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Microsoft Outlook Custom Domain vs Google Apps? November 13, 2013

Posted by Ishmael Chibvuri in Latest Articles!!!.

If you are looking for a custom domain email on a reliable host for free, then Microsoft Outlook is the best free solution. Microsoft Outlook custom domain provides free services for at least 500 users (Update: 50 users by default; need more? Ask Microsoft team with your domain name. They are easily adding more accounts) of your small business or organization. If you want to be email provider then Microsoft Outlook for custom domain is also best choice. You may do this without spending a single penny.

Recently, Google has stopped offering Google Apps for free. They charges are pretty high for any type of organisations. Well, I will not compare between the two services in the topic, but just helping you to configure Microsoft Outlook custom domain for free email. But first discuss about the features what Microsoft offers for free.

  • Email hosting
  • Maps
  • Profiles
  • Photos
  • SkyDrive
  • Groups
  • Calender.

All services are free and can be offered from a custom domain or sub-domain.

Setup Microsoft Outlook custom domain for email hosting:

Step 1:

Go to https://domains.live.com/Signup/SignupDomain.aspx. Fill the domain name in the box. If you don’t have any domain and want to purchase then you may buy from any Microsoft partners or buy from GoDaddy, Name.com or Dreamhost are best in the segment.


Don’t forget to check “Set up Outlook.com for my domain” in “Choose mail service for your domain” on the same page [As shown in the image above]. You may also change this setting later, but who want to do that!  Now click “Continue”.

Step 2:

In the next step, you will be ask to setup domain administrator. [A domain administrator will be responsible for all activity in the Outlook custom domain account]. I will recommend you to use an existing account or account from outside the custom domain. Check “Sign in with an existing Microsoft account” and hit continue to login existing account. You may also sign up for a new outlook.com account if you don’t have any.


After logging in to account Microsoft will ask you to review the settings and accept agreement just hit “I Accept” after review it.


Step 3: Verifying domain and set up MX record

To verify domain name you will need to goto your domain registrar and add some records.

Add a txt record which will be in v=msv1 t=example, and

MX record which will be in “example.msv1.invalid”. Note the “example” part will be same.

You may refer to your domain registrar help topics for any help in configuring TXT and MX record. Now you will have to wait for sometime, until DNS is propagating across the globe. It may take from few seconds to 48 hrs. After some time hit “Refresh” button in the yellow alert box. When your domain got verified the domain will be ready to use and you may create your first free custom email on outlook.com platform.


Once the domain got verified you will see a green indicator and active status in the domain dashboard of your account. [As shown in the image below]


Step 4: Create an email id with custom domain

Once your account is verified and active you may navigate to dashboard and click on the domain under which you want to create email/account. Their will be a form asking to fill some info. Just fill those and create your first email id with custom domain. the important thing is “Account name” in the form. it will be the email id and may have alphanumeric, periods, hyphens and underscore.


After creating the account you may ask user to login and accept terms and conditions. Also their will be an account reset question for your users, which will be asked at first login.

Benefits of Microsoft Outlook custom domain over Google Apps!

  1. Microsoft offers these apps for free.
  2. Up to 500 users 50 may be added just after signing up. If required, you may ask Microsoft to increase the number of users.
  3. You may also offer your site visitors to sign up email ids with under your domain.
  4. Outlook.com offers unlimited storage. So, you will never required to delete mail.
  5. You may also offer maps, skydrive and other services from your domain/sub-domain

If you have any query or problem let me know by commenting below. Don’t forget to share this post on Google+, Twitter or Facebook, if you liked it.


  1. Aks says

    December 30, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    Nice Article.
    Once all config is done, How to configure & check emails on Outlook ?

    I dont want to go to live.com everytime & login there on webpage.
    Can we check within outlook software ?

      • JorgeR says

        May 21, 2013 at 4:20 pm

        Hi Anand,

        Can i connect the regular clients to the new accounts created in Outlook custom domain. For example: Microsoft Outlook (hotmail connector for outlook 2013/2010/2007), ipad or Blackberry Z10 vía Activesync?

