SmarterMail Help

DNS Configuration for a Mail Server

The internet works on Domain Name Services (DNS). Any request made on the internet needs an address to arrive at, and those addresses are powered by DNS. So when you type in https://www.yahoo.com, DNS tells your browser to hit a specific IP address, becuase the IP address was entered in the DNS record for yahoo.com. Email works the same way...

Therefore, now that you have added your domains to SmarterMail, and added the users for those domains, it's time to make sure that DNS is set up properly to that email will flow into, and out of, the SmarterMail server.

Who Manages DNS?

This can be a tough question to answer, and it kind of depends on who is managing the SmaterMail server. If it's set up and being managed by a web hosting company, then chances are that hosting company can manage DNS for the domains they're hosting. If it's set up by a business, then the IT Department would generally handle it. If you're setting a SmarterMail server up for your own use, then chances are YOU manage DNS for the domain(s) you're going to be adding. Regardless of who managed DNS for a domain, below are the records necessary to get SmarterMail -- or any mail server -- up and running.

Mail Server Specific DNS Records

There are 2 DNS records that are absolutely essential for running a mail server: An "A" record for your webmail login, and an "MX" record that points to that "A" record. Then, there are a few strongly recommended DNS records that should be set up to make sure the email sent by the domain reaches as far and wide as possible: "SPF", "DKIM" and "DMARC".

A Record

An Alias (A) record is a versatile DNS record type that can be used for almost anything. For an email server, you'll basically want to create an A record with "mail" as the name, that points the IP address set up for the domain in SmarterMail. This is so that people can use "http://mail.your-domain.com" and log in to the webmail interface.

The entry of this record, if using a hosting provider or DNS service, will generally look like this:

MX Record

A Mail Exchange (MX) record specifies the mamil server that's responsible for accepting email messages on behalf of a domain. HOW the MX record is set up depends on the DNS provider, but it basically is its own record type and points to the A record you created, above.

The entry of this record, if using a hosting provider or DNS service, will generally look like this:

The next 3 records -- SPF, DKIM and DMARC -- aren't "essential" records, but they're most definitely and very STRONGLY recommended for your mail domains. There's quite a bit to each of them, and we have a handy blog post -- Understanding SPF, DKIM and DMARC -- that goes over ech is a great amound of detail. Therefore, rather than explaining each, below, we've included screenshots of how they'll look in a standard DNS provider.

SPF Record

DKIM Record

DMARC Record