In DNS parlance, an MX record is used to tell the world which machines accept incoming mail for your domain, where emails sent to your domain should be routed to. Most folks who use DreamHost will also have their mail service hosted at DreamHost and all the required mail-related DNS records are created automatically. The panel's Mail -> Custom MX page is where you can switch a domain's mail service between DreamHost, Gmail / Google Apps, or somewhere else entirely (custom MX).
What About Nameservers?
The DreamHost panel controls the DNS information on DreamHost's nameservers. If your domain is using DreamHost's nameservers, all DNS changes including custom MX records are done in your DreamHost panel.
If your domain is not using DreamHost's nameservers, all DNS changes including custom MX records have to be done there. If you want to use regular DreamHost-hosted mail service with a domain using non-DreamHost nameservers, you can setup custom mail DNS records there using the mail DNS information from your DreamHost panel.
Changing MX records for your Dreamhost-hosted 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 setup 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.
You can change the MX records for your domain in the panel's Mail-->Custom MX page.
- Find the domain you want to work with and click the Edit button
- The options are:
- DreamHost-hosted mail service, the default. All the MX and other mail DNS records are automatically created to send your emails to DreamHost's servers. You can use the panel's Manage Email page to configure your domain's email addresses, both fully-hosted and forward-only.
- Google Apps for Business lets you use email addresses on your domain with accounts on Gmail's servers. All the MX and other mail DNS records are automatically created to send your emails to Google's servers. You must signup with Google Apps and configure your domain's email addresses using Google's control panel. Any DreamHost-hosted mail accounts will remain active and stored emails saved, but the panel's Manage Email page will no longer display them or let you configure them.
- Mail Mirror lets you set one domain to automatically match another domain's email addresses. If you set domainMirror.com to mirror domainOriginal.com, all the email addresses you have individually setup on domainOriginal.com will automatically work for domainMirror.com. This feature can only be used if domainOriginal.com is using DreamHost-hosted mail service. If domainOriginal.com is using Anti-spam filtering, you must enable it for domainMirror.com as well.
- Custom MX Records lets you 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 A or CNAME records to add as well.) Any DreamHost-hosted mail accounts will remain active and stored emails saved, but the panel's Manage Email page will no longer display them 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, use the Mail Service Provider instructions.
Checking your DreamHost email after switching to custom MX or Google Apps for mail service
NOTE: 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 your stored emails before switching.
Webmail can be used to login to your DreamHost mail accounts, but the webmail.yourdomain.com address no longer works. Instead you can use:
- http://webmail.dreamhost.com or https://webmail.dreamhost.com -- the standard SquirrelMail webmail, use your full email address as the username
- http://roundcube.dreamhost.com or https://roundcube.dreamhost.com -- RoundCube webmail, use your full email address as the username
For POP3 access and/or to setup a mail client program to download emails to your computer, the server name mail.yourdomain.com no longer works. Use these steps to determine what server name to use:
- In the DreamHost Control Panel, click the "Account Status" link in the top right corner.
- Look for the Email Cluster.
- Find your cluster in the table below.
- Use the server name for the incoming server in your mail program.
|Email Cluster||Server Name|
Finding MX records for regular DreamHost mail service
Any domain in your DreamHost account can use regular DreamHost-hosted mail service. If the 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 setup those records in the place where your domain's DNS is managed.
All the mail-related DNS records are automatically created in the DreamHost panel when a domain has email addresses setup in the panel's Manage Email page. You can find them in the same place all the other current DreamHost DNS information for the domain is, in the panel's Manage Domains page behind the DNS link for the domain.
There are two types of mail-related DNS records. MX records tell senders where emails for you should be delivered to. A records are used by your mail program when you connect to the mail server to view your inbox or send out emails. DKIM also uses DNS records with the "domainkey" name.
Enter all those records into the system where the domain's DNS is hosted and managed, the place to enter DNS information for the nameservers the domain is using. DNS information published on the domain's nameservers is seen and used by the whole internet, and putting those DreamHost mail-related DNS records there will get regular DreamHost-hosted mail service going for the domain.