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Migrating e-mail from Plusnet POP3 to Microsoft Office 365

Logiebs
Newbie
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎29-01-2015

Migrating e-mail from Plusnet POP3 to Microsoft Office 365

I am trying to migrate my clients POP3 Plusnet (well Force9) e-mail system to Office 365 and am having a few issues with the Plusnet/Force9 domain control panel and proving domain ownership to Microsoft so I can configure the Office 365 setup before I swap the mail over.
I have done this before many times with other domain hosts and the two methods Microsoft allow you to verify domain ownership are to add a txt record to the domain which is flat out denied by the control panel or to add a dummy MX record with a lower preference than the main record. You can then setup your mailboxes, Outlook clients and mobile devices on the new environment whilst still accessing the old mail system before swapping the MX record over completely to Office 365 so the client gets practically zero time with mail outages.
My issue is that this does not seem to work with the PlusNet domain control panel. Firstly there is an existing record there that is hidden, when you query the domain using MXtoolbox.com or NWTools.com you see a MX record already existing for mx.avasin.plus.net with a priority of 10 but like I say this does not show up. I have added the required MX record for Office 365 of ms89787398.msv1.invalid with a priority of 32767  on the control panel it is actually ms89787398.msv1.invalid. i.e. it has the extra . on the end as required) but that was done 18 hours ago and still doesn't show up. A CNAME for autodiscover I added the same time is working fine but it seems to be ignoring the MX record altogether.
My fear is that this is caused by the option on the main domain management page that declares "I wish to collect my mail using POP3" and if this is not changed to "I wish to specify DNS records for mail to this domain" it will just ignore whatever I put in as MX records. However I see nowhere that if I do make that change whether or not their current POP3 system will continue running as long as there is a record for that mx.avasin.plus.net in place with the highest priority , it also states that by making that change mail WILL be down for 12 hours.
I don't want to take the existing mail down until I am ready as frankly that not a very good service. So in short can I add a MX record to prove domain ownership to Microsoft without taking down the existing POP3 mailboxes their business relies on? Attached is a screenshot from the O365 portal showing the issue I am having yet when you look on the control panel that record is all present and correct. Any assistance on this is gratefully received.
7 REPLIES 7
bobpullen
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Re: Migrating e-mail from Plusnet POP3 to Microsoft Office 365

Quote from: Logiebs
... the two methods Microsoft allow you to verify domain ownership are to add a txt record to the domain which is flat out denied by the control panel or to add a dummy MX record with a lower preference than the main record.

Quote from: Logiebs
My issue is that this does not seem to work with the PlusNet domain control panel.

The customer-facing Domain Control System doesn't support TXT records. The second option should be feasible though.
Quote from: Logiebs
My fear is that this is caused by the option on the main domain management page that declares "I wish to collect my mail using POP3" and if this is not changed to "I wish to specify DNS records for mail to this domain" it will just ignore whatever I put in as MX records.

I suspect your fears are well-founded. To my knowledge, selecting the POP3 option will override any custom MX records you have configured.
Quote from: Logiebs
However I see nowhere that if I do make that change whether or not their current POP3 system will continue running as long as there is a record for that mx.avasin.plus.net in place with the highest priority , it also states that by making that change mail WILL be down for 12 hours.

The system was never designed to be used like this, so it's certainly not something I'd normally recommend. Having said that, I /think/ your domain being hosted with us is all that's required for the delivery servers (and thus your POP3 boxes) to accept email for it. If that's true, then simply toggling to 'I wish to specify DNS records for mail to this domain' should be enough (I see you've already added the mx.avasin.plus.net record).
I have just tried doing this for one of my own domains, so if you can hang fire for another day or two, then I'll have more confidence in the outcome?

