Namecheap offers free DNS hosting for all its customers. Here’s how you use it to setup MX records and CNAME records for your domain name.
What are MX records and CNAME records?
MX records are what tell the world at large who handles email for your domain name. You set them to your email hosting provider’s servers.
CNAME stands for Canonical Name and a CNAME record is used to specify that a sub-domain is an alias for another fully qualified domain name. CNAME records are often used to verify ownership of a domain name at free email hosting providers. They are also used to point the www sub-domain to the main domain although an A record is recommended in this case.
1. Set Authoritative Nameservers
To edit DNS records you first have to delegate authority over your domain name to Namecheap’s servers. This will affect any websites you have on this domain name so consider the consequences.
The steps to switch authoritative DNS servers are:
- Log into your Namecheap account. In the top left corner you will see a menu with your username. Select “Manage domains” from that menu. Then select your domain in the next page.
- Choose “Transfer DNS back to us” from the menu on the left sidebar and confirm that on the next page.
2. DNS Administration Page
Then go to the DNS record administration page:
- Choose “All Host Records” under “Host Management” in the left side menu.
3. Setting CNAME Records
CNAME records are set under “sub-domain settings” on the DNS admin page. For example: if your domain name is example.com and you want to point google.example.com to google.com you would enter “google” in the Hostname field, “google.com.” in IP address/url field, select CNAME as the Record Type and click on save changes. You can leave TTL blank as Namecheap will automatically set one for you.
4. Setting MX Records
To change MX records you will need to know the MX servers for your email hosting. You’ll find these at the email provider’s site. For example the ones for zoho are mx.zohomail.com. and mx2.zohomail.com. Once you have these you make these changes on the DNS administration page:
- Under “Mail settings” choose “User” and “I will specify my own MX records”. Click on “Save Changes”.
- You can now specify your own MX records. Enter @ for the “Host Name” and the MX servers from before. Click on save changes.