If you have a Domain Name and want to use your Email Address as email@example.com, instead of firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com etc., than you need to setup a third party Email Management Service like Google Apps, Windows Live Hotmail / Outlook etc. with your domain name.
Earlier Google Apps Standard Edition was available for free for everyone, but Google has permanently discontinued this FREE service! As of now, the best FREE alternative of Google Apps Standard or Business Edition is Windows Live for Custom Domain Names.
If you want to use Windows Live with your domain for managing all incoming and outgoing Emails, then setting it up is very easy. All you need to do is to follow these steps:
1. Head over to https://domains.live.com/ and click on Get Started Link under Custom Domains:
2. The immediate next page will ask you to enter your domain name for which you want to configure your mail services:
On this page, you need to also select Set up Windows Live Hotmail for my domain and click on Continue Button
3. You should have a Hotmail (@hotmail.com), Outlook (@outlook.com) or Live (@live.com) Email Account, as you need to associate your existing Windows Live ID with Windows Live Admin Center. In case you don’t have a Microsoft Email Account, then you can create one using this link: https://signup.live.com/signup.aspx?lic=1
Select Sign in with an existing Windows Live ID on this page and hit the Continue Button. A new Window / Tab will open and here you are required to sign in by entering your Windows Live Email Address and password.
4. Once you have successfully signed in and associated your Windows Live ID with Windows Live Admin Center, you will see following Review Settings and Accept Agreement Page:
Double check the details and click on I Accept Button.
5. The next page will ask you to verify the ownership of the domain you entered earlier. This can be easily done by creating a MX Entry / Record for your Domain Name:
By entering a MX Record for your domain name, you are not only verifying your domain ownership with Windows Live Admin Center, but you are also activating Email Services for it instantly.
How to create a MX Record or MX Entry in cPanel?
Login to your cPanel Account and click on MX Entry:
The Next Page will ask you to select your domain name, in case there are multiple domain names are present in your cPanel account, for which you want to create a MX Record. Once you have selected your preferred domain name, select Automatically Detect Configuration under Email Routing and Enter following details in Add New Record:
- You need to enter 10 in Priority Field
- You need to enter your personalized alpha-numeric MX Server Address in Destination Field. E.g. anc123pqr.pamx1.hotmail.com
After you have entered the appropriate values in Priority and Destination Fields, hit the Add New Record Button and mail exchanger record for your domain name will be instantly added.
After creating MX Entry for your domain name successfully, hit the Refresh Button present at the top of domain settings page and Windows Live Admin Center will now verify your entered mail exchanger settings for you:
If everything is correct, you can instantly start creating Mail Accounts using Member Accounts Page:
Configuring Server Trust (SPF) for Windows Live Admin Center
You are also required to configure SPF for your domain name, so that other mail servers completely trusts all emails originating from your domain name. Server Trust is also known as sender ID configuration and it will help prevent your Emails from being marked as junk mail / SPAM.
Server trust can easily be configured by crating a TXT Record in Advanced DNS Zone Editor in cPanel:
On Advanced DNS Zone Editor page in cPanel, select your domain name and enter following values in Add a Record:
- Enter your domain name (without www and http://) in the Name field. A period will be automatically added at the end of your domain name i.e. yourdomain.com.
- Enter 3600 in TTL (Time to Live) Field
- Select TXT from the drop down menu as your record type
- Enter v=spf1 include:hotmail.com ~all in TXT Data Field
Now, hit the Add Record Button and you have successfully created a Server Trust for your domain name. You are now ready to use Windows Live Email Services for your domain name.
For logging in to your Email Account, just go to outlook.com or live.com or hotmail.com, and there enter your Username as: firstname.lastname@example.org and type your password:
Additional Tips and Important Notes:
1. Once you have done setting up MX and TXT Records for your domain name, your mail service will start working in few hours. In my case, all incoming and outgoing mail functions were fully active in about 45 minutes.
2. If you are not hosting your domain name with a webhost, than you can still create MX and TXT Records using your domain registrar’s control panel:
I am using Namecheap and if a domain name is using their default name servers, than anyone can configure additional host records for their domain name and its sub-domain. You may want to contact your registrar for configuring hosts records OR browse their support articles / knowledge base.
3. If you also want to use messenger with your domain name, than you need to configure SRV Settings. SRV Settings looks something like following:
- DNS record type: SRV
- Service: _sipfederationtls._tcp.domainname.com
- Protocol: _tcp
- Domain Name: domainname.com
- Priority: 10 (or High priority)
- Weight: 2
- Port: 5061
- Target: federation.messenger.msn.com
For configuring SRV Settings meant for federating Messenger with other compatible networks, you need to have access to WHM (WebHost Manager). If you are using shared hosting and don’t have access to WHM, then you need to contact your webhost and ask them to configure SRV Settings for your domain name.
If you are not hosting your domain name with a webhost, then you can easily set SRV Settings yourself from your domain registrar’s control panel (see domain control panel screenshot above).
4. If you want to verify your mail settings, just after entering values for MX and TXT Records, open Command Prompt (cmd) in Windows and type following lines in it:
- C:\>nslookup -type=txt yourdomain.com – For checking TXT Record settings
- C:\>nslookup -type=mx yourdomain.com – For checking MX Record settings
If you are getting correct values in CMD, then everything is working fine. Try sending a Test Email from your domain name to some other Email Account of yours. If delivery is successful, than the outgoing mail function is working great for your domain name. Now for testing incoming mail function, reply back to the test email you recently sent!