My Email Solution with Domains at Linode

To set things straight, I am comfortable in the Ubuntu terminal, but by no means am I a LAMP guru. I follow directions well and learn quickly, but often need to refresh my memory before attempting to update or adjust something.

I am slowly consolidating about a half-dozen hosting accounts to my provider of choice: Linode. Linode offers root access in a virtual machine, meaning lots of freedom, but also lots of tweaks. I’ve been able to do everything I’ve wanted with Linode, except for one: email.To be fair, I haven’t put much time into setting up email on Linode. I followed directions posted in the Linode Library, but never got things to work. After talking with a trustworthy developer, I decided to skip hosting email at Linode and let Google deal with the mail.

Setting it up was pretty straight forward. I visited Google’s Standard Apps link (here) and set up an account. I verified my primary domain (davidpodley.com) by creating a file with some Google-defined text and gave it the Google-defined file name, uploading the file to my server in the domain root (davidpodley.com) and asked Google look for the file.

I did this for each domain I wanted to associate with this account. To add other domains, I clicked DOMAIN SETTINGS, then DOMAIN NAMES, then ADD A DOMAIN ALIAS.

Finally, I followed Google’s directions and set my MX records through Linode’s DNS Manager for each domain Google was going to handle email for.

Google’s MX records were found through this link. If you use Linode’s servers for DNS management, you can follow these directions to change the MX records:

  • Log into the Members section of Linode (linode.com/members) and  open the DNS Manager at Linode by clicking ‘DNS Manager’ at the top. This should take you to a page that has at least one domain listed.
  • For each domain you want Google to handle mail for, you will need to do this. Select the domain. This will take you to a screen that lists several options. Mine lists SOA Record, then NS Records, MX Recods, then A/AAAA Records. If there are any MX records, remove each one.
  • Once there are no MX records listed, click ‘Add a new MX Record.’
  • You will be taken to a page with a form that says, ‘Add/Edit an MX Record’. In the ‘Hostname:’ field, enter the first address provided by Google. In the ‘Priority’ field, enter the priority provided by Google. You do not need to enter a subdomain unless you have reason to. Click ‘Save’. Do this for each record in Google’s list (again, found here).
  • You will be taken back to the previous page. I click ‘Render’ at the bottom. I don’t know that it does anything, but it doesn’t seem to hurt.

You should be all set. For some reason, when I did this, I had to log into the Google Apps system one more time and tell it to activate the email account. In the Dashboard, it showed that the account hadn’t been activated, so I clicked ‘Activate’ next to the account name and all seemed to work.

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3 thoughts on “My Email Solution with Domains at Linode

  1. Yeah, I use Google apps for my domains at Linode. Google takes a huge load off of my server which is a major bonus. I am however trying to setup Postfix on my server because I need it for a site I’m hosting, it a pain in the arse to say the least and i’m pretty sure I’ve not done it correctly. Oh well… we’ll see I suppose.

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