Microsoft Office 365 email and DNS records

Hi Email gurus,

I am really hoping one of you can help me.

My website is hosted at Linode, but I want my email to go through Microsoft Office 365 (ok, stop throwing bricks at me).

What MSFT is saying is - change my DNS to point to Microsoft servers. But this doesn't make sense to me, since I want my DNS to go to Linode.

  • MyWebsiteDomain.com (not the real name) is registered at Godaddy

  • Godaddy's DNS nameservers point to Linode, where the website is hosted

  • Office365 wants me to change the nameservers to Microsoft, but if I do that, our website will no longer be hosted at Linode (right?). I'm sorta afraid to do this.

  • What I want to do is to keep the website hosted at Linode, BUT our email moved to Microsoft. I can't figure out how to do this.

What Microsoft wanted me to do is to add a TXT record, which I did:

TXT Records

Name Value TTL Options

MS=ms35590453 3600 (1 hour)

The symptoms are that I can send outgoing mail (from MyWebsiteDomain to Gmail), but not the other way around (from Gmail to MyWebsiteDomain).

Any help appreciated!!!

-Vik

6 Replies

You should be able to create an MX (mail exchanger) record or modify one that exists to point to Microsoft. That way incoming email will go to them and everything else will go to Linode. The TXT record was likely a way to prove to Microsoft that you owned the domain in the first place.

It looks like Office 365 explicitly supports GoDaddy as a registrar. Apparently whichever of their methods you choose, you have the ability to create A records for MyWebsiteDomain.com and/or www.MyWebsiteDomain.com which point to your Linode's address.

One downside is that Microsoft seems to not have a highly-stable way for how it manages the interaction between Office 365 and DNS. You may want to weigh the likelihood that they will make additional changes or remove support for outside services in the future.

(Of course, I trust neither Microsoft nor GoDaddy to be a credible service provider, but you may reach a different conclusion.)

Not to mention Office 365 has regular 'maintenance' when you can't access your email… having such a huge exchange deployment is a big deal :P

Edit: Found this little snipped, incredibly vague and doubt it applies to you https://office.microsoft.com/en-us/offi … 51099.aspx">https://office.microsoft.com/en-us/office365-suite-help/create-dns-records-for-office-365-when-you-manage-your-dns-records-HA102851099.aspx

@indianbento:

What Microsoft wanted me to do is to add a TXT record, which I did:

TXT Records

Name Value TTL Options

MS=ms35590453 3600 (1 hour)

That's the first step. It allows Microsoft to verify the domain.

Next you should get an MX record and a CNAME record to insert. Then your mail is routed to Outlook 365.

I've gone through this process a couple times for client domains. At first Microsoft (actually a provider/reseller) requested I change nameservers, I said 'No' and then they supplied the requisite DNS records for me to put in place.

Thank you guys, for the pointer to setting up an MX record. I did some research, and found this cryptic article:

http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/offic … 79204.aspx">http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/office365-suite-help/create-dns-records-at-any-dns-hosting-provider-for-office-365-HA103479204.aspx

There it said: "Copy the values from the MX row in the Exchange Online section of the Office 365 Add DNS records page into the empty record." It took me a while to figure out what this "Exchange Online" section in Office 365 was. Here's how I got to it:

  • Login to Office 365 and click on Admin at the top right (in the blue bar)

  • Select, right under Domains, the link "Manage your website and email domains"

  • Select your domain (mywebsitedomain.com, as an example) and click on Manage DNS

  • Click on the drop-down at the bottom of the page that says "DNS records created automatically by Office 365"

  • You will see "These are the DNS records for your Microsoft Office 365 services."

Then, you see a list of the MX, CNAME, TXT and SRV records. Enter these exactly as shown, in Linode's DNS Manager. I did that, and within a few minutes, emails sent to [email protected] were working. Now, I don't understand the significance of what I just did, but I am sure you guys know more than I do, and can decipher this better.

I am writing this down, so that, hopefully, someone else can learn from this thread.

@indianbento:

Then, you see a list of the MX, CNAME, TXT and SRV records. Enter these exactly as shown, in Linode's DNS Manager. I did that, and within a few minutes, emails sent to [email protected] were working. Now, I don't understand the significance of what I just did, but I am sure you guys know more than I do, and can decipher this better.

Can you post the records they told you to put in? That'll help with the decoding.

My guess is that they did:

MX yourdomain.com -> someserver.office.com (this directs email sent to [email protected] to the Office 365 servers)

CNAME mail.yourdomain.com -> someotherserver.office.com (this allows you to use mail.yourdomain.com to go to Office365)

TXT is probably SPF and/or DKIM records, these are (more-or-less) spam prevention

SRV depends on what they had you put in

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