Bob Pullen
Plusnet Product Team
If I've been helpful then please give thanks ⤵

Logiebs
Newbie
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎29-01-2015

Re: Migrating e-mail from Plusnet POP3 to Microsoft Office 365

Bob you are an absolute star my friend if you could keep me updated I would very much appreciate  it.
Can only think this is something you will come across more and more with small businesses the way MS is forcing everyone down the O365 route via their pricing and having a simple guide for poor MSP's like myself would be greatly beneficial.
bobpullen
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Re: Migrating e-mail from Plusnet POP3 to Microsoft Office 365

Quote from: Bob
Quote from: Logiebs
However I see nowhere that if I do make that change whether or not their current POP3 system will continue running as long as there is a record for that mx.avasin.plus.net in place with the highest priority , it also states that by making that change mail WILL be down for 12 hours.

The system was never designed to be used like this, so it's certainly not something I'd normally recommend. Having said that, I /think/ your domain being hosted with us is all that's required for the delivery servers (and thus your POP3 boxes) to accept email for it. If that's true, then simply toggling to 'I wish to specify DNS records for mail to this domain' should be enough (I see you've already added the mx.avasin.plus.net record).
I have just tried doing this for one of my own domains, so if you can hang fire for another day or two, then I'll have more confidence in the outcome?

I'm afraid it's not looking good. The DNS has propagated however the inbound servers are not accepting mail for the domain:
localpart@xxxxxxxxx.co.uk
avasin07.plus.net #<avasin07.plus.net #5.0.0 smtp;550 Invalid Recipient localpart@xxxxxxxxx.co.uk> #SMTP#

Checking the mail database, there are no entries for the domain whatsoever. Without these, the inbound servers won't accept messages for POP3 delivery.

Bob Pullen
Plusnet Product Team
If I've been helpful then please give thanks ⤵

Logiebs
Newbie
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎29-01-2015

Re: Migrating e-mail from Plusnet POP3 to Microsoft Office 365

Thanks Bob so it looks like there is no way to prove domain ownership to Microsoft Office 365 without crippling the existing POP3 mailboxes so any migration to Office 365 from plusnet has to be done with a big bang approach and guaranteed downtime.
Can you please confirm that once you made the change to the mail system from POP3 to DNS that the MX Records you created became visible to the standard tools like MXToolbox and NWTools? If they can see it then I can be happy that Office 365 will see it and short of the customer having a longer period of downtime than I would have liked the project should proceed fine.
Again many thanks for testing this Bob may not have been the answer I was looking for but if you can confirm the above at least I know the process is sound.
bobpullen
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Re: Migrating e-mail from Plusnet POP3 to Microsoft Office 365

Quote from: Logiebs
Can you please confirm that once you made the change to the mail system from POP3 to DNS that the MX Records you created became visible to the standard tools like MXToolbox and NWTools?

They will but it's dependent on two things. DNS propagation and the execution of our DNS update scripts. I believe the latter run every four hours or so, although a switch from POP3 to manual DNS may mean waiting for the overnight refresh which I believe happens post midnight.
Not ideal, I know Undecided

Bob Pullen
Plusnet Product Team
If I've been helpful then please give thanks ⤵

Logiebs
Newbie
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎29-01-2015

Re: Migrating e-mail from Plusnet POP3 to Microsoft Office 365

OK so we are looking like if I make the change on a Friday evening after normal business hours say 7pm then on the Saturday morning at some point I should be OK to see the new MX records, prove ownership and create all the users/mailboxes to get mail flow working. I know DNS propagation can take "up to 48 hours" but in this day and age I seldom see more than 2 hours for the UK to update once the records are in place.
At least that way they should only miss out on one nights mail and a visit back out on Monday morning to set the clients up will download any mail that arrived over the weekend and get them on the new system. It's looking like the lesser of two evils as transferring the domain would cause an outage for most likely even longer on a live domain currently using the live POP3 boxes.
Thanks again for testing this Bob do appreciate it but have a word and get them to update the system  Wink
bobpullen
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Posts: 14,877
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Re: Migrating e-mail from Plusnet POP3 to Microsoft Office 365

I'd say that approach sounds fairly sensible.

Bob Pullen
Plusnet Product Team
If I've been helpful then please give thanks ⤵