What happens in the final step of adding my domain to Office 365?

In the last step of the Office 365 setup wizard, you set up DNS records so that email will start coming to Office 365 for your domain. This means that new email sent to email addresses that use your domain will now arrive in Office 365 instead of at the email provider you currently use. The DNS records that you update to make this happen depend on whether you chose, in the domains setup wizard, to keep managing your domain's DNS records yourself, or to have Office 365 manage the records for you. (Learn about the different ways you can manage DNS records in Office 365.)

When you change your email to Office 365, by updating your domain's MX record in this final step of the wizard, ALL email sent to that domain will start coming to Office 365. If other people use your domain for email, you must set up Office 365 mailboxes for each of those people. Otherwise they'll lose any email sent to them at your domain when you switch email for the domain over to Office 365. (Confusing? Learn more about how domains work with email.)

Note: Do you just want to switch a few email addresses to Office 365? You can take steps to pilot Office 365 with just a few email addresses instead.

Video: Watch a short video that shows you how the wizard steps you through setup.

If you chose, in the domains setup wizard, to have Office 365 manage your DNS records, the final step in getting Office 365 set up with your domain name is to change the nameserver (NS) records for your domain to point to the Office 365 nameservers. You make this change at your domain's domain registrar site. When you’ve done so and the changed NS records have updated through the DNS system, you’re done! Your domain is set up with Office 365 services and ready to use.

If, instead, you chose to keep managing DNS records for your domain yourself, you'll set up the domain's MX record and other records for Office 365 services at your domain's DNS host. We provide step-by-step instructions for setting up the records for many DNS hosts.

Note:  Just getting started? Begin by adding and verifying your domain. The domains setup wizard in Office 365 walks you through each step to add your domain to your subscription, switch your user ID (which is also your email address) to use your domain name, and add the DNS records to set up everyone's email to come to Office 365.

What happens if I update my domain's NS records?

What exactly does this step do? In technical terms, changing your domain’s NS records to point to another set of name servers is called redelegating your domain. If you change NS records to point to Office 365, all DNS records for your domain (except the NS records) will be managed at Office 365.

Although your domain is redelegated to Office 365, the domain name is still registered with your domain registrar. You’ll need to keep renewing your domain there. But because the domain is redelegated, Office 365 now manages your Office 365 DNS records for you, including your MX record, Autodiscover records, SPF record, and so on. Office 365 sets up all the records you need for Office 365 services such as email and Skype for Business Online.

After your NS records are updated across the Internet, which typically happens within an hour or two but can take up to 72 hours, email sent to your domain will start arriving at Office 365.

Important:  Please remember! Although you’ve set up your domain to work with Office 365 services, you can’t let your domain expire by not paying your domain name registrar. If you don’t renew your domain registration, your Office 365 services won’t work. For example, email won’t be delivered and Skype for Business Online won’t work at all. Your domain name registrar provides you with information about your domain registration expiration.

How does updating NS records or MX records affect email?

Video: Watch a short video about how DNS works.

Until you change the NS records or MX record for your domain, email addresses in Office 365 that use your domain name (for example, susan@fourthcoffee.com) will still get email messages in their previous email system. Let people know when you’re about to make the switch, so they’ll go to Office 365 to find new email. Their email will stop arriving in their old email system, and start arriving in Office 365. Any email or contacts your or your users already have at the old email provider must to be manually migrated to Office 365 if it's still needed.

Just a reminder—be sure that you’ve added all the email addresses that use your domain to Office 365 before you switch over! What if you haven’t added an email address that uses your domain name and you “flip the switch”—that is, change your domain’s NS records to point to the Office 365 name servers or change your domain's MX record to point to Office 365? If you haven’t added the email address to Office 365 first, any messages sent to that email address won’t arrive. Not in the person’s current email system, and not in Office 365. So be sure to add all email addresses with your domain name to Office 365 before you update the records.

Tip:  Where can you find your email in Office 365? To see your email in the cloud, you sign in to Outlook Web App. You can also set up your Outlook program on your computer to access email in Office 365.

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