What are MX Records and how to use them?

The MX records are the resources in the DNS that selects the mail servers on behalf of the domain name. Their purpose is to balance the load between different mail servers for ensuring efficiency and better resource allocation.

You can set up multiple MX records to configure the right settings for your domain name. Typically, the table below presents an example of the MX records:


Domain TTL Class Type Priority Host
example.com 1936 IN MX 10 onemail.example.com
example.com 1936 IN MX 10 twomail.example.com


Priority column highlights the preference value that a particular mail server has over others. the lower number means that the particular mail server will be responsible for receiving the mails. If there will be some issue with that mailserver, only then will the other mail server be used.

According to this table, the priority level for both mailservers is the same. It means that the load between the two mail servers will be equally managed.

How to set up an MX Record?

These are the steps to follow in order to add an MX record in a control panel:

First, you have to log in to the control panel of your DNS provider and then click on your domain name. This indicates that a legitimate domain name server must be set up in the host operating system’s TCP/IP settings.

When that is done, configure the MX record on your domain’s authoritative name server as follows:

  • These domain registrars typically offer extra services, such as DNS hosting. So you will configure your MX record using a web-based DNS configuration application.
  • Your domain register, such as Network Solutions or Godaddy, controls the DNS servers.
  • Until the primary server DNS name is updated, email delivery can be directed to the secondary email server in the MX record list.
  • Most DNS servers cache their information for a set length of time to be propagated over the internet to DNS servers where the record is kept.


What is a backup MX Record?

The backup MX record is based on the priority score. The mail server with the low priority would be the backup one. This means that mainly the high preference mail server will be used but in case of any issues the backup MX record will be triggered.

How do MX Records work?

Whenever a user emails to a particular email, MX records come into play. In this situation, the sending MX record will follow these steps:

  • Find all the authoritative name servers for the particular domain
  • Send the query to the nameservers for finding the MX records
  • find the IP addresses of the name servers through the MX records.


Who controls MX Records?

A company where your Nameservers are pointing manages your MX records. All DNS changes, including custom MX records, are done in the Host panel that your domain uses.

All DNS modifications along with custom MX records must be made at the business that hosts your nameservers. Suppose you wish to utilize a standard mail service with a domain that uses nameservers from another company. In that case, you may use the mail DNS information from your standard mail service panel to set up particular mail DNS records at your outside DNS provider.

Want to read on? Take a look at our blogpost on how to use DMARC to protect your sending reputation.