What are MX Records?

We all use emails for various requirements like business, education, staying in touch with friends, getting support, and the likes. Email is one of the most common modes of communication, with close to 4 billion worldwide users. But not everyone understands the nuts and bolts of email because they don’t need to. The journey of an email message from a compose box to the recipient’s inbox is long. It includes the functioning of various operations, one of which is the MX records.

In this post, we’ll take a quick look at what MX records are, how they work, and how you can update them.

What is an MX Record?

MX record is a common term in the email. If you have registered your business domain online, you might already have heard of it before.

Mail exchanger record or MX record is a fragment of the domain name system (DNS) that specifies the email server that’ll receive an email for the recipient’s domain name. It resides as a resource record in the DNS. In a nutshell, MX record is a type of entry in the domain DNS that defines which computer or email server will send and receive emails for that domain.

You can configure and update MX records to point them to various mail servers. This helps reduce redundancy and balance load.

What Does an MX Record Look Like?

MX records follow a specific format and content specified fields. The essential components of a typical MX record are:

  • Name: Domain name
  • Class: Internet (IN); this value is not changeable
  • Type: It’s preset to MX, representing MX records
  • Time to Live (TTL): The time taken (in seconds) to update the record
  • Preference or Priority: The lowest number denotes the highest priority server
  • Data: Mail Server’s hostname

Let’s take a quick look at all these elements in action. Here’s how a realistic MX record looks like:

company.com IN MX 75980 1 mail.company.com

Who Controls the MX Records?

For any domain email, the MX records are managed by the email hosting company, where you have pointed your nameservers. For example, if your domain uses the nameservers of a domain hosting company, all the MX record changes will take place in your hosting panel.

If you’re using an email hosting service like Eltris, you can update your MX records from your client dashboard. Eltris allows you to update your MX record within a few seconds without any prerequisite technical knowledge. It is very simple and only takes a couple of minutes.

How to Update your MX Records?

You’ll need to log in to your hosting account panel to update your MX record. If you’re using an email hosting service, log in to your client area. Every hosting provider has a different interface and process to change MX record. So, in the end, you’ll need to browse around and find the options.

In the case of domain hosting providers, try looking for the option of DNS Management or something similar. You’ll probably find MX records in that section. In the case of an email hosting provider, you’ll likely find a separate area for editing MX records.

Some domain and email providers don’t allow you to change all the values. In such cases, ignore the locked values and change the ones allowed. Your provider might have locked the value to a sensible number that’s best for all the email addresses. In general, you’ll be able to change the TTL and priority, whereas type and class will be fixed.

What Will Happen After Changing the MX Record?

You should update your MX records only if you want your emails to be routed to different email services. Once you make the changes, your emails will go to the newly specified email service instead of the older one. You won’t lose any of your emails, but when you receive them will depend on the TTL you’ve specified.

Conclusion

Many email providers, like Eltris, make changing MX records easy and effortless. If one of your email servers is experiencing a lot of load or redundancy, you can route them to another server by updating your MX records.

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