Ask the Expert

Modifying your DNS to access webmail through Outlook

We're a small business running Exchange Server 2003 that had been hosting our own website. We recently moved our email and website to Network Solutions. We set up our email there and changed our DNS to rout to the name servers.

Our problem is that we cannot access our webmail through Outlook because we cannot access the mail.ourcompany.com address from our offices on our network. We get the feeling that we have to change our DNS on our network from a .com to a .loc. Do you think this is the case?

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While sharing the same .com namespace may be an issue for other applications, you should be able to work around this quite easily by deleting any mail CNAME records in your DNS setup (assuming they exist) and adding an A record (or modifying one if it exists) to point to the IP address of the ISP's mail server. For example:

mail.ourcompany.com A 192.168.1.1

192.168.1.1 is the IP address of your ISP's mail server, but you should find someone who understands DNS well and have them set this up.

If you want to get a bit more sophisticated, you could implement a round-robin DNS for mail.ourcompany.com for redundancy under the condition your ISP has more than one server that you can connect to.

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This was first published in February 2010

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