Continuing on from what I started in the Part 1 post, I’m going to show you how to get set up with Windows Live mail for your domain (assuming GoDaddy, but correlations will be present). It’s easy, relatively quick, and will result in a free service that ought to minimize your mail frustration.
Step 1: Get an account started on domains.live.com
To get started, browse over to http://domains.live.com. Towards the bottom of the page, click get started and then enter in your domain information.
Leave the radio button next to Set up Windows Live Hotmail for my domain selected, because that would be the main point of this article ;)
After clicking Continue, you’ll be prompted for whether or not you want to associate the domain with a new Live ID or with your current Live ID. This is a personal choice, but if I had done this over I would have created a new one. Otherwise, during the setup you’ll find yourself juggling between Live IDs to test out the new mail accounts. Pick your poison, then review the settings and choose whether or not to accept them.
Step 2: Set up your MX Records
Now that you’ve registered with domains.live.com, you should come to a screen telling you about how bad of a person you are because your service is Pending DNS configuration and you have not been authenticated to even be associated with the domain.
So, let’s get that fixed. Now, log into GoDaddy or your other domain provider and get to where you can edit the domain configuration. For GoDaddy, sign in and go to the Domain Manager.
Select the domain your aiming to set up. Towards the middle of all that craziness, you should spot a section entitled Total DNS, and below the section select the link Total DNS Control and MX Records.
As you see above, even with a domain you never use there are some default settings for MX with GoDaddy. This is because they do give you your own accounts, I believe up to 50, and I believe they even allow pop access. If you think you want to stick with this, reevaluate the pros and cons I listed in Part 1.
Firstly, remove all of the old MX Records. No turning back now! (Well, you could always turn back… call support if necessary) Refer back to your Windows Live Admin center window and you’ll see the new MX Record that you need to add. On the MX section back in GoDaddy click Add New MX Record and enter in the information as seen in Live Admin Center. Host name is the Host field in WLAC, and Goes To Address is the MX Server in WLAC.
Optionally, you can add the TXT record to GoDaddy as well, but it should not be required.
After refreshing fervently for a while in the WLAC eventually you will have proven your administrative status (from the GoDaddy changes, not the fervent refreshing). From here you can add new mail accounts or configure the account however you please. Mail accounts will be able to log in at mail.live.com.
Optional Step 3: Set up mail.yourdomain.com
so you’ve got mail, and you want it to be accessibly AT LEAST from your domain right? So now we set up the CNAME to do the redirection.
By now your domain should have authenticated, and you can select Custom addresses in the WLAC. Make sure Hotmail is selected in the drop-down, and hit Add.
An Ajax control will prompt you for the CNAME you want to use, in this case I’ll use mail. You’ll see the page reload and you’ll now have a specified link between mail and hotmail, but you aren’t done just yet.
Pop back in to the GoDaddy domain Management, and add a new CNAME record. The alias will be whatever you chose before and the Points to Host Name value will be go.domains.live.com.
Hit okay, go get some coffee, come back and you should be good to go!