Add your domain to Office 365 when you want to manage your own DNS records

When you set up your domain with Office 365 Small Business, we recommend that you choose to have Office 365 manage your DNS records. We then guide you to update the name server (NS) records for your domain to point to Office 365-hosted name servers so Office 365 can manage the DNS records for your domain. Office 365 then creates all the DNS records that are required for the domain to work with email, IM, and your public website. This simplifies the process of setting up Office 365.

However, if you want to manage your own DNS records at your hosting provider, you can. This might be helpful if:

  • You’re under restrictions enforced by your domain registrar or DNS hosting provider.
  • You have specific technical needs that require you to continue to host the DNS for your domain with your current provider. For example, you may want to pilot Office 365 with a few users, while others remain with your existing email provider.

These steps are intended for advanced users who are familiar with managing DNS. When you configure Office 365 services at your DNS hosting provider, there are extra steps required.

 Important   

In this article


Prepare before you set up your domain

Before you add your domain, keep in mind the following.

  • To add a domain, you must have already registered the domain and have the sign-in credentials for your DNS hosting provider and domain name registrar. These are often the same company, but they can be different companies.
  • If you don’t have a custom domain name, you can buy a domain from a domain name registrar.
  • If you already have a domain but you don’t have the sign-in credentials at your DNS hosting provider and domain name registrar, contact the person who registered the domain name. Or follow these steps to find out where your domain is registered and where your DNS is managed.
  • If you are currently using custom domains in a different Microsoft cloud service, you can’t add the same domains to Office 365.
  • When you confirm to Office 365 that you own your domain, you add a DNS record at your DNS hosting provider and have to wait for the record to update through the DNS system. This usually takes about 15 minutes but can take up to 72 hours.
  • Please remember! Although you set up your domain to work with Office 365, 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 Lync Online won’t work. Your domain name registrar will notify you when your domain registration is about to expire.

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Set up your domain

To begin setting up your custom domain in Office 365, you do one of the following on the Admin page.

  • If you haven’t yet set up a custom domain, on the Getting Started pane, click Email address.
  • If you’re setting up an additional domain, under Domains, click Manage your website and email domains, and then click Add a domain.

In the wizard, do the following.

  1. Follow the steps to confirm with Office 365 that the domain you’re setting up belongs to you.
  2. After your domain is verified, when given the choice of setup options, select Set up and manage DNS yourself.
  3. The wizard guides you through setting up the DNS records, and you can follow the step-by-step instructions to create DNS records for Office 365 at your DNS hosting provider to set up email and other Office 365 services.

 Tip    After you set up your domain in Office 365, you can change your default domain for new email addresses.

To check the status of your domain, on the Domains page, select the domain, and then, on the Domain properties page, click Troubleshoot domain.

You can troubleshoot issues after changing your domain name. If your changes still aren’t working properly, contact the Office 365 Community.

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Extra steps required when you manage your DNS records at your DNS hosting provider

You need to do some extra steps if you manage DNS records at your DNS hosting provider:

  • SharePoint Online: If you set up Office 365 to host your public website, the DNS records that are required to route traffic to Office 365 won’t be created automatically by Office 365. You’ll have to manually create those records at your DNS provider.
  • DNS manager: Office 365 Small Business provides DNS management tools that you can use to add your own custom DNS records. However, if you create, or have already created, custom records by using this tool, because the NS records for your domain haven’t been redirected to Office 365, the custom records won’t work. You must create, or re-create, any custom records at your DNS hosting provider.
  • Future Office 365 updates: When we add new services to Office 365, we won’t be able to automatically add the DNS records that are required for the services to work with your domain. To use the new services, you must manually add the DNS records at your DNS hosting provider.

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Reference: Office 365 DNS records

For reference, the following DNS records are the records required for Office 365 services to work properly.

Follow the provided step-by-step instructions (provided for many popular DNS hosting providers) to add and update the DNS records. After you complete the steps and after the DNS records have updated through the DNS system, your domain is ready to use with Office 365 services.

Service Required DNS records Purpose
Exchange Online MX record Configures email routing
Exchange Online CNAME record Autodiscover record that is used to help users easily set up a connection between Exchange Online and users’ Outlook desktop client or mobile email client.
Exchange Online TXT/SPF record Specifies that outlook.com, the domain used by the Office 365 mail servers, is authorized to send mail on behalf of your domain. Create this SPF record to help prevent your outbound mail from being flagged as spam.
Lync Online SRV record Required to support instant messaging and presence in Outlook Web App, signing into a meeting as a guest with Lync Web App, communicating with Lync users in other organizations, and communicating with Skype users.
Lync Online CNAME record Autodiscover record that is used to help users easily set up a connection between the Lync desktop client and Lync Online.
Lync Online CNAME record Autodiscover record that is used to help users easily set up a connection between the Lync mobile client and Lync Online.
SharePoint Online A record Routes traffic to your public SharePoint Online website
SharePoint Online “www” CNAME record Routes traffic to your public SharePoint Online website
Office 365 CNAME record Routes sign-in to the appropriate sign-in server.

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Applies to:
Office 365 Small Business admin