What is an MX Record?

The MX record means Mail eXchanger record. It specifies the mail server, responsible for accepting e-mail messages.

MX records are composed of two parts: the priority and the name of the mail server. When using multiple MX records, the lowest priority value is more preferred.

The MX record has the following look in your ClouDNS Control Panel:

Host: Type: Points to: TTL
hostname.com MX 0 theaddress.of.the.mailserver 1 Hour

Why do you need an MX record?

The answer to that question quite obvious. If there aren't any MX records for your domain, or if your MX records are pointed to a wrong location, you won't be able to receive emails. From this point of view, in order to have a faultless receiving mail service, the proper MX configuration is a must.

How to create a DNS MX record?

Go to your DNS zone management page and click on Add new record. Type, as follow:
Type: MX
TTL: 1 Hour
Priority: from 0 to 65535 (The priority of the target host, lower value means more preferred.).
Points to: theaddress.of.the.mailserver

How to add an MX Record - Step by Step video:

How to start managing MX records for your domain name?

  1. Open free account from here - free forever
  2. Verify your e-mail address
  3. Log into your control panel
  4. Create new Master DNS from the [add new] button - read more here
  5. Add the MX records you need as it is described in this article

MX records check

Here are several different ways to check MX records:

If you are a Linux or macOS user, you can check your MX records via DIG as follows:

$ dig MX example-domain.com

If you are a Windows user, you could check your MX records via nslookup. Here is an example:

$ nslookup -query=mx example-domain.com

Alternatively, you could use our Free DNS tool and check your DNS records just with several clicks.

Support of MX records

ClouDNS provides full support for MX records for all our DNS services, including the listed below. Just write to our technical support, if you need any assistance with your MX records configuration. Our Technical Support team is online for you 24/7 via live chat and tickets.

MX Record Priority

Creating multiple MX records with different priorities is a great way to balance the load and avoid potential outages. Mail is directed to the MX record with the lowest priority or equally across the group of servers if they have the same priority.

Note that lower numbers mean higher priority. So, the highest priority possible is "0". Let's look at the following example: 

  • Mail server 1: Priority 10
  • Mail server 2: Priority 20
  • Mail server 3: Priority 30

In this example, emails will be sent to the lowest priority server, meaning Mail server 1. Yet, if it is overwhelmed or experiences an outage, the email will be directed to the following Mail server 2.


Question: Do I need an "A" record for my mail server alongside with my domain's MX records?

Answer: If the mail server is part of the same domain namespace (lies in the zone), then an "A" record is required.

Question: What is the purpose of using multiple MX records with various priorities?

Answer: This approach provides a backup MX record that can be used if the main MX (the one with the lowest priority) is not available.

Question: Can I add multiple MX records with the same priority for load balancing?

Answer: Yes, you can. Setting the priority levels equal to each other will make your MX records to act in Round-Robin mode.

Last modified: 2022-12-07
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