, your DNS table records will provide some more info, and a test email can be sent to your mailserver to see what response code is received.
    – dan
    Commented Jul 17, 2013 at 4:00

5 Answers 5


I built a free, open-source, encrypted, and private solution at https://github.com/niftylettuce/forward-email. This service does not store logs, it is completely private and simply acts as a proxy. No email is ever stored on the server, it's all proxied in memory to the recipient's mail server (view the source on GitHub if you'd like to learn more about how it works!).

The documentation is hosted at http://forwardemail.net/ and you can configure it with the instructions below.

Replace [email protected] with the email address you want to forward emails to below:

  1. Set the following DNS MX records on your domain name:
Name/Host/Alias     TTL     Record Type Priority    Value/Answer/Destination
@ or leave blank    3600    MX          10          mx1.forwardemail.net
@ or leave blank    3600    MX          20          mx2.forwardemail.net
  1. Set (and customize) the following DNS TXT records on your domain name:

If you are forwarding all emails from your domain to a specific address:

Name/Host/Alias     TTL     Record Type     Value/Answer/Destination
@ or leave blank    3600    TXT             [email protected]

If you just need to forward a single email address (e.g. [email protected] to [email protected]; this will also forward [email protected] to [email protected] automatically):

Name/Host/Alias     TTL     Record Type     Value/Answer/Destination
@ or leave blank    3600    TXT             forward-email=hello:[email protected]

If you are forwarding multiple emails, then you'll want to separate them with a comma:

Name/Host/Alias     TTL     Record Type     Value/Answer/Destination
@ or leave blank    3600    TXT             forward-email=hello:[email protected],support:[email protected]

Please note that if you have multiple TXT record lines for forward-email: the service will only read the FIRST listed - please ensure you only have one line.

  1. Set (and customize) the following TXT record for SPF verification for your domain name (this will allow SPF verification to pass):

If you're using a service like AWS Route 53, then edit your existing TXT record and add the following as a new line:

Name/Host/Alias     TTL     Record Type     Value/Answer/Destination
@ or leave blank    3600    TXT             v=spf1 a mx include:spf.forwardemail.net ~all

If you already have a similar line with v=spf1, then you'll need to append include:spf.forwardemail.net right before any existing include:host.com records and before the ~all in the same line (e.g. v=spf1 a mx include:spf.forwardemail.net include:host.com ~all).

  1. Send a test email to confirm it works. Note that it might take some time for your DNS records to propagate.

  2. If you have any issues please visit http://forwardemail.net/ and/or file an issue on GitHub at https://github.com/niftylettuce/forward-email.

  • 10
    It is important to note that all DNS records are public and by this approach, anyone can view your personal gmail address by inspecting your domain's dns records
    – balki
    Commented Aug 13, 2018 at 22:01
  • 1
    I am adding in support for encrypted TXT records and self-hosted TXT records if you have a lengthy alias list. Follow this GitHub issue github.com/niftylettuce/forward-email/issues/3 or email me at [email protected] to get notified when it is available.
    – user84805
    Commented Aug 14, 2018 at 23:46
  • 4
    Just an update - encrypted TXT support has been added a few months ago.
    – user84805
    Commented Apr 19, 2020 at 4:59
  • I have just been through three stackexchange sites and multiple web searches and this is the first time anyone has actually spelled this out. my hats off you @niftylettuce !
    – shigeta
    Commented Oct 15, 2020 at 20:22
  • Really great project - got up and running in about 5 minutes. This was a big time saver in my case where my domain is on Namecheap but I run my site through CloudFlare - Namecheap's email forwarding only works with their default DNS and CloudFlare doesn't offer email forwarding, so Namecheap now uses CF DNS which uses ForwardEmail.net MX/TXT records and it works great. Thanks for making this!
    – SeanCannon
    Commented Nov 11, 2020 at 12:52

You will need to add an MX record to your domains DNS. If you're using your Registrar to do the email forwarding, you'll add their e-mail servers for the MX records. Without an MX record, mail servers have no idea which servers to send the mail to.

