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Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Creating your own, unique email id - Microsoft's Live Domain

Please click here if you wish to create you own, unique e-mail id using Google Apps.

The instructions give in this post are best followed using Internet Explorer.

The first one was an outcome of a necessity. However, since creating my own customized, e-mail id using Google Apps, I wanted to take a look at other similar services on offer. One such service is Windows Live Admin Center (will be referred to as Live Domains in the remaining portion of this post) on offer by Microsoft (MS). It was formerly called Windows Live Custom Domains. Just like Google, it offers you the use of all of its services under your own domain name.
In order to create your own, unique, customized email id, you will be making use of 3 services

A Domain Name

When you register with a web-based e-mail service provider, your mail id would read something like, or In these ids, you may replace the example with any alphanumeric characters of your choice, subject to its availability. However, there is almost no provision to change the characters that appear to the right of the ’@’ symbol. This is because, it is the domain name of the service provider who is providing you with the e-mail service. In order to have full control over your choice of e-mail id, you must have your very own domain name. You could choose to purchase a domain name with TLDs like .com, .org, .net etc. For this tutorial we will be using all Free services, meaning, no money requires to be shelled out ;).

Before signing up with a free domain name provider, please ensure that they allow for the use of DNS service and are not just a url re-direction provider. Two free domain registrars that allow for the use of DNS facility are and Of these we shall be making use of a domain name. There are quite a few reasons for doing so - has explicitly stated its support to the use of its issued domain names for use in Live domains, it also allows you to enter the names of upto 5 Nameservers and an domain name is a nicer sounding address ;).

Click here to visit’s website. On the front page you shall be greeted with a box where you can check the availability of a given domain name. Type in the domain name in the box and click on the button labeled Check.


If the domain name is available and available for free, then you shall be greeted with this message in the next page.


Click on the button labeled Continue to registration. You would then be taken to this page.


If you already have an account then all you need to do is filled in the required info to login and then setup your account. If, however, you have not already registered then, click on the link labeled Create an account now. The next page will ask you to furnish a lot of details. My advice to you would be to only enter a valid, existing e-mail id and fudge all the other information. Once you have successfully registered, enter your account. Click on the link titled My account on the front page. There you shall see your registered Domain name marked in Red.


Click on the Edit button. You shall be taken to a page that will have listed two options - Option 1 and Option 2. Selecting Option 1 shall open the Manage Name Server option by default. Click on the link titled [+ Add More Name Servers] twice, creating a total of 5 empty boxes. In those boxes enter the following informations -,,, and The reason for entering those information shall be explained later.

(click on the image to see a larger sized image)


Once this is done, click on the box labeled Setup domain. You will next be taken to a page where the Name servers you had entered here will be listed out.


Your work in your account’s control panel is over. You may now safely log out.

A DNS Nameserver service - [Part 1]

A DNS server links your domain name to your corresponding host to which data is being sent. One such popular, free DNS service provider is EditDNS. Registering for an account in EditDNS is a complete no-brainer. I shall leave it to you to figure it out. Once registered, log in. On logging in you will be greeted with a page that will ask you to put up its banner on your site. Leave that aside for a while and click on the link titled Control Center. First time you enter the Control Center, you will observe that the page is divided into two parts. On the right side of the page you will see a box labeled Domain Name. Type in the address of your domain name and click on the Add button.


On clicking the button, you shall be taken to a page informing you of the successful addition of the domain name. Scroll down the page to the section titled Additional Services. Click on the link labeled [EU+US].


By clicking on it, you enable the option of using their Nameservers located in both the United States and Europe. It is a good practise to have your Name servers located in Geographically different locations. Accordingly, on clicking the link you shall be taken to a page where you will be asked to enter the following entries of Nameservers in your domain registrar’s control panel -,,, and This is something we had already entered earlier. Scroll down that page and you shall see your domain records.

(click on the image to see a larger sized image)


Delete the dummy A-records present in the list. Your work in the EditDNS control panel is over for the time-being. You may log out.

Windows Live Admin Center - [Part 1]

It is a service offered by Microsoft, where you can associate your domain name with the products and services offered by it. Some of them are mail (Hotmail), blog (Space), map (Maps) etc. Thus, you would be sending emails using the same technology and interface as that of hotmail, but instead of an address, people recieving and sending mail will be encountering an address. It also enables collaborative efforts between users of these services of one domain name.

Click here to get started. The first page will ask you to enter the domain name with which you wish to use the service. Select the Set up Windows Live Hotmail for my domain option there.


Assuming that you do not have a Live ID, you will have to create one. On the next page you shall be asked to furnish a lot o details. My suggestion, provide a genuine e-mail id and fudge all the other details (alternate e-mail id need not be provided, but it is safer if you do). One done, you will be asked to reviews the entered data.


