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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 straightforward, 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.