Can check via webmail but mail client cannot connect to my server

After using Cloudflare for many years, last year I had to remove my site from its shields for a few technical problems. Yesterday, I connected my site again and had a few hiccups, the site went down, came up, etc. All was fine. Now, I can check my e-mail via webmail but my mail client can no longer connect to my server to check or send messages. Among the DNS records, there is one CNAME mail and one MX record with an exclamation mark next to it. I tried to “fix” it by changing the MX record to point to that did not help. I deleted the MX record, which did not change anything. Then I added it back the way it was in the beginning.

The relevant section of the records list is in the image above. I will greatly appreciate your help to allow my mail client to check my mail again.

Thank you,


I fixed the problem temporarily by using the host server name for IMAP and SMTP servers. Is there anything that needs fixing on my DNS records that will allow me to use my servers for incoming and outgoing servers?


You cannot use mail protocols with a hostname that is :orange:. Change the mail record to be :grey:. You should also change the MX to point to that :grey: mail hostname.


Thank you, Michael, I will try to apply what you said. Do I understand that I need to edit the MX record to make it read:

MX mail DNS only

where the x’s refer to the IP number. Or, do I enter the mail server name like:

MX mail DNS only

Thanks again,


MX is always DNS Only, and has to contain a host name, not an IP address. It’s that the target of the MX has to be :grey:.

A mail DNS only
MX @ DNS only

Thank you again, Michael. You are quick!! Much appreciated. I will make the change and hope for the best. I will report what happens.


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Well, I am back. I make the change

@ DNS only

but it does not keep the @ and reverts it to the main domain name.


It is supposed to do that. The @ is a shorthand for the apex name.

Oh, I see, it reverts from @ to the main domain name. That’s one more thing I learned. There is a

CNAME mail proxied

is that correct? I cannot add the

A mail DNS only

it says there is already a CNAME record.

I am in a proverbial Catch-22 situation I think.



It’s not really a Catch-22. You shouldn’t have a CNAME there. MX records are not allowed to point at CNAMEs nor are CNAMEs permitted to exist with any other records (certain DNSSEC records excepted).

  1. Delete the CNAME
  2. Create the A record
  3. Make sure it is :grey:
  4. ?
  5. Profit!

Thank you! As you instructed, I deleted the CNAME and added the missing A record pointing to the IP number of the server. Made sure it was not proxied. I checked my mail client and it works. I can check and send mail with my mail client using the mail server assigned to my domain rather than the generic ISP server name. Not that it matters, but I wanted to fix it and did so with your help. Thank you.


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