This first steps to configuring your domain at FastMail is to add it to our list of known domains and then setup your email addresses, websites and DNS.
- Add domain
The first thing to do is add the domain so FastMail knows about it. You can do that on the Advanced -> Virtual Domains screen (Enhanced), or Manage -> Domains screen (Family/Business).
- Add email addresses/accounts
Next you setup the addresses you want to accept email for in that domain. On the same screen as above, add any addresses you want to capture (we call these domain aliases), and set the Target to the address you want the email to go to. If you want to capture email for all addresses in the domain, use the special value * (an asterisks) on it's own.
If you're in a family/business, you can also use the Manage -> Add / change / delete users screen to add users in the domain.
- Add websites/photo galleries/redirects
You can set these up via the Advanced -> Websites screen (Enhanced), or the Manage -> Websites screen (Family/Business). Just fill in the parts at the bottom of the screen, and make sure you choose the appropriate "Publish as" option. To make things a bit simpler, you don't have to setup separate example.com and www.example.com sites, just setup example.com, and www.example.com will automatically work as well.
- Setup custom DNS
If you're happy for FastMail to handle email and websites/photo galleries/redirects for your domain, then you don't need any custom DNS. Just proceed below with the "Full DNS" instructions.
If you have a website hosted at an external webhosting service, then you need to set the correct IP address for this. To do that, go to the Advanced -> Custom DNS screen (Enhanced), or Manage -> Custom DNS screen (Family/Business), select the domain and click Select, then change the radio button to Custom DNS and click Change. After that, there will be a new section at the bottom where you can add/delete/change the DNS records for your domain. There will be two records with the Data STANDARD_WEB, change that to the IP address given to you by your web host. If your webhost gives you a CNAME record instead of an A record, see the "Extra tricks" section below.
Each domain has a DNS column and a Routing column. The meaning of values in these columns is:
- 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
- Int - 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 MX records for the domain are, and are useful to confirm that the MX records for your domain are correct.
The Routing column can be one of two values. In general, you shouldn't change this unless you explicitly need to.
- 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)"
- Force Ext - email sent via our SMTP or Web servers is always routed externally to the MX records for the domain
After you've done the above, you're now ready to actually point the domain to us. There are two main ways people might want to do this:
This is the easiest and most common. In this mode, we handle all the DNS for your domain. As mentioned above, the defaults are set so that email and websites/photo galleries/redirects will all just work, but you can use the Custom DNS settings as described above if you need to point to an external web host.
To use this mode, you just have to point the nameservers for your domain to us. Unfortunately we can't do this for you. You have to login to the control panel provided by your domain registrar, and look for where you can change the "name servers" for your domain. You want to make sure therea are only two values, and that the two values are:
That's it. After you make that change, and wait the TTL time of your previous DNS values our servers will then be handling DNS for your domain. Usually this anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour, but it can be over a day in some cases. See below for more about TTL times.
In some cases, people only want email for their domain to come to us, and they want to handle DNS for their domain with an external DNS provider rather than with us. In that case, you want to change the MX records for your domain to:
- in1-smtp.messagingengine.com, priority=10
- in2-smtp.messagingengine.com, priority=20
That's it. After you make that change, and wait the TTL time of your previous DNS values our servers will then be handling email for your domain. Usually this anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour, but it can be over a day in some cases. See below for more about TTL times.
Note1: If you want email for sub-domains to come to us as well, you also need to set the MX records for *.yourdomain.com to the above values as well
Note2: Some DNS providers require that you put a . on the end of the MX server names (eg "in1-smtp.messagingengine.com." rather than "in1-smtp.messagingengine.com"). Try the version without a . first, and if the DNS provider appends anything, try the version with the .
Note3: If you also want to be able to login to your FastMail account at http://mail.yourdomain.com or http://wap.yourdomain.com, then you should also create CNAME records at your DNS provider. Create the following records:
- mail.yourdomain.com or webmail.yourdomain.com -> www.fastmail.fm
- wap.yourdomain.com -> wap.fastmail.fm
You will get a login screen at http://mail.yourdomain.com/. Business/Family users will also be able to login with just "username", rather than "firstname.lastname@example.org" like you have to do at http://www.fastmail.fm.
We recommend you consider hosting DNS for your domain with us (eg. the "Full DNS" instead of the "Email only" solution). Our nameservers are reliable and secure, and our web interface for managing DNS is simple, but powerful enough to allow any number of records of any type.
