January 27, 2023 - kenshinjeff
mxroute configuration guide
mxroute – Email hosting for sysadmins
Well, that’s not really true, though you do need some webhosting and DNS knowledge in order to set it up. When you perform a search on email providers on reddit, mxroute and migadu comes up quite frequently. I believe mxroute could be more popular as the owner Jarland Donnell is very serious with his IP health. I went with mxroute cos they have a lifetime plan for email hosting and I have 15 domains across 4 different dns registrars. It’s really a pain in the ass to setup forwarding on all the domains just so that people can email me properly.
Protip: mxroute’s lifetime plans are typically heavily discounted on Black Friday.
From Jarland’s interaction online at lowendtalk (he used to run lowendtalk), you can tell that he’s a no-nonsense kind of person. He’s entirely dedicated to serving his customers who wants to send email, and mxroute is pretty strict on retaining their customers. In fact if you see historic posts, people are actually saying that if you send a support ticket twice with the same issue without referring to the online help provided, they’ll just drop you as a customer and refund you. How anyone wants to do their business is up to them, but honestly the documentation needs some serious work.
Hence I have decided to do this post to help myself and anyone who is having issues configuring mxroute. Do note that this is just of my own trial and error and reading the documentation and trying to piece everything together, I’m at no way an expert at configuring this.
I signed up for the lifetime plan:
- Signing up requires you to enter your email, and your domain name so that their system can add a DirectAdmin account (DA for short) for hosting your emails. A user will also be created for you by default, which will appear in all the domains that you add later on.
- Upon payment they will send you an email with really basic information on how to setup your emails using the domain name that you specified in #1. In this email, you will find the:- DA Control Panel user login account,
– Two DNS MX records that you have been assigned,
– SPF record details,
– DKIM setup information,
– IMAP/SMTP server that you have been assigned.To be clear, you now have access to two systems:
– The first system is mxroute’s client area at https://accounts.mxroute.com/ with the email you provided in #1 during signup,
– The second system is the email server you have been assigned via the DA Control Panel.
You would use mxroute’s client area to check your invoices, send tickets, etc. Email account creation, adding domains/subdomains, checking DKIM, configuring SSL for these domains are done at the email server that you have been assigned.
- By default, the DA Control Panel has been setup with the domain that you used to sign up in #1, with an automatically created user account. To begin using your domain to send email via mxroute’s servers, you have to configure your Domain Name’s DNS servers by creating two MX records, a SPF record and a DKIM record. The MX and the SPF records are provided in the email, the DKIM record has to be accessed from the DA Control Panel for your domain.All these are easy peasy if you have some webhosting knowledge, so I won’t be discussing the how-tos.
Q. I see all the DNS entries have been created in the DA Control Panel, does this mean that mxroute will be running my DNS?
A. I have no idea. What I assume is that mxroute uses the DA Control Panel as an interface to manage the email domains, email accounts and the SSL cert generation, so I still used my current DNS host for my domain name, and merely added the 2 MX records, SPF, DKIM and a CNAME to customise the mail server to my own.
Q. So if I want to have “email.mydomain.com” as my mail server, instead of the “mail.mydomain.com” that has been created automatically in the DA Control Panel, what should I do?
- You have to first add “mydomain.com” using the DA Control Panel (Account Manager > Domain Setup),
- Add a CNAME on your dns server, “email.mydomain.com” pointing to the email server that is found in #1,
- Create a subdomain in the DA Control Panel (Account Manager > Subdomain Management),
- Wait for your DNS server to update the CNAME entry,
- Generate the SSL Certificates for ONLY “email.mydomain.com” in the DA Control Panel (Account Manager > SSL Certificates > Get automatic certificate from ACME provider)
Repeat the above if you need “webmail.mydomain.com” as well, but this time you can generate the SSL cert for both “email.mydomain.com” and “webmail.mydomain.com”
Bonus email issue that’s non-mxroute related:
Q. Errr the DKIM that’s being generated by Google is too long to fit into one TXT entry. What should I do?
A. Most TXT records can have up to 255 characters. For TXT records that include more than 255 characters, DNS adds multiple strings together in a single record.
If you’re using a 2048-bit DKIM key, you can’t enter it as a single text string in a DNS record with a 255-character limit. Instead, take these steps:
Split the key characters into multiple text strings.
Put each string inside quotes.
Enter the strings one after another in the TXT record Value field at your domain provider.
Hopefully this clears up some technical questions and you can move on from here.
TL;DR: Use mxroute if you’re willing to spend time on it yourself for the best value email hosting plan, use migadu if you need help.
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