How Office 365 manages DNS records

When you set up your domain in Office 365, DNS records are required so that email, instant messaging, and other services work correctly. There are two options for managing your domain's DNS records with Office 365. One way is to keep managing the DNS records yourself at your DNS host (this option is sometimes called partial redelegation). The second way is to have Office 365 create and manage the DNS records for your domain after you change your NS records to point to Office 365 (sometimes called full redelegation).

The domains setup wizard steps you through setting up your domain using one of the two options. Start the setup wizard by choosing Add domain on the Manage domains page in Office 365.

Tip   If you've already added your domain and now you want to switch between the two types of Office 365 DNS management, follow these steps to change how DNS is managed for your domain.

When you manage your DNS records, you edit them at your DNS hosting provider. When Office 365 manages your DNS records, after you change your name server records, the other records are stored in Office 365.

Options for how your domain's DNS is managed

  • If you use GoDaddy as your DNS host, Office 365 can set up DNS records for your Office 365 services for you at GoDaddy. This is the simplest option if you have a GoDaddy domain; but you can opt (in the wizard) to add the records yourself, if you want to.

  • If you use a different DNS host and you don't already have a website that you actively use with your domain, you can have Office 365 create and host DNS records for email and other Office 365 services. We recommend this option, to let Office 365 set up your records at Office 365, because it requires less work for you as you get started. With this approach, you change your nameserver records, and then Office 365 takes care of all the service-specific records, like setting up your MX record for email.

  • If you don't have a GoDaddy domain and you do have a website you're using, the best option is this last one, which is to add DNS records for email and other Office 365 services at your DNS host yourself. You can follow step-by-step instructions that we provide for a number of DNS hosts (choose your DNS host from the list that's provided).

More about the options

In the domains setup wizard, you'll be guided to choose one of these options. Many things are the same no matter which option you use:

  • You can use a custom domain name for your email addresses.

  • You can host your public website on Office 365 or at your current DNS hosting provider.

  • You can have multiple domains.

  • You still must pay your domain registrar to continue owning and using your domain name.

But there are some differences.

Office 365 creates and hosts the DNS records

You manage the DNS records at your DNS host

Advantages

  • You don’t have to worry about making mistakes in the values you enter for the DNS records for Office 365 services.

  • You have more flexibility in your choice of domain registrar and DNS host. Any provider that lets you change your nameserver records will work, even if the provider doesn’t support all the required record types.

  • When Office 365 adds new DNS records, you don’t have to make updates.

Disadvantages

  • You can’t change your DNS records to host email outside of Office 365.

  • If you already use a public website with your domain for its address, like www.fourthcoffee.com, you must redirect people to that address from Office 365. Setting up redirection requires a static IP address, which is not always easily available for public websites.

  • If your current domain registrar doesn’t allow you to change your domain's nameserver records, you have to switch to a different registrar to use this DNS management option.

Advantages

  • You control the DNS records for Office 365 services.

  • If you have a public website with your domain for its address, like www.fourthcoffee.com, you don't have to worry about using redirection to make sure people can still get to your website after you set up your domain in Office 365.

  • You have the flexibility to host email somewhere else, such as with an on-premises Exchange server.

Disadvantages

  • You have to set up the DNS records for Office 365 services yourself (unless you have a GoDaddy domain).

  • If your current DNS host doesn’t support all of the required record types for Office 365, some Office 365 features won’t be available and you might need to switch to a different DNS host. Learn about the potential service limitations.

  • When Office 365 changes requirements for DNS records, or adds new services, you have to make updates yourself at your DNS host.

Still need help?

Get help from the Office 365 community forums Admins: Sign in and create a service request Admins: Call Support

Applies To: Office 365 End User, Office 365 Admin, Office 365 Small Business Admin



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