When you sign up for a web hosting plan, hosting providers offer separate email hosting and web hosting services, which incurs additional costs.
We’re letting you into a little lifehack — did you know you can lodge your email account onto your web server?
Both website and email services are similar and can be hosted on a single server. Still, because they operate differently, you’d have to configure your web host to receive emails, which you can do by learning how to set up MX records.
Keep reading to learn:
MX Records Explained
Mail Exchange (MX) records direct emails to a mail server, explicitly telling the internet which mail servers accept your domain’s incoming mail and where emails sent to your domain should be routed to, per the simple mail transfer protocol (SMTP), the standard protocol for all email.
MX records are necessary for delivering email messages to your email address. If your MX records aren’t pointed to the correct location, email delivery is compromised. Thus, it is crucial to learn how to set up MX records so that your email does not get lost in transmission.
Where MX Records Point To
Learning how to set up MX records can be confusing at first. When setting up your MX record, remember that they should be set up depending on how you receive email.
MX records are the only email domain name system (DNS) records among many DNS records. You can use MX with other DNS records, but it can create duplicates that point to different destinations as a backup, unlike other DNS records.
For public email, MX records usually point to your firewall’s public IP address or an Internet-facing email server.
If you’re part of an organization that uses a hosted cloud service for email filtering, the MX record will point to their IP address.
But generally, MX records point to another email server.
What MX Records Look Like
Before you learn how to set up MX records, another thing to understand is the components of an MX record.
MX records consist of two parts: the priority and the domain name. MX records typically do not have any Host values.
Let’s take 0 mail.example.com as an example.
Remember, the lower the number, the higher the priority.
You can set up MX records according to priority. A lower priority MX record can be used as a backup in case the first one fails. Another way to configure MX records is to have equal priority and receive equal amounts of mail so that they balance the servers.
Domain name: ‘mail.example.com’ is the mail server it connects to. It differs depending on the hosting company.
The hosting company where your nameservers are stored controls the MX records.
If you signed up for a domain on Bluehost, all DNS changes (including custom Bluehost MX records) are made in the Bluehost panel.
However, if you got your domain name elsewhere, all DNS changes must be done at the company where you got your domain name. You can confirm where your domain name was registered by checking out WHOIS.
How To Set Up MX Records
- Through Your Domain Registrar
- Using your Web Host’s Control Panel
These are two ways to set up MX records. This tutorial will specifically teach you how to set up MX records using Bluehost.
How To Set Up MX Records #1: Through Your Domain Registrar
1. Get Your New MX Records From Google Workspace.
Learning how to set up MX records is essential if you want to move from one SMTP service provider (which sends emails straight from WordPress) to another (say, Google Workspace).
Get your new MX records from the Google Workspace setup tool to start setting up MX records.
2. Delete Existing MX Records From Your Domain Registrar.
The second step in learning how to set up MX records is signing into the domain registrar and deleting existing MX records for the domain that routes messages to your current email provider.
This tutorial will be specifically for deleting Bluehost MX records.
- Sign in to Bluehost.
- Next to the domain you’re setting up, click the arrow next to ‘Manage,’ and from the drop-down menu, choose ‘DNS.’
- Scroll to ‘MX (Mail Exchanger).’ If you see any existing domain’s MX records, delete them.
3. Add the Google MX Records.
After deleting your existing Bluehost MX records, you can start adding the Google MX records.
Click ‘Add Record’ and fill out the form. Paste one of the five MX records from the Google Workspace tool to the ‘Points to’ field.
Fill in the ‘Priority’ and ‘Host record’ fields as shown below:
The Time to Live (TTL) value dictates how often your nameservers should update DNS records. For the example above, the user opted for four hours, which is the minimum value for Bluehost.
Save the record.
Repeat until you add all five Google MX records.
4. Verify the Change in Your Google Workspace Account.
Once you’ve added all the Google MX records, go back to the page of the Google Workspace setup tool. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click ‘Activate Gmail.’
Congratulations, you’ve successfully learned how to set up MX records.
Once the domain registrar publishes your Google MX records, Google will activate Gmail for your domain.
It takes up to 48 hours to update your records. Until your records have been updated, you’ll be receiving emails from your old email client. Don’t forget to set up a pointer record (PTR) to secure your account and prevent scams.
How To Set Up MX Records #2: Through Your Web Host’s Control Panel
Another way to set up MX records is through your web host’s control panel (cPanel).
1. Look for the Zone Editor.
If your web host gives you access to the cPanel, the first step is to find your way to the Zone Editor.
2. Select the Domain You Want To Add an MX Record.
Once you’re there, select the domain you want to add an MX record. You’ll see the ‘+MX Record’ option next to the name.
3. Input the Values Recommended by the Google Workspace Tool.
Input the priority and destination values recommended by Google Workspace. Save changes.
You don’t get to input a TTL value for this method of setting up MX records using cPanel, so you might have to wait for the record to take effect.
Final Thoughts: How To Set Up MX Records From Bluehost to Google Workspace
Having a professional email address and business website go hand-in-hand, and by learning how to set up MX records, you don’t have to get separate web hosting and email hosting plans.
You can configure your Bluehost MX records to send email messages to your preferred email client, such as Google Workspace.
Sign up for a Bluehost web hosting plan today.