Does Changing Nameservers Affect Email? [Explained]

Are you planning on moving your site to a different host or maybe change your DNS host? Either way you need to change your domain nameservers to do this.

This might probably lead you to wonder – does changing nameservers affect emails?

The answer is YES. Changing your nameservers WILL affect email.

When you change nameservers, the existing MX records of your domain will be changed to the address of your new host.

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Without the correct records, you will NOT receive any emails! And you can’t send them either! (sort of).

After a nameserver change, you MUST update the MS records.

The only exception is if you are connecting it to Cloudflare. None of your DNS records will be affected if you are changing nameservers to Cloudflare.

In this article, I’ll shed some light on how changing nameservers can affect your emails, and what other DNS records it would change.

And most importantly, I’ll show you how to edit your MX records so you don’t have to worry about changing nameservers.

How Does Changing Nameservers Affect Email?


Here’s how changing your domain’s nameservers can affect your email:

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Email Routing

This change could make your new nameservers actually point to a different hosting provider or mail server, which can REALLY complicate matters.

You will not be able to receive new emails. (More on this in a moment)

Email Downtime

During the propagation period, some emails might get delivered to the old mail server and, at the SAME time, other emails may be delivered to the new mail server.

This period can last up to 48 hours or more!

This can result in what is called ‘intermittent’ email access and result in a loss of email.

Email Authentication

Email servers use specialized DNS records such as SPF (Sender Policy Framework) and DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail) to verify the authenticity of the emails you send.

Without proper DNS records, your emails can actually get marked as spam or even REJECTED by the recipient’s email server.

Basically, you can’t send emails either!

MX Records

The MX (Mail Exchange) record in your domain’s DNS settings decides which mail server is responsible for processing the incoming email.

So, if your MX records are not properly updated when you change your nameservers, your emails will obviously NOT reach your previous email server.

This, as mentioned previously, will only complicate matters even further!

How To Check Or Edit MX Records


You can avoid almost all of these issues by simply changing your MX record to point back to your previous mail server.

To check or edit MX records, you`ll need access to your domain DNS management settings.

This is provided by your domain registrar or the DNS hosting service you are using. If you have integrated the domain with Cloudflare, these settings will be there.

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Regardless, here is how you check and edit MX records:

Go To DNS Management

Go to the website of your domain registrar or DNS hosting provider and log in using your account credentials.

After logging in, go ahead and find the Manage DNS Settings section of the specific domain you want to edit the MX records on.

This should be in the domain control panel.

I can’t tell you the exact location because that (and the interface) is different from provider to provider.

Access DNS Zone Editor

In the DNS Management Console, look for the options along the lines of “DNS Zone Editor”, “DNS Settings”, and “DNS Records”.

Click it to access your domain’s DNS records.

Find MX Records

In your DNS zone editor, find your CURRENT existing MX record. These are usually listed in the MX section.

“Priority” indicates the order in which mail servers are used (the lower the number, the HIGHER the priority), and “Mail Server” is the address of the mail server that handles incoming mail.

Edit MX Records

When you’re editing an existing MX record, you need to click on it or select the EDIT option. You can then change the mail server address and priority to whatever you need.

However, if you’re not sure what changes to make, I recommend that you QUICKLY contact your email hosting provider for the correct MX record settings.

But the address should be right there on the dashboard of the email host.

Add New MX Records

If you need to add a new MX record by any chance – click on the Add Record or similar button in the DNS Management Console.

After that, select MX as the record type and enter the required information such as priority and mail server address.

Save Changes

After making any necessary changes to your MX records, you need to save your updated DNS settings. Click on the save button on the bottom and it will show you a success message.

Now, it might take some time for changes to propagate across the Internet.

So you MUST be patient.

Verify Changes

To make SURE that your MX record changes have taken effect, you can query your domain’s MX records using an online DNS lookup tool or the ‘nslookup’ command in your computer’s command prompt or terminal.

I suggest you do that, just to make sure that things have gone well in the readjustment process!

What Other DNS Records Are Affected?


Most of the time, changing your domain’s nameservers updates all the DNS information associated with your domain.

Name servers are responsible for storing authoritative DNS records for domains, including mapping domain names to their corresponding IP addresses and other DNS records such as MX (mail exchange), CNAME (canonical name), and TXT (text).

Therefore, when you change nameservers, the following DNS information, and many more, are affected:

SOA Record

The SOA (Start of Authority) record is the primary DNS record that contains IMPORTANT information about your domain.

For example, the authoritative name of the domain server, the email address of the domain administrator, various timers in the DNS zone, etc.

NS Records

NS records specify the authoritative nameservers for a domain.

Changing nameservers basically would mean updating your NS records to direct to the NEW nameserver addresses.

A Records

A (Address) records map your domain name to its corresponding IPv4 address. When changing nameservers, most hosts will point this to their parked hosting IP.

If your website or email server is hosted on a different IP address after the nameserver change, you would update the A records accordingly.

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CNAME Records

CNAME (Canonical Name) records create an alias that connects or directs one domain name to another.

Sometimes these might not get updated, but in some hosts it happens.

Bottom Line


When you change nameservers, it will absolutely affect email. You need to update the MX records (and others) after a change.

This is to avoid disruptions in YOUR website and email services.

DNS changes can take some time to propagate across the internet, so know that it’s normal to experience temporary delays in accessing your website or receiving emails during this propagation period.

And you might naturally run into certain errors till the process is fully propagated.

About Author

Lito James is the founder of Massivepeak.com. He is an entrepreneur and marketing specialist who helps businesses to get more leads, subscribers, and customers. Massive Peak has been featured on G2, Cloudways, Sujanpatel, GetResponse, Renderforest, and many more. Follow on LinkedIn | Twitter

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