A common way of handling email for your domain is to use Google Apps.
However, there can be some confusion in setting up the Mail Exchange (MX) records. Let's go through the procedure now.
There is no way of using a 'dummy' domain for this so I used one of my own domains (mov2.net).
The entire process took around 5 minutes from creating a Google Apps account, verifying the domain and then setting up the correct MX Records.
I am not going to go through the whole Google Apps account creation. Suffice to say that you need to go to the Google Apps site and click the 'Get Started' link.
When you select a domain to use with Google Apps, you will need to have it verified so Google knows the domain is actually yours.
There are two ways to do this (full instructions are on the Google site): One is to change the CNAME record and the other way, which I chose, is to create a certain html file with specific content (again, Google shows what to do).
My point is that if you choose the latter verification method, the domain will need to be live. In other words, Google will navigate to your domain and verify the presence of the specified html file.
So if you don't have a working website then you need to sort that out first.
OK. Hopefully you have your Google Apps account set up and you are ready to configure your MX records.
In all, there are five MX records to create.
Perhaps obviously, but each one needs to entered precisely as directed by Google, including having the Auxiliary Information exactly as specified.
Log into the SliceManager and navigate to the DNS Panel:
As you can see, I have my domain (mov2.net) set up and I've created the 'base 5' records (see the Creating DNS article for information on base domain records).
Click 'records' and then 'new record'.
First MX Record
As previously mentioned, there are 5 MX records to create.
Let's start with the first one by selecting 'MX' from the type dropdown box and entering the first record:
In the fields I have:
Auxiliary Info: 1
Note that period '.' at the end of the records for Name and Data.
Remaining MX Records
Now create the remaining 4 records with the following information:
mov2.net. ALT1.ASPMX.L.GOOGLE.COM. 5 ... mov2.net. ALT2.ASPMX.L.GOOGLE.COM. 5 ... mov2.net. ASPMX2.GOOGLEMAIL.COM. 10 ... mov2.net. ASPMX3.GOOGLEMAIL.COM. 10
Don't forget to set the Auxiliary Info to the numbers shown above.
Once you have all 5 MX records your domain's MX records should look something like this (I removed the A and NS records for clarity):
As I say, don't be confused, I removed all the other records to show the 5 MX records more clearly.
As normal, if you have created any records, have a quick check to see if they are correct using the dig command:
dig @dns1.stabletransit.com mov2.net MX
The question and answer part of the output were as follows:
;; QUESTION SECTION: ;mov2.net. IN MX ;; ANSWER SECTION: mov2.net. 86400 IN MX 1 ASPMX.L.GOOGLE.COM. mov2.net. 86400 IN MX 5 ALT1.ASPMX.L.GOOGLE.COM. mov2.net. 86400 IN MX 5 ALT2.ASPMX.L.GOOGLE.COM. mov2.net. 86400 IN MX 10 ASPMX2.GOOGLEMAIL.COM. mov2.net. 86400 IN MX 10 ASPMX3.GOOGLEMAIL.COM.
Well, that looks spot on.
To test the settings, log into your Google Apps email account and send an email to another address (your personal email address for example).
Once you receive that email (which shows that you can send emails!), reply to it.
Check your Google Apps email and there should be the reply you just sent.
All seems to be working and I can now send and receive emails using my domain and Google Apps.
Using Google Apps is a nice way of using your domain for emails without the added hassle of running your own mail server.
Once you have verified your domain with Google, setting up the MX records is very easy.