We have a lot of client’s ask us “Who Manages my Email?”. This is a common and very important question for everyone, especially businesses to understand. The good news is that it easy to work it out! There’s some information here that’s a bit technical, so if you don’t care about the technical side, jump down to the heading “Finding your MX Record”
The first step is to have a look at what is called your MX Record. Your MX Record forms part of what is called your DNS Zone and is basically an address attached to your domain name that tells the internet where to find your email services. Your DNS Zone tells the internet where to find everything associated to your Domain Name like your website, e-mail services, your web hosting control panel and everything that is related to your domain name.
Because your MX Record is part of your DNS Zone, you can look this up using a number of tools that explore your DNS Records, however in this example we are going to use ViewDNS.info (ViewDNS).
Going to ViewDNS can be quite confusing, so here’s a guide to make it simple. We’ll walk through an example on finding the Professional Web Solutions MX Record.
Finding Your MX Record
When we arrive at ViewDNS there are a lot of options. We only care about the box that has the title “DNS Record Lookup”.
In the domain box, type your domain name (without http or www, so in this case we’re just going to type stage.professionalwebsolutions.com.au) and press the “GO” button.
This will produce a table of your main DNS zone records (not all of them, but your MX record will be here). Look for the record with the type “MX”, this is your MX Record.
All we care about here is what is in the far right column, the “Data” column. This will tell us where our mail is managed.
You will see in the PWS example that our Data column has some information that ends with “outlook.com”. This means that Outlook (or more accurately Microsoft Exchange Online) manages our email services.
You will likely get one of four types of MX Record:
- A record ending in outlook.com, live.com, hotmail.com which all indicate your email services are being managed by Microsoft
- A collection of records that all contain Gmail, indicating your email is managed by Gmail (or more accurately GSuite, their premium business offering)
- A record indicating your email is managed by another third party provider (It would take too long to write this guide to cater for every possible mail provider)
- You will just have either your domain name, or mail.youdomainname which indicates that you are on a hosted email service. (This is provided for free by your web hosting provider)
Now that you know who manages your email, you can decide if this is the best choice for you or your business.