Unfortunately when you change the DNS nameservers or MX records for your domain, the change isn't necessarily immediate everywhere. This is because DNS entries have a TTL (time to live) value associated with them, which tells systems how long they can cache a DNS value. Usually this value is something like 10 minutes or an hour, but it can be many days. Once a system has cached a value, there's no way to force it to be cleared, you just have to wait the TTL time for the entry to expire.
Generally this isn't a problem, but it can be worth checking the TTL times on your existing DNS entries at your current DNS before you change them to us. One way to ensure that the change over is fast is to do the following.
- Login to your existing DNS provider
- Check the current TTL time for your domain (either NS or MX records depending on what you're changing) and note this down
- Change the TTL time for your domain to 5 minutes
- Now wait the amount of time the old TTL value from step 2 was. This will ensure that the old value expires from all caches on the internet, and any new lookups only have the new TTL value
- Now make the DNS changes you want (eg change the nameservers to point to us, or the MX records to point to us)
- Within 5 minutes (because of the TTL value you set in step 3) all caches on the internet should have the new values.
- At this point, you can increase the TTL times on your domain again to improve overall performance and help be nice on the internet infrastructure
Some website hosting places will only give you a CNAME record to point your domain to, not an IP address. This is a little trickier to setup and you have to be a bit careful. The core rule is: never set a CNAME record for your domain (example.com), this will break email delivery for your domain. Instead, do this:
- Use the Custom DNS screen to set a CNAME record for www.example.com (remember, not example.com, but instead www.example.com) to your web hosting providers server name
- Use the Websites screen to create a redirect from http://example.com -> http://www.example.com
This means users going to http://www.example.com will directly access your web hosts server, and users going to http://example.com will be redirected by us to http://www.example.com.
Sometimes people have multiple domains that they want to basically "mirror" each other. So you might have example.com and example.com.au, and you want any address for example.com to work for example.com.au as well. With email, that's easy to do.
Just pick a "primary" domain (say example.com), and create all your domain aliases and accounts in that domain. Then create a single alias in your alternate domain with the special * value (eg *@example.com.au) and set the target of that alias to *@example.com. Then any valid email address at example.com, will also be valid at example.com.au. Note that this only works for email addresses, for websites, you have to explicitly create the website for each domain, or setup a redirect to the primary domain.
A number of people start off with individual accounts, and at a later stage want to move to a Family/Business account. That's no problem. Just signup the Family/Business, and once you've done that, use the Manage -> Import User screen to import the users into the Family/Business. All the calculations are done on a pro-rata basis, so no money is ever "lost".
You can also use the Manage -> Rename User screen to rename those users into your own domain (eg email@example.com -> firstname.lastname@example.org), so then in the future they can go to http://mail.example.com and login with just the username part (eg "joe") of their account name. After that, users will even be able to publish websites/photo galleries from their file storage area in their own sub-domain (eg for email@example.com, they'll be able to use http://joe.example.com)
In some rare cases, users want to host websites at FastMail, but want to host DNS and/or email for their domain elsewhere. In that case, you should preferably point your domain to the CNAME record "web.messagingengine.com". Because of the issues with setting a CNAME record for your primary domain as described above, we recommend you set the CNAME for www.example.com. If you absolutely must use IP addresses, you can currently use 126.96.36.199 and 188.8.131.52, but we recommend against this where CNAME or hosting DNS with us is possible.
There are two ways of doing this:
- Domain aliases
On the domains screen when you create the email address (alias), although the Target column defaults to your account, you can change it to any email address you want, including external email addresses and/or multiple email addresses separated by commas.
- Distribution lists
To make managing internal distribution lists easier, rather than having to add all the email addresses to a comma separate list, you can manage them via groups in your address book (or for businesses/families, the global address book).
To manage distribution lists, use the Advanced -> Distribution Lists screen (Enhanced), or Manage -> Distribution Lists screen (Family/Business),
If you need to specify FastMail as the technial and/or administrative contact for your domain, you can use the below details for that. Note that this is something you need to specify at your domain registrar. Here are our contact details:
- Organisation: FastMail Pty Ltd
- First Name: FastMail
- Last Name: Hostmaster
- Title: Support
- Street address: Level 1
- Street address: 91 William St
- Post Code: 3000
- City: Melbourne
- Country: Australia
- Phone: +61294750859
- E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org