This article describes how you can start using Exchange Hosting with Smarsh Hosted Services.

You already own a domain name
If you already own a domain name purchased through a registrar, you need to perform the following steps to start receiving email on your new Exchange account. These steps include several options to choose from, depending on the desired DNS configuration.

  1. Add domain to Exchange
    In order to add your domain to your Exchange account, log in to CONTROL PANEL, navigate to Services > Domains, type the desired domain name, then click the Add button.
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  2. Configure DNS
    In order to start receiving mail to your own domain name, three DNS changes should be made:
    1. MX record
    2. Autodiscover record
    3. SPF record (optional)

Settings specific to your account are listed under CONTROL PANEL > Home > Exchange Servers and Settings.
Note: Due to the distributed nature of DNS, any changes made to DNS information may take from several hours up to several days to propagate accross the Internet.

    1. MX record
      The DNS MX record points to the server that accepts messages for your domain name. Multiple MX records pointing to different mail servers may exist for one domain name. In cases when multiple MX records are created, each MX record usually has a priority represented by a number. The lower the number is, the higher the priority of the MX record.

      You may want to leave your existing MX record in place. This is possible, but you will continue to receive messages on an external server (the server your MX record points to). In this case, forwarders should be configured from the external server to the Smarsh Hosted Services server so that users start receiving messages in Exchange mailboxes.
      Read the Knowledge Base article on What is an MX record? What is the correct syntax of MX records? What is priority? for more information.
    2. Autodiscover record
      An Autodiscover record is required for automatic configuration of your mail client. It is also required for some important Exchange server services that will be unavailable if the Autodiscover record is missing. Although basic Exchange functionality (like sending and receiving messages) will work even if the Autodiscover record is missing, we strongly recommend that you create the record to avoid any issues.

      Read the Knowledge Base article on What is an Autodiscover record and why do I need one? for more information.
    3. SPF record (optional)
      An SPF record is an antispam measure. It defines the servers from which users send messages. All other servers (not mentioned in the SPF record) sending messages from user@yourdomain.com are considered to be servers used by spammers. Utilization of an SPF record can reduce the number of spoofed messages coming to your users' Inboxes by increasing the spam score. For SPF record to take effect you need to make sure your domain is not added to allow list in Spam Filter settings. 
      Read the Knowledge Base article on What is an SPF record? What do I need to do about it? for more information.

      Note: we strongly recommend creating an SPF record to protect yourself from spoofing.

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You have several options for your DNS configuration:

    • Make Smarsh Hosted Services the authoritative Name Server for your domain*
      Contact the registrar through which you purchased this domain and point your Name Server records, commonly referred to as NS records, to Smarsh Hosted Services Name Servers. The Smarsh Hosted Services NS servers are:
      • ns2.serverdata.net
      • ns3.serverdata.net
      • ns4.serverdata.net
      • AND ns5.serverdata.net

Doing this will allow you to manage the domain records for this domain from Services > Domains.

*If you point your Name Server (NS) records to Smarsh Hosted Services Name Servers, then you will not have to create the Autodiscover record manually for newly registered domains. The Autodiscover record will be created automatically for any domain that you register in CONTROL PANEL.

    • Make Smarsh Hosted Services responsible only for email for your domain
      If you do not want Smarsh Hosted Services to host your domain name, but you do want us to be responsible for all of the email on your domain, then you need to add/change your Mail Exchanger (MX) record on your current Name Servers to point to Exchange. You should set the Smarsh Hosted Services Exchange server to have the highest priority (lowest number) when adding/changing the MX record.
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    • Keep your DNS and your existing mail server in place
      If you do not want to change your DNS at all and would like to have email flow to the existing servers, then you will need to set up a mail forwarder on your existing mail servers to each Exchange mailbox using the Username.serverdata.net alias. This will allow you to have some users on your existing mail servers and other users on Smarsh Hosted Services Exchange server.
      If you choose this option, you need to link the Exchange server to your existing mail servers. In your Exchange CONTROL PANEL, you need to navigate to Services > Domains, click the domain name you would like to change, and select the Split tab. Read the Knowledge Base article on What is a split domain option? for more information.

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You don't have your own domain name
Your Exchange account comes with a pre-installed domain that looks like accountname.msoutlookonline.net or accountname.serverdata.net. It is a free domain name that is provided as a courtesy in case you do not have your own domain name. Mail Exchanger (MX) records of this domain point to Exchange.

Each mailbox on your account will automatically have an alias set up for the accountname.msoutlookonline.net (accountname.serverdata.net) domain name. So you can start receiving email to your Exchange mailboxes using those email addresses.

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