How-To Add Live Services To Your Own Domain Name

Groovy Windows Live Domain How-ToWhile some organizations have “gone Google,” others have gone Live with Microsoft.  If you’re interested in how you can go “Live” so-to-speak, today I’m going to cover the Step-by-step for adding a custom domain name to the Windows Live services.


How To Add Hotmail, Office, And Other MS Live Services To Your Domain


1. Visit and Type your domain name into the blank box.  Since setting up mail is the default option, we’ll leave it like that for this tutorial.  Click Continue.

provide your domain name to windows live


2. Next, you can choose whether you want an already existing Windows Live account to be the domain administrator or, you can set up a new Live ID to be the administrator account.  If this is a small personal site of yours I recommend the latter* but either option works just fine.  Click Continue once you’ve made your selection.

*It can get tricky when logging into both the administrator account for your domain and the user account for your domain if you are using a single computer.  It makes it more convenient to have your domain administrator be a Live account  Larger organizations may find this option less secure.

create a windows live domain administrator account or use a current live account


3. On the next page, you’ll just review what you’ve typed in.  Click I Accept to continue.

review and accept the windows live domain email terms agreement


4. Live services require that you prove you are the owner or administrator of the domain you are setting up.  To do this, you’ll need to set up an MX record under the domain host.*  I’ll show you how to do this in the article.

*Alternatively you can add a CNAME record. However, this is only a temporary solution, and Microsoft will require you to enter an MX record after 30 days.

you must prove ownership before live services will enable your email, use an mx record as cnames just won't last


5. On your Live domain administration page, you’ll see a box that looks like the one in the screenshot below labeled Mail setupCopy the MX server: line. It should read something like Be careful not to share this address with anyone as it could compromise your email security.

copy the mx server information from your live domain admin page


6. Now login to your domain host (GoDaddy, 1&1, Yahoo, etc.)  Look for advanced options which allow you to change your DNS MX records.  Granted it will be different depending on with whom you host your domain. However, if you’re tech savvy, and you want to take on this How-To, then you should understand how this all works.  If you have questions or need help with some of the steps, however, check out the Windows Live Admin Help Site.  They have a few FAQs in there that should help you also.

Note – Some domain hosts do not allow customers to manually edit MX records, so you might have to contact your hosting company and ask them to enter this MX record for you.

past your live services mx server information onto your domain advanced options page for custom mx records


7. Once you’ve set up the MX  record with your domain host, go back to your Live services domain page.  Give your domain a few minutes to apply the change to the MX records and note that time can vary depending on who your host is.  On your Live admin page, Click Refresh.  If you added the MX record successfully, you should now see a message that says “Your service is Active.”

refresh your windows live domain account


8. Next, go down the Live admin page and copy the Value data from the section labeled Server trust as seen in the screenshot below.

copy the value from server trust on windows live domain services


9. Now you’ll have to go back to your host again and set up a custom TXT DNS record.  Again, depending on who your provider is you may not be able to change these settings yourself, so don’t hesitate to contact your host if you can’t find where to change DNS records.  If you can, though, simply make a TXT DNS record and then paste in the value v=spf1 ~all.

past the TXT value to your domain host


10.  (Optional!) To set up Live Messenger for use with your domain accounts you’ll need to set up an SRV DNS record for it.  You’ll most likely have to contact your domain host and have them set this up for you. Just send them the information under Messenger Configuration from your Live domain admin page.

set up your Messenger configuraiton to use windows live messenger with your domain


Now you should be ready to go.  The only thing left to do is to add accounts and apply a few optional settings.


11. The next step is to add a member account or set up open membership.  Since I don’t like the idea of EVERYONE being able to sign up for email on my domain, I’m going to keep membership closed and just create my members myself.

add member accoutns to your windows live domain email


12. Adding an account to your domain is a lot like making a Live account, just for other people.  To keep things simple for you there is an option to require a password change at first login.  If you check this box you can just give all of your users the same default password and once they start using their account they’ll have to change it to their own; groovy!

windows live domain email account creation


13. Once you’ve added the accounts, your users can sign-in at  It’s just like signing into a regular Hotmail account, except the username will be

how to sign in to windows live domain email


14. Users would be required to verify their information during login and change their password if you opted for that option during setup.

change windows live domain password


Done!  That’s all there is.  You can start up and use email from your @yourdomain with Windows Live from now on.  All of the features are the same as regular Hotmail, and now you don’t have to worry about managing your own mail server which is nice.  It’s hard to find a downside here especially when you consider the free 5 Gig Mailbox and SPAM protection!

your email at your domain from windows live


The same goes for Windows Live Messenger.   If you set up the optional messenger services with your domain, you can now log into messenger using your @yourdomain account.

windows live messenger can be used with your domain account if you set it up



  1. Ian

    Thanks for the tutorial! I am really leaning towards switching to this from Google Apps due to the integration between Office 2010 and the upcoming Windows Live Essentials apps. Of course, I’ll have to wait until 1.) Hotmail finalizes its Active Sync support and 2.) It actually removes the ad at the bottom of the email.

    One question: Google Apps has a way of lagging behind the rest of Google’s services in terms of features and application integration (like how Picasa isn’t yet integrated with Apps). Does Windows Live custom domain service parallel changes in the rest of the Live services?

  2. Marquitta Hookano

    great post I found it on msn while doing research on server racks.

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