Improved virtual/own domain handling and activation

Up until now, FastMail has always required users to “activate” their domain before it could be used to receive email at FastMail servers. This was previously controlled on the Options -> Virtual Domains screen (for individual users) or Manage -> Domains screen (for families/businesses), where the Active column would start in a “Waiting for DNS” state and only switch to “Email & Web” once the MX records for the domain had been pointed to our servers.

This transition from “Waiting for DNS” to active for “Email & Web” is no longer required.

Now, as soon as you add a domain and appropriate aliases on the above screens, our MX servers will immediately start accepting email for the domain and aliases you entered. This means you can add your domain and aliases, and immediately change the MX records to point to our servers (see our FAQ for the appropriate settings), there is no need to wait for the domain to become active, because it’s active by default at our MX servers.

You will see that the Virtual Domains/Domains screens now have two new columns:

  • Routing
  • DNS

The DNS column can be one of two values:

  1. Ext – the MX records for the domain point to external servers. While in this state, the DNS records for the domain are checked every hour to see if they have changed
  2. Us – the MX records for the domain point to our servers. While in this state, the DNS records for the domain are only checked every day

On it’s own, this column only shows what we think the state of the DNS records for the domain are.

The Routing column can be one of two values:

  1. Auto (Int or Ext) – this is the default option. If the MX records for the domain point to our servers (eg DNS = Us), then email sent via our SMTP or Web servers is routed internally directly to the users mailbox, and the column is listed as “Auto (Int)”. If the MX records for the domain point to external servers (eg DNS = Ext), then email sent via our SMTP or Web servers is routed externally to the MX records for the domain, and the column is listed as “Auto (Ext)”
  2. Force Ext – email sent via our SMTP or Web servers is always routed externally to the MX records for the domain

So now if you want:

  • Email and web hosted at FastMail – Add the domain with default values, and any aliases you want. Change the NS servers for your domain to point to us (see FAQ)
  • Email only at FastMail – Add the domain with default values, and any aliases you want. Change the MX or NS servers for your domain to point to us (see FAQ)
  • Web only at FastMail – Add the domain with default values, setup any websites you want. Change the A or NS servers for your domain to point to us (see FAQ)
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