  • 1
    +1 This is the right answer. Checking OP's DNS records it is clear that there are problems with the current MX settings. Commented Jul 17, 2013 at 8:47

Simple solution: Use http://improvmx.com/ and then set your MX records and you are done.

  • 5
    I am a bit worried about privacy there. There are no explanation or guarantees given on the improvmx.com website, even no contact address. I would be worried about what they do with all the mail streaming through their servers.
    – Vacilando
    Commented Jan 21, 2017 at 12:34
  • I've tested this option this week and it didn't work. Maybe the service is down?
    – Puck
    Commented Dec 16, 2017 at 9:08
  • @Vacilando You might want to try forwardemail.net instead, it's completely open-source, encrypted, and privacy-focused.
    – user84805
    Commented Dec 28, 2017 at 7:28
  • Looks like they were bought and re-launched in 2019: indiehackers.com/product/improvmx
    – dsturbid
    Commented Feb 4, 2020 at 16:26
  • Yes @dailysleaze and the new owners have a history of buying/selling services.
    – user84805
    Commented Apr 19, 2020 at 5:00

Email Forwarding works only if your First Email ID is working perfect. Then according to Setting, Email is Forwarded to Second Email ID.

To enable you Mail Service, you do not need Webspace or any hosting package. Just login to Domain Control Panel and then update some Name Records their.

Google, Microsoft and some other Mail Service Provider Free Email Services for Custom Domain. For Managing google does better task but it is paid. While Microsoft Handles Full Controls to User but is Free for 500 users and best service with All Microsoft Products without Limitations.

For Google Mail Service for your own Domain:

sign up here: https://www.google.com/a/signup/?enterprise_product=GOOGLE.EDU&hl=en&source=gafe-homepage-canvas-en This is education edition from Google which allow 10 users Free. You can choose other Paid also.

Then Login to your Domain Control Panel and update records as described in Support:http://support.google.com/a/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=140034

For Microsoft Mail or Windows Live Mail Service:

sign up here: https://domains.live.com/Signup/SignupDomain.aspx

And change Records as shown in Domain Control Panel. Then you will find your Mail Working within 6-12 hours of span.

Good Luck.


As mentioned in other comments, forwardemail.net is a solution. I don't know if it's a good solution. It has recently been frequently listed on blacklists. See screenshot (sceenshot from : mxtoolbox.com) mx1.forwardemail.net blacklist monitor from mxtoolbox.com

(If a mail server is on a blacklist, there is a good chance that your emails will end up in spam, depending on the authority of the blacklist)

Forwardemail.net has 2 competitors to my knowledge: improvmx.com and forwardmx.net

The forwardmx.net mail servers don't have a great history yet on mxtoolbox.com, but they are also currently blacklisted (see screenshot). mxa.forwardmx.net blacklist monitor from mxtoolbox.com The mail servers of improvmx.com do have a great history at mxtoolbox.com, they were frequently on blacklists until 2021, but not since then. Although it is not entirely clear whether mxtoolbox.com may have stopped monitoring this mail server in 2022. (see screenshot). mx1.improvmx.com blacklist monitor from mxtoolbox.com So currently improvmx.com comes out best in this small test (only looking at email delivery at email forwarders)

EDIT: Some things to add to this post: Both impovmx.com and forwardmx.net are apparently only (past or currently) blacklisted by UCEPROTECTL3. UCEPROTECTL3 has a very dubious reputation and I don't think any major email server uses it. See: https://www.reddit.com/r/sysadmin/comments/lpp9jk/office_365_ip_added_to_uceprotectl3_blacklist/

Forwardemail.net is and has been blacklisted by several other SPAM lists in the past. I don't know if these SPAM lists have authority. I've had issues with email delivery through Forwardemail.net in the past. They were then blacklisted by Hostkarma, but my SPF was also set incorrectly, so I don't know what was the deciding factor.

I have been in contact with Forwardmx and Forwardemail.net support. The support of Forwardmx is very good, fast and clear. Forwardemail.net comes across as a bit short and frustrated, but also responds very quickly.

I am a customer of Forwardmx and Forwardemail.net and am also testing the free version of impovmx.com.

I have to say that I currently prefer Forwardemail.net. They are well priced, have very friendly and clear support and you get an SMTP server.

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