  2. Liju Mathew says

    January 19, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    Hotmail Outgoing Mail (SMTP) Server: smtp.live.com
    Use Authentication: Yes
    Port: 25
    Use SSL: Yes

    Hotmail Incoming Mail (POP3) Server: pop3.live.com
    Use SSL: Yes
    Port: 995

  3. kawaiikast says

    January 30, 2013 at 11:34 am

    The writer of this post is absolutely spot on, This is awesome post which will help us regarding this issue. Thank you very much.

  4. Marcel Fabri says

    February 6, 2013 at 8:56 pm

    Hello Anand, it’s nice to be in contact with you. I have a doubt and i think you can help me with a Microsoft Custom Domain. I’ve checked all requirements and made a full and clean setup. The service is active and the domain @portalgsti.com is recognized. But, our emails can just send messages, do not receive, in anyway from anyone. Do you know what’s going on? I’m very thankfull for your support.

  5. Vivie says

    March 6, 2013 at 1:18 am

    Hi, is it possible to setup multiple administrator to manage the email domain? It means that we need to prove ownership of the administrators so add multiple TXT records? Is it possible?

    • Anand Kumar says

      March 6, 2013 at 4:09 pm

      Yes, This is possible. I have tested on a domain. ;)

      But there is no official statement about multiple administrator in free “Microsoft outlook for custom domain”. They officially provide this for Office365 suite.

  6. Hemant Kamble says

    March 6, 2013 at 2:26 am

    hi anand thank you foe the everything by using your blog’s information i have setup the windows live account and hosted few website in that for email hosting but from last 3 days i am unable to access my windows live admin account as it is saying That “Microsoft account doesn’t exist. Enter a different email address” i have also tried to reset the password but no use i have also tried to make the new one by using the same login details but its saying the account already exists and if you want we can reset the password but their is no option to raise the request to reset the password i also tried he single use code also but no use i have not received any code from Microsoft yet so i have raised the request by using support system i got on mail saying that we received your complaint and we will resolve the isue in 24 hours but no use now it more than 30 hours i dont know what to do and how i can recover my admin account login details

    so if you can help me out in this

    thank you

  7. Bobby says

    April 8, 2013 at 10:36 am

    Hi Anand,

    Thanks for this post, it has been very useful.

    I have a query. Can I only have a few users using outlook.com? I only need my managers to access email off site, but don’t want everyone to be able to do it.

    Can I leave 10 users on POP with existing details and “migrate” 3 Managers to using outlook.com.

    Will this be via multiple mx records?

    • Anand Kumar says

      April 8, 2013 at 12:44 pm

      The simple answer is NO!

      To receive mails to two different servers/services like Google Apps and Microsoft Outlook for custom domains will not be possible. Which means you can’t have user @example.com and Google apps (or whatever) and editor @example.com at Outlook.com. This is because, email will be designated to highest priority server (unless the server failed to respond). Suppose, Google Apps in this condition if editor @example.com is not configured at Google Apps it will be bounced back and the sender will get some error messages something like this:

      Gmail was unable to send

      However, you may have 2 separate subdomains for separate service. like user @example.com on Google Apps and editor-name @editor.example.com on Outlook.

      • Richard Kitts says

        July 24, 2013 at 8:07 pm

        Hi I am experiencing this same problem how can i resolve this?

        Technical details of permanent failure:
        Google tried to deliver your message, but it was rejected by the server for the recipient domain xxxxx.com by smtp.secureserver.net. [].

        The error that the other server returned was:
        550 #5.1.0 Address rejected.

        • Anand says

          July 25, 2013 at 11:43 am

          Hello Richard,

          There is no solution for having some users on Google Apps and Outlook Email at the same time. SInce you can’t point 2 MX record with same Highest priority.

          Meanwhile if you can separate teams or members with a different subdomains. e.g. Some of your emails address are user@example.com and some have editor-name@team.example.com.

          This is the only possible way to separate users if you have one domain and different mail servers.

