What is MX Record?

What is MX Record

The MX record is one of the pieces that put together the compound email system. Let us guide you through the basics of what is MX record and how to set it up.

What is a DNS MX Record?

Your mail communication is dependent on the Mail exchange or, in short, the MX record. As a part of the DNS, the MX record navigates how to handle the emails that have been sent. The whole process should be done as per the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP).  

One of the main features of the MX records is to specify (point) the mailing server for your domain.

Putting it more understandably, the MX records lead the way of incoming mail by routing them to the mail servers of your domain that are responsible for accepting mail. 

The MX record carries two primary data:

  • The host computer that manages the emails for a domain
  • Prioritisation code

The template of an MX record is:

<name of mail server>  <ttl> <class> <record type> <priority> <MX record value / rdata>TTL and class are optional and usually do not appear as part of the MX record.

To make things even more precise, let’s look at these examples of MX records:

Name of mail serverRecord typePriorityMX record value
Takeatumble.comMX 10mail1.example.com
Takeatuble.comMX20mail2.example.com

The numbers 10 and 20 show the prioritisation code and the rule is: lower the number, the higher the priority. When an email is sent, the first connection that is established is with the higher prioritised domain. In our example, that would be mail1.

If there is some kind of load on mail server 1, the mail will be sent to the mail2 server. There is also the possibility to make both mail servers with the same priority and the load between both of the servers will be balanced

Now let’s dive into how MX records work:

  1. An email is sent 
  2. The Mail Transfer Agent (MTA) connects with the DNS servers to get the MX records
  3. A list of hosting names that are accepting emails for that domain is made
  4. The sending agent makes an SMTP connection and tries the hosts according to the provided priority

But is MX record necessary? Considering the standards, the MX record is optional for the sender domain but has become a common practice to have MX records due to spam mails. They are also used because it can happen for servers to reject mail if there is no MX record.

How to Set Up an MX Record?

The steps of how to set up an MX record may vary depending on your hosting. The general steps are:

  • Step 1: Start with signing in to your domain host account with the details you entered when you purchased your domain.
  • Step 2: Go to your domain’s MX records page under the MX records management page. This section may also be located under DNS Management, Name Server Management or Mail Server Configuration. 
  • Step 3: Delete all the existing MX records
  • Step 4: Add new MX records
  • Step 5: Verify the change you made

Where Should Your MX Records Point? 

It is really important to point your MX Records to the right location because if you don’t, you will not receive emails. Another thing to have in mind is that MX records should coexist together with A record that points to the IP address of the mail server.

You can point your MX Records to:

  • A domain
  • External providers or
  • IP Address (Have in mind that some advise not to point your MX Records to IP Address)

Bottom Line

MX records are used for creating the right path of an email by transfer to the wanted mailing server. 

Now that you know what is MX record and how it functions, you can set up your mailing server and preferences.

FAQ’s:

1. How do I resolve an MX record?

You can resolve an MX record by following these solutions:

  • Wait up to 72 hours for the records to change
  • Check MX record applied to your primary domain
  • MX record check using MX lookup tools
  • Check the DNS configuration with the Check MX tool
  • Remove or add the @ sign.

2. What is TXT and MX record?

The use of the TXT record is to let the administrator of the domain write text into the Domain Name System or DNS from the outside domain to the configured domain. And what is MX record? This is the record used in the mailing system to redirect emails to the right domain.

3. How do I find my MX record in DNS?

To find MX record in DNS follow these steps:

  1. First open a command prompt.
  2. Type “nslookup” then click Enter. You will see the following: Default Server: <FQDN of your server> …
  3. Enter “set type=mx” then press Enter.
  4. Enter the domain name that you want to look up, then Click Enter. Then the MX records of that domain will appear.

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