Many businesses choose to host their mail services on one of two provider platforms:
- Google G Suite
- Microsoft Office 365 (mail services provided through Microsoft Exchange)
Using one of these services provides a few additional benefits over self-hosting mail on your own server such as taking advantage of the larger consolidated spam filtration services, multiple distributed nodes and networks, and greater influence in maintaining a high sender reputation with blacklist service providers. That’s not to say all businesses should be hosting mail on one of these services; many businesses never need anything more than basic intra-company email hosted on a single server. But if your business is growing, or marketing via email, using a hosted cloud email service provider is one step to providing a more on demand mail solution.
Mail services at both G Suite and Office 365 can be used with you own domain and whether you use cPanel, Plesk, or your domain registrar for DNS services, there are a few configuration requirements to get everything set up correctly.
In this article, we will detail the specific requirements and recommendations for configuring domain to use G Suite as your mail service provider. If you are looking for instructions on how to configure your domain to use Microsoft Office 365 for email services, we’ll be updating this article with a link to another article with those instructions shortly - thank you for your patience!
And of course, if you have any questions about this process please reach out to us by clicking the Submit a Request link here, or at the top of the page.
G Suite Configuration Requirements
The configuration steps to use G Suite for email includes several steps, done in different locations. As a general overview, the entire process can be broken down into the following steps:
- Log into the Admin console at https://admin.google.com/, or sign up for G Suite if you haven’t already
- Launch the Setup Wizard by clicking Start Setup
- When prompted to do so, begin adding user to the account for each individual mailbox you wish to exist for your domain (ie: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Note: You can have multiple email addresses route to a single mailbox by setting them up as aliases. For this step, you only need to consider how many separate users and/or mailboxes you will actually want. For instance, you may want separate mailboxes for email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org, but email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, and email@example.com can all be aliases routing to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, you already get one mailbox for yourself so whatever email address you assign yourself will automatically have it’s own mailbox.
- Next you need to verify yourself as the domain controller with Google (typically shortened to simply "Verify your domain" in Google's documentation). We recommend using the “Add a domain host record (TXT or CNAME)” method for most domains as you will already be managing your domain’s DNS as part of this process. If you need help with this step, please contact a member of our support team through your dedicated support channel (for existing customers), or by creating a support ticket through the Submit a request link.
If adding a TXT record is not an option, there are other methods of verifying your domain, but you will still need the ability to modify your domain’s MX records to complete the rest of G Suite email configuration.
- Update your domain’s MX records.
See below for G Suite MX Record requirements and links to control panel specific steps for cPanel and Plesk.
And don't forget that DNS changes can take several hours (up to 48 in some cases) to be updated in all DNS caches worldwide. Your DNS records will be available to the world immediately, but most servers cache records for domains they've already looked up recently, so be patient and reach out to us if you want verification that you’ve updated the records correctly.
- Add or update your domain’s SPF record to authorize google’s servers as an email sender for your domain. On most servers, the SPF record will be added as a TXT record and should be created or updated with the following values:
- Host: Enter your domain name, followed by a period ( . ), or @ depending on your DNS service provider
- Record Type: TXT
- Time to Live (TTL): Enter 3600 or leave it as the default value.
- Value/Destination: Enter v=spf1 include:_spf.google.com ~all
So an example SPF record for yourdomain.com would be
|yourdomain.com.||3600||TXT||“v=spf1 include:_spf.google.com ~all”|
G Suite MX Records
G Suite provides five ordered MX records to be added to your domain’s DNS. The purpose of adding all five records is in case one or more of the servers are inaccessible at any given time due to an outage or maintenance. The priority value specifies the preference in which servers should be tried.
Google provides values of 1, 5, and 10 for the MX record priorities, but since Plesk’s priority values are only selectable from a dropdown menu, we have provided equivalent priority recommendations for your convenience. Again, these values only indicate the preferred order in which servers are tried by mail senders, so the exact number is of very little importance.
MX Record Values and Priorities:
|MX record value||Priority|
Note: If you have existing MX records for another mail service provider, you will need to either update or remove those records as a part of this process to ensure mail is delivered to the right service provider.
If you are used to using mail.your-domain to reach webmail, or in your email clients, Google does provide the option to do this by Customizing a Service URL.
Making MX Record Changes in Popular Control Panels
WHM / cPanel
For WHM and cPanel, we have provided detailed step-by-step instructions in our cPanel Configuring Your cPanel Server to Use a Third Party Mail Service article if you need them.
If you are adding all new MX records through WHM, your records should look like this, substituting demo.cozaq.com. with your domain name. If you’re updating the existing record(s) and adding additional records to get the five total records, the record values will be similar to these but they might end up spread out in your zone file - which is okay:
And if you need to remove existing MX records, you can do so by either:
- Emptying the Domain, Priority, and Hostname fields so that the row becomes mostly empty:
- Or changing the Record Type from MX to Select:
Step-by-step instructions for Plesk are provided in our Configuring Your Plesk Server to Use a Third Party Mail Service article if you need them.
If you are adding all new MX records through Plesk, your records should look like this, substituting demo.cozaq.com. with your domain name. If you’re updating the existing record(s) and adding additional records to get the five total records, the record values will be similar to these but they might end up spread out in your zone file - which is okay:
And if you need to remove existing MX records, you can do so by checking the checkbox to the left of the record(s) to be deleted and clicking the Remove button:
Note: Don’t forget to click the Update button after adding or removing DNS records in Plesk, or your changes won’t actually be applied!
Thanks for taking the time to read through this article. If you have any questions about this process, or about Cozaq's services in general, please reach out to us by clicking the Submit a Request link here, or at the top of the page - we’ll be happy to help!