      • Tanzy says

        October 27, 2013 at 8:28 pm

        Hello Anand,

        I read your interesting post about free email hosting provided by outlook and I would like to seek some suggestions for migrating from zoho (my current email hosting provider) to Outlook.

        I tried logging into https://domains.live.com/Signup/SignupDomain.aspx and putting in my domain and selected create a new Microsoft account in your domain, ex: person@mydomain.com. and the next page took me to who are you page ? and after filling in all detail and putting in my prefered login id as myname@mydomain.com it takes me to the next page to verify the email address? And doesnt give me an option to create the mx records etc.

        Since I have the email address already active with zoho I could verify my email address and I was able to log in to my email address from outlook but it is still hosted with zoho.

        I just cant figure out how to move my email hosting completely from Zoho and start afresh on outlook.

  8. Gianluca says

    April 29, 2013 at 11:32 pm

    Hi Anand,

    Nice article – what I am trying to do, is to migrate my existing live ID with Skydrive, but without mail service (in fact, my live ID is a local e-mail provider) and I want to:
    1) Migrate my current live ID under my newly created custom domain – e.g. from Gianluca@localprovider.com to Gianluca@mydomain.com
    2) be the administrator of custom domains with the same live ID as I would normally use (e.g. Gianluca@mydomain.com)
    3) have active e-mail service over at Outlook com with still the same live ID (e.g. Gianluca@mydomain.com)

    This seems to be something really unachievable – do you know, how to approach this?



  9. Hosting Peru says

    May 8, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    i guess there is only 50 users you can use, not 500 anymore, check check today, anyway is good, i have tried with outlook “offline” and it works fine

  10. Marvin says

    May 11, 2013 at 4:25 pm

    Switched over Google Apps to Outlook.com/
    Any temp solution for group mailing lists? maybe create an account and forward to emails for time being? like a rule?


  11. larrymcj says

    May 22, 2013 at 12:05 am


    Very helpful article, but for some reason, there are some email servers out there that expect an MX record to point to an A or AAAA record, and if they don’t see that…mail is bounced. I migrated from Google Apps yesterday and so far there about four domains to which I can’t send…and that can’t send to me. Here is the bounce message:

    : Host or domain name not found. Name service error for
    name=xxxxxxxx.net type=AAAA: Host not found

    Unfortunately, there is absolutely no guidance on how to configure an AAAA record at domains.live.com, and I spent about six hours today searching the internet, hoping to find someone who’s done it, and then I could just adapt his configuration with my domains.live.com unique identifier.

    Additionally, if I plug xxxxxxxx.net into the DNS Report box at http://www.dnsstuff.com it brings up two FAILS regarding MX and SOA.

  12. Adwait says

    June 1, 2013 at 3:26 am

    Dear Anand,
    Thanks for this post. Its very helpful.

    I am having problem with verifying ownership of my domain.

    I guess the problem is with my MX records. Microsoft needs me to set TTL value to 3600 but my domain registrar says ‘Minimum TTL required is 14400′.

    Can this be the reason?


  13. Bhavik Kothari says

    June 14, 2013 at 9:43 am

    I purchase domain from godaddy. now I create all my custom emails on hotmail.
    So, Can u tell me which port I use for incoming & outgoing emails?

  14. gytee says

    July 4, 2013 at 7:53 am

    i got a free domain from cz.cc but i have not being able to setup a branded email with outlook, I am having problem with verifying ownership of my domain. please help me on how to do that

  15. venkadesh says

    July 5, 2013 at 2:20 pm

    Very useful Post.
    Is there any console for managing settings related to email auto bcc and more.
    expecting gmail kind of console.


  16. Ejaz Karim says

    July 14, 2013 at 6:02 am

    Hello… Thank you so much for your article. I have successfully set up email accounts but I am not receiving emails however i can send email… :( what should I do?

  17. Lou Zucaro says

    July 20, 2013 at 3:47 am

    Thanks for this great article!

    One problem I’m having is adding e-mails using a custom domain on Outlook.com to Outlook 2013 via POP3 / SMTP.