On confirming, you will then be taken to your domains account settings page. The fact that your page looks so jaundiced is because, the DNS records for your domain has not yet been set up. Note down the information pertaining to MX Record, Text Record and SRV record pertaining to your account.

(click on the image to view a larger sized image)


So now with the record information we have been provided, we will have to go back to our Edit DNS account and update our Domain records. In order to use the services, we will initially have to add the following entries to our Domain records. The information pertaining to each are as follows.

1 MX record [required]

MX server: (You may be allotted a different server)
TTL: 3600 or 1 hour
Priority: 10 (or High priority)

1 Text record [recommended]

Value: v=spf1 ~all
TTL: 3600 or 1 hour (if requested)

1 SRV record [not required for this post, but will be added nevertheless]

Value: 10 2 5061

A DNS Nameserver service - [Part 2]

Log back into your EditDNS account and enter your Control Center. Once there, click on the likn labeled Modify in front of your domain name. It will take you to the page where your domain records can be updated. The entries to your domain records have to be added through a section that looks lke this.

(click on the image to see a larger sized image)


Just enter the following info corresponding to each record entry in the titled boxes:

MX record

Record Name :
Type : MX
AUX : 10
TTL : 3600 (you may also keep it unchanged)
IP/Host : (Enter the one you have been allotted)
[Click the Add button]

Text record

Record Name :
Type : TXT
TTL : 3600 (you may also keep it unchanged)
IP/Host : v=spf1 ~all
[Click the Add button]

SRV Record

Record Name :
Type : SRV
TTL : 10
IP/Host : 2 5061
[Click on the Add button]

CNAME Record

Record Name : mail (your choice of word)
Type : CNAME
IP/Host :
[Click on the Add button]

(Please note down Record name that you have used for the CNAME record. You will be needing it later)

Once these records have been added, your domain records should look something like this.

(click on the image to see a larger sized image)


I have blanked out the unrelated records. Your work in the EditDNS is over. You may log off. Wait for around 30 minutes before doing anything further.

Windows Live Admin Center - [Part 2]

Log back into your Live domains account. You shall be taken to a page where you will be shown the list of domains you have added. As we have added just one till now, click on the link for that domain name. You shall then be taken back to the earlier page where all the information regarding entries to be added in your Domain records. If you have not been taken to that page, then click on the link titled Domain settings. It may still be shown in Yellow. If so, click on the Refresh button. On doing this the page will look like this.

(click on the image to view a larger sized image)


When you get to view this page, then click on the link titled, Custom addresses, just below the Domain settings link. The page that opens up will give you the option of associating your domain name with its services. since we are looking at our customized e-mail id, from the drop down menu select Hotmail and click Add.


It will open up a pop-up window, where you shall be asked to associate a name for the sub domain that you will be creating for accessing your mail account directly. You will have to use the same word for which you have created a CNAME record in EditDNS (I had asked you to note it down :)). I had entered mail in my EditDNS records. So I type it in accordingly.


Once this has been added, the next page would look something like this.

(click on the image to view a larger sized image)


You are being instructed to add a CNAME record in your Domain setup. You have already done that. So your account has been pretty much setup. (Just verify the server to which the CNAME record should point to. If it is different from, then go back to EditDNS and delete the existing CNAME record and add the correct one.). Wait for around 15 minutes (a safe time frame). Go back to the Domain Settings page and click on the Refresh button. The page will now reflect the changes you have made to your Domain records.

(click on the image to view a larger sized image)


When you are able to see this page, it would mean that Microsoft has successfully verified that you have added the correct domain records for using its services. With the service now successfully setup, it is time for you to start adding accounts and usernames who would be using your customized e-mail id. Click on the Member accounts link. On the page that will open up, click on the button labeled Add.


You will then have to furnish some details. My suggestion again. Except for the desired e-mail id, fudge all the other remaining info.

(click on the image to view a larger sized image)


Once done, you shall be taken to the page listing out the number of accounts created and its identitites.

(click on the image to view a larger sized image)


You can create a number of ids for different people who would be interested in using the customized ids and it would be reflected here. Now all that remains, is for you to access your newly created, freshly baked e-mail account and start sending out e-mails to the world announcing your arrival. Wait for around 24 hours for your domain records to propogate (a safe time frame). You can now access the login page by typing in the assigned url (, in my case). You shall be taken to the login page.

Login here


Fill in some MORE info


Welcome to your new inbox with a customized e-mail id to boot (look top right)


By following the above instructions, you will have a fully functional, unique, customized e-mail id. Explore the service to know more about its features and try out its services all being offered to you for free.

Note : I wanted to talk about Open memberships and accessing multiple accounts from a single account. However the length of this post and the ache in my fingertips, caused by incessant typing, has prompted my to postpone it for another post. They are small but useful features. But it should not stop you from using your e-mail account in its current form.

If you have any queries, feel free to add them in the comments. I would be glad to address them.