How to Verify a Domain for Use with Microsoft Office 365

Microsoft offers a product called Office 365, which provides many services such as web based email accounts.  It is possible to use various services such as Microsoft's Outlook Web App through Office 365 with your own domain name while having HostGator host your website.  In this example, mail is routed to Microsoft and is then displayed in the Outlook Web App, but website visitors will see your site on HostGator's servers.

In order to use your domain with Office 365, you will need to first verify your domain name, and then setup the DNS records that Microsoft specifies.

Step 1: Gather the Domain Information

First you will need to obtain some basic information so that you can create the DNS record necessary for verifying your domain.

  1. In Office 365, in the header, click on Admin.
  2. Under Management, click on Domains.  Follow the directions on the screen to add a domain to Office 365 (if you haven't already).  If the domain is already there, click on Pending Verification next to the domain you want to verify.
  3. From the table on the Verify Domain page, record the Destination or Points to Address information.

You will need this information for the next step.

Step 2: Create a DNS Record

In your HostGator hosting account we will create a TXT record to verify to Microsoft that you control the domain name.

  1. Login to your cPanel.
  2. In the Domains section, click on the Advanced DNS Zone Editor icon.
  3. In the Name field enter your domain name with a period at the end.
  4. For TTL, enter 1
  5. For Type, select TXT.
  6. For TXT Data, type or paste the Destination or Points to Address that you recorded in the previous Step 1: Verify Your Domain.

Step 3: Verify Your Domain with Office 365

After the record you created successfully propagates through the DNS system, do the following to complete the verification

  1. In Office 365, click Admin in the header.
  2. Under Management, click on Domains.
  3. In the list of Domains, locate the domain you are verifying and click on Pending Verification.
  4. On the Verify Domain page, click on Verify.
    • If the verification is successful, a dialog box will appear informing you that your domain has been added to your account.
    • If the domain verification fails, the changes you made in step 2 (creating the TXT record) may need more time to propagate.  Cancel the verification in Office 365, and return later to attempt verification again.
  5. Click on Finish, and your domain will now be listed as Active in the list of domains.

Step 4: Changing Your DNS Records

Depending on which Office 365 services you wish to use with your domain, different DNS records will need to be changed.  For example, if you are going to use Office 365's Outlook Web App for your email, you will need to change the MX records to direct mail to Microsoft's servers.

  1. Inside Office 365, click on Admin in the header.
  2. On the Admin page, click on Domains in the left pane.
  3. Click on the domain name you wish to setup and then click on the DNS Settings tab.  This page lists the DNS records you will need to set to use your Office 365 services.
  4. You will then change your DNS records in your HostGator cPanel.

Once the required DNS changes have been made, it can take 4 to 8 hours for those changes to propagate (or update) worldwide.  During that time it will start working for some people immediately, while others may need to wait for up to 8 hours.