MX record

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Mail Exchange (MX) records are DNS records that are necessary for delivering email to your address.

This article describes the steps necessary to adjust or connect to your MX records.

MX records

In simple DNS terms, an MX record is used to tell the world which machines accept incoming mail for your domain and where emails sent to your domain should be routed to. Most DreamHost customers host their mail service at DreamHost and all the required mail-related DNS records are created automatically after adding addresses to your domain in your panel.

You can also switch a domain's mail service between DreamHost, Gmail / Google Apps, or somewhere else entirely.

Dh-kb-note-icon.fw.png Note: Changing your MX records only points where email is routed. Your old email is not migrated to the new email host. View the Transferring Emails article for instructions on how to back up your old emails first.

Example of an MX record

  • MX records consist of two parts: the priority and the domain name. For example:
    The ‘0’ is the priority.
    The lower the number means a higher priority.
    The ‘’ is the mail server to which it connects.
    Outgoing email servers connect to the MX servers in order of priority.
    If two servers have the same priority, it picks one at random. (This in effect load balances the connections.)

Who controls my MX records?

Your MX records are controlled at the company where your Nameservers are pointed. If your domain is using DreamHost's nameservers (you can check this at, then all DNS changes (including custom MX records) are made in your DreamHost panel.

If your domain is not using DreamHost's nameservers, all DNS changes (including custom MX records) must be done at the company that hosts your nameservers. If you want to use regular DreamHost-hosted mail service with a domain using non-DreamHost nameservers, you can set up custom mail DNS records at your outside DNS provider using the mail DNS information from your DreamHost panel. See below for details on how to find these records.

Changing your MX records domain

MX records control where emails for your domain are routed and sent for delivery. Be sure that the email addresses you want to receive mail at are properly set up and working before changing the MX records to direct mail to the new location. If you change the MX records before setting up those mail accounts, or make an error when changing the MX records, emails sent to you may bounce back to the sender or be lost.

To change your MX records domain:

  1. Navigate to the (Panel > ‘Mail’ > ‘Custom MX’) page.
  2. To the right of your domain, click the Edit button.

There are several options that appear on the Custom MX page which are described below.

Regular DreamHost email

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  • Regular DreamHost email is set by default, and all the MX and other mail DNS records are automatically created to send your emails to DreamHost's servers.
  • You can use the (Panel > ‘Mail’ > ‘Manage Email’) page to configure your domain's email addresses, both fully-hosted and forward-only.
Dh-kb-note-icon.fw.png Note: If you’ve previously hosted your email outside of DreamHost and wish to now host email with DreamHost, you’ll see a button titled Make me regular now! which you can click to change your MX records back to DreamHost.

Google Apps for Business

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  • Google Apps lets you use email addresses on your domain with accounts on Gmail's servers, and all the MX and other mail DNS records are automatically created to send your emails to Google's servers.
  • You must sign up with Google Apps and configure your domain's email addresses using Google's control panel.
  • Any DreamHost-hosted mail accounts will remain active but existing old emails may not be saved; also, the (Panel > ‘Mail’ > ‘Manage Email’) page will no longer display or let you configure them.
  • If you want to host your email with Google, click the I’m ready to use Google Apps now! button.

Mail Mirror

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  • Mail Mirroring lets you set one domain to automatically match another domain's email addresses.
  • If you set to mirror, all the email addresses you have individually set up on will automatically work for
  • This feature can only be used if is using DreamHost-hosted mail service; if is using Anti-spam filtering, you must enable it for as well.

Custom MX Records

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  • You can enter fully custom MX records to direct your domain's mail to wherever you like.
  • Use this if your mail service is hosted by a different provider and you want emails delivered to your mail accounts there.
  • Your domain's mail provider will give you the MX records to enter here – they may also give you Custom A or Custom CNAME records to add as well.
  • Any DreamHost-hosted mail accounts will remain active but existing old emails may not be saved.
  • Additionally, the (Panel > ‘Mail’ > ‘Manage Email’) page will no longer display or let you configure them.
  • Leave the "...still check my email..." option un-checked to ensure emails are properly delivered to your custom MX records server.
  • To use custom MX records with an external spam filtering service that sends all emails back to DreamHost for delivery to your mail accounts hosted here, see the Mail Service Provider instructions.

Viewing your DreamHost email after MX records are pointed away from DreamHost

When you switch a domain's mail service away from DreamHost, your DreamHost-hosted mail accounts will still remain active but stored emails may not be retained. Be sure to backup all of your stored emails before switching.

Review the Transferring Emails for further instructions.

Webmail can be used to log in to your DreamHost mail accounts, but the address no longer works. Instead you can use:

For POP3 access and/or to set up a mail client program to download emails to your computer, the server name no longer works. Use these steps to determine what server name to use:

  1. In the DreamHost Control Panel, click the ‘Account Status’ link in the top right corner on any page.
  2. Look for “Your Email Cluster”.
  3. Find your cluster in the table below.
  4. Use the server name for the incoming server in your mail program.
Email Cluster Server Name
Dh-kb-note-icon.fw.png Note: While some hosts allow you to use the mail server IP address instead of the mail server name, DreamHost does not support mail connections via IP address.

Finding MX records for regular DreamHost mail service

If your domain is not using DreamHost's nameservers, the mail-related DNS records will not be automatically active for the domain. You'll need to manually set up those records at the host where your domain's DNS is managed. You can verify where your nameservers are pointed at

To find your MX records:

  1. Click the ‘DNS’ link under the domain to view your records.
    001 non editable records.fw.png
    There are two types of mail-related DNS records.
    MX record
    tells senders where emails for you should be delivered to.
    A record
    used by your mail program when you connect to the mail server to view your inbox or send out emails.
  2. Find the following records:
    DNS record Example value
    *mail. (A)
    *mail. (MX)
    *mail. (MX)
    *mailboxes. (A)
    *www.mailboxes. (A)
    *webmail. (A)
    *www.webmail. (A)
  3. Enter all those records in to the system where the domain's DNS is hosted and managed.
Dh-kb-note-icon.fw.png Note: After you make the DNS adjustment, it will then take several hours for the changes to update online due to DNS propagation.

See also