How To Test MX Record Configuration

Recently I helped a friend with some basic DNS issues with a website he was setting up for his wife’s home based internet business.

I gladly helped out and set him up with a free CloudFlare account and asked him what he wanted to do in setting up an email server – as Google Mail had ceased as being a free offering for businesses since early December 2012.

The only two alternatives I know of and provide are:

  • Microsoft’s (no longer supported)
  • Zoho Mail

My friend opted to sign up for Zoho Mail, and I went through the process of setting up a free account in a matter of minutes. It was relatively straight forward, and I confirmed the domain my friend was using in Zoho using the CNAME method thanks to CloudFlare’s easy set up (even though I stuffed pointing the CNAME to Zoho’s server! Oops.).

Then to top it all off when entering the MX records of my friend’s domain I entered Zoho’s MX domain in the first text field containing the “www”, and the root domain “@” in the domain field. Ugh!

Make sure you enter your domain first @ and Zoho’s Domain with Priority in the next text field

My friend then asked why their emails weren’t working, and I used the “it’s propagating” excuse which takes time. Ah, glorious time.

Unfortunately it took a “Failure to send” test email from Gmail as well as a quick test using MX Lookup Tool to realise that I had accidentally switched the wrong domains around.

Thankfully when I did the switch and re-tested using the MX Lookup Tool website the domain’s results were immediately available – no need for waiting!


Hopefully this helps a few who have experienced similar problems with getting their MX records right.


Author of, Ryan has been dabbling in code since the late '90s when he cut his teeth by exploring VBA in Excel when trying to do something more. Having his eyes opened with the potential of automating repetitive tasks, he expanded to Python and then moved over to scripting languages such as HTML, CSS, Javascript and PHP. When he is not behind a screen, Ryan enjoys a good bush walk with the family during the cooler months, and going with them to the beach during the warmer months.

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