About MX records

To set up email with Google Apps, you need to direct your domain's mailflow to your Google Apps account. You do this by pointing your domain's Mail Exchange (or MX records) to Google mail servers.

What are MX records?

MX records are DNS settings associated with your domain that direct its mail to the servers hosting your users' mail accounts. These settings are managed by your domain host, not by Google. To make sure mail always gets delivered, you typically create records for multiple servers, all of which can deliver mail to users. That way, if one server is down, mail can be routed to another server, instead. You determine which servers get tried first by assigning priorities, using values like 10, 20, 30, and so on. The lowest value gets highest priority.

For instance, if the domain example.com has two MX records—10 mail1.example.com and 20 mail2.example.com—mail is delivered first to 10 mail1.example.com because it has the lowest number priority. If that server is down, mail is redirected to 20 mail2.example.com, and so on. If different MX records have the same priority, one server is chosen arbitrarily.

If you're unfamiliar with the Domain Name System (DNS) or want to brush up on related terms, see DNS basics and Domain name basics.

Important: Before you switch your MX records...

Before switching your MX records to direct your mail to Google Apps, you need to enable your email service and add users to your account. For a complete list of setup steps, see Get started with Gmail.

We also suggest you see these tips to avoid bounced messages.

Switch your MX records now
  • Show me the steps
    I'm new to configuring MX records and need step-by-step instructions.
  • Just show me MX record values
    I know how to configure MX records with my domain host and just need to know the exact values for Google's mail servers.
  • Verify or troubleshoot MX records
    I've already changed my MX records and want to see if the change has gone into effect or if my records are set up correctly.

Want to test Gmail against your legacy mail program? Instead of configuring MX records as described here, you can route users' mail to both their Gmail account and their legacy inbox. For this and other advanced mail routing options, see Mail routing and delivery.

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