How to Configure an MX Record – Creating MX Records for Gmail

what is an mx record?

mx records, or mail exchange records, are special server settings that help control how email is routed. In DNS terms, an MX record tells incoming mail which server can receive it, and then directs it to that server. In other words, if your mx records point to the wrong location, you won’t be able to receive emails.

most web hosts create dns records for their clients which, by default, is the host’s server. If you want to use a different email provider than your hosting account, you must create an mx record.

*note: changing your mx records only directs new incoming mail to your updated email server. this means that any email that is already on your existing mail server will not be transferred.

Understanding the structure of an mx record

mx records use two important pieces of information when directing traffic: a priority number and the domain name where the server is hosted.

The priority number determines in which order a server will receive mail and starts with the lowest priority available, starting with “0”. if two servers with the same priority level are available, one will be chosen at random.

The second part, the domain name, is the name of the specific mail server to which the mail is sent. they usually look something like “mail.domain.com”. some hosting providers have special instructions for setting up mx records and may also require a “.” placed at the end of the server name, such as “mail.domain.com.“.

configure mx records for gmail

Since gmail is one of the most popular email providers, for the sake of this tutorial, we will focus on how to create mx records using google’s default mail servers.

google provides users with five different mail servers and assigns each a default priority level. they are:

  • aspmx.l.google.com -> priority 1
  • alt1.aspmx.l.google.com -> priority 5
  • alt2.aspmx.l.google.com -> priority 5
  • alt3.aspmx.l.google.com -> priority 10
  • alt4.aspmx.l.google.com -> priority 10
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Using the default priority settings, your mail will be routed to the first available server with the lowest priority level. in most cases, this will be aspmx.l.google.com, as it has a priority level of 1.

however, if the first server is unavailable for some reason, mail will be routed to the next available server. Since both alt1 and alt2 have the same priority level, one of them will be sent at random.

more information about google mail server can be found on its official support page.

Now that you know what the google nameservers are, you can set up mx records for them using your favorite control panel.

change an mx record using cpanel

To configure or make changes to your mx records using cpanel, follow these steps:

  1. First, you will need to login to your cpanel account with your username and password. you can access your control panel using https://www.yourdomain.com:2082.
  2. then in the mail section of your control panel, click the icon to modify mail exchanger (mx entry).
  3. click the option to change an mx entry.
  4. select the domain from the dropdown menu.
  5. if you are using gmail, in the section labeled add new record, enter the server information listed above.
  6. set the priority number for each record, remembering that lower numbers have higher priority.
  7. In the destination box, enter the name/domain of the new mail server. if you use gmail start with: aspmx.l.google.com repeat for the other servers in the list.
  8. When you are done making changes to the mx record, you can click add new record to save your changes.
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*note: dns propagation may take more than 48 hours to take effect.

If you ever want to remove an mx entry using cpanel, you can do so simply by clicking the remove button next to the applicable mx record and confirming your selection.

change an mx record using whm (web hosting manager)

To configure or make changes to mx records using whm, follow these steps:

  1. First, log in to your whm account with your username and password.
  2. on the left hand side, locate and click the dns functions option.
  3. click edit dns zone.
  4. In the dropdown window, select your domain and click edit.
  5. if there is already an existing mx record entered, you need to delete it.
  6. enter your domain name and leave the second box as it is.
  7. In the dropdown menu, select the option for mx.
  8. if you use gmail, enter the google mail servers information as above, including the end period. for example: aspmx.l.google.com.
  9. When you finish editing the records, click save.
  10. please note that dns changes may take about a day to update.

    change an mx record using plesk

    To configure or change an mx record using the plesk control panel, follow these steps:

    1. First, you will need to log in to plesk with your username and password.
    2. under the websites & domains tab, select dns settings.
    3. Locate the domain you are making changes to and click the option to manage.
    4. select the option to add a record.
    5. Using the dropdown menu, change record type to mx.
    6. leave the option for email domain blank.
    7. In the form field labeled mail exchange server, enter the name of the mail server to which you are sending your incoming mail. if using gmail, start with the first mail server: aspmx.l.google.com
    8. using the dropdown menu labeled specify the priority of the mail exchange server , enter the priority number for the server as above. if you don’t have a specific priority number for the mail server you’re using, leave it set to “0“.
    9. click apply to save your changes and repeat for any additional mx records you need to create.

    remember that changes to dns will not take effect immediately.

    and there you have it! You should now be able to modify an mx record for gmail using any of the control panels above.

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