When I changed DNS servers, client lost email - help!
July 8, 2010 11:38 AM   Subscribe

IT Filter: When I switched my client's domain name DNSs to point to a new hosting account, they lost incoming email capabilities. Halp! (More inside)

I'm a web designer and I was just hired to create a new website.

My client has a domain name already - it's registered at register.com. I bought them a hosting account at godaddy.com.

Last night, I logged into their register.com account and switched the DNSs to point to the godaddy.com hosting account. The DNSs were NOT the default register.com DNSs- they were DNSs for the client's email account with att.net.

Today, the client cannot receive incoming email - people are calling the client to let them know that their emails are bouncing back.

I spoke to a register.com CSR and was told that I need to contact my client, determine who their email provider is, and get the MX records for this domain name, then change the MX settings on godaddy.com.

Problem is, I'm not a technical person, so even with the directions I received from the CSR, I'm unsure exactly what steps I need to take to restore my client's incoming email. I don't even know, for example, what an MX record looks like, or who to contact to get one.

Thanks in advance for your help!
posted by halfguard to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Do you remember what the original nameservers were in register.com? If you do, they probably still have records for their domain. From the command line you can do this:

set type=mx
server original.name.server

That should give you the client's original MX record that you can put into the GoDaddy account. Otherwise you'll have to contact at&t and ask them what the mx records should be. It might even be a support question on their website. MX records are just host names. Godaddy's interface should allow you to add them easily.
posted by mikesch at 11:50 AM on July 8, 2010

You need to contact the previous DNS host and find out how to change the MX records. You then need to do a copy and paste in your Dotster account. All these places have different dashboards, so there's no telling what the interface is like. I bet a CSR with your previous DNS host will be able to walk you through it.

You might want to transfer everything to how it was before, so they can at least get mail back and running.
posted by geoff. at 11:54 AM on July 8, 2010

You need to get your client's att.net account details and go to them to find out the MX settings you'll need.

Here is GoDaddy's Help page for MX records.

If it is all too much to absorb, you need to instead restore the original DNS settings at register.com and take the time to learn exactly what you need to do before trying again.
posted by rocketpup at 11:54 AM on July 8, 2010

Yea, odinsdream has it. GoDaddy is fresh hot hell for anything but the most casual usage. Fresh. hot. Hell. If you can do the A-record and avoid having to deal with godaddy's...hell, then do it.

also, run screaming from godaddy while you can.
posted by TomMelee at 12:45 PM on July 8, 2010

You've gotten good responses here, but just to answer some of your direct questions: an MX (mail exchanger) record indicates what machine is in charge of handling incoming mail addressed to a domain. That machine can be any machine anywhere, as long as it's willing to accept and deliver the mail. An MX record looks something like this:
example.com. MX 10 mailserver.example.com.
The "10" is a priority, it only means something if there are multiple mail servers for this domain, so you can probably ignore it. Other than that, this record means: "If you have some mail addressed to someuser@example.com (the left hand side of the record), then you can deliver it by connecting to mailserver.example.com (the right hand side)".

In your case, you just want to make sure that you still have an MX record pointing to whatever machine it was pointing to before. (Unless you didn't have one at all, in which case you effectively had one saying "example.com MX 10 example.com", and you can just create that explicitly.) It might be, e.g., "example.com MX 10 bigmailserverforcustomers.att.com".
posted by hattifattener at 1:36 PM on July 8, 2010 [1 favorite]

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