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It’s all just ones and zeros under the cover

A Tour of Domain Records for Email

There are growing concerns, in the circles that I travel in, about the use of “free” email services like Gmail, that lock you into a service that may not have your whole interest in mind. The remedy for this is to use an email address with a domain that you control. Setting one up can seem a little daunting for those have haven’t done this: thanks to the wild west that is email, a hodgepodge of technologies have grown up in an attempt to stop the occurrences of spam and impersonations. The result is a series of DNS records that have to be set up for each email domain; each one that needs to be done correctly, lest your emails get rejected or your domain gets blacklisted.

I say this as someone that has experienced this myself: not only for my own domain, but also for a bunch of other domains that I was responsible for. As such, I had to have some understanding as to what each of these record types actually were. After a bit of experience doing this a few times, along with reading up on what these records are actually for, it felt right to put together this tour for anyone else looking to do the same.

This is by no means a complete how-to for setting up a new email domain, but rather a guide of the types of domain records that you will be dealing with. It is assumed that you, dear reader, are setting up a new email domain for use with an online email service, such as FastMail, Protomail or Hey.com. These services should have the tools and documentation detailing the specifics on how to setup a domain for their service. Each service might have slightly different requirements, so it’s always a good idea to read their instructions carefully, and give it a test before sharing your new email address around. Those setting up their own mail server fall beyond the scope of this post, although the general aspects will probably be applicable here as well.

So, without further ado, here are the domain records you’ll need for email.

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