    POP3 works fine, but I cannot get SMTP to work under any circumstances I’ve tried.

    Everything I’ve found seems to say to use Port 587 for smtp.live.com with TLS. But when I do this, it simply doesn’t work. The test fails and I can’t send out any mail (every time a Send/Receive is performed, I get an error message)

    Any thoughts on why this might be?

    Thanks in advance!

    • Anand Kumar says

      July 22, 2013 at 7:52 pm

      Welcome Lou, Thanks for landing here.

      Have you tried Port 25 instead of 587? Also, for Outlook 2013 POP3/SMTP is not essential as far as I know. (I have used default outlook account so far on Outlook 2013. Not checked for custom domain accounts)

      Use Microsoft Office Outlook Hotmail Connector, Which is already built with Outlook 2013 and can be installed on v2010 or older. download here

  18. Vivek says

    July 27, 2013 at 3:22 am


    Very useful post. Quick question – why do you recommend that we assign an administrator email address from outside the domain (step 2 of your list)?


    • Anand Kumar says

      July 27, 2013 at 5:10 am

      It is not essential to choose the administrator account outside your domain. But, If you already have a Microsoft Account (or signup with hotmail/live/outlook email) then choosing that account will provide extra security layer. Since intruders (or hacker) will never know your Custom Domain Account Manager email.

  19. Joe says

    July 27, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    Is it possible to use a free hosting service to setup mx and verify your domain??? i dont need the hosting for anything else but email.

    Is so, which service would you recommend???

  20. Elliot says

    July 29, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    Hi Anand,

    Thanks for this post, was very useful. I have been using this for a while now but there is one thing that I find very frustrating. I access my mail on multiple devices but none of them ever mark the messages read on the server. I therefore constantly have to go though all unread mail on 4 devices to mark all my mail read.

    Do you know if there is a way to get round this?


  21. Kendrick says

    August 1, 2013 at 4:13 am

    Hi Anand,

    Thank you for the information post.

    I’ve recently added a custom domain on Outlook.com.

    However, I am only able to send outgoing emails, but unable to receive incoming emails.

    Could I have your advice on how to solve this?

    Thank you!

  22. Amita says

    August 1, 2013 at 11:14 am

    How do i get more than 50 emails? I tried posting to forums but it does not post my question – it keeps saying “Sorry the request couldn’t be completed. Please try again later.”

  23. Kranti Mohan says

    August 3, 2013 at 10:07 am

    1. Owns two domain (www.Mayahotelsindia.com older one) & (www.mayahotels.in the newer one).
    USing Gapps mail server for email accounts created on http://www.mayahotels.in
    2. Having 15email accounts on older domain http://www.mayahotelsindia.com.
    3.Our concern is about IMAP limitations of outlook.com
    4. If we swtich over old email accounts of mayahotelsindia.com to outlook.com free email server & use self auto forwarding option in outlook.com email server for each individual older email account (e.g. sales@mayahotelsindia.com to sales@mayahotels.in)
    5.Would there be any issue w.r.t. IMAP sync option in gapps mail server of client machine with other device.
    Sincerely Yours,
    Kranti Mohan T: 00911724688774, M: 9915707030

  24. Joseph Thomas says

    August 7, 2013 at 12:18 pm

    Hi Anand,

    Thanks for this valuable information.

    We are using this free email hosting facility of Microsoft domain. But is there any option to reset the password of an account by an administrator.

    My current situation

    I had created an account for the user and user reset the password and change the security question. Now he forget the password and the answer for that security question.
    Is there any way to reset the password of that user?

    Thanks in advance for your reply.

    Many Thanks,
    Joseph Thomas

  25. ali says

    August 14, 2013 at 3:59 am

    great work. can you tell me how to increase mail account from 50 to 100 or more. ?
    if you can send or post any link/email to which we can contact.

  26. Sumit says

    August 16, 2013 at 8:19 am

    had a query regarding the custom email, let say i go with outlook to create my custom email e.g. abc@abc.com. Now if tomorrow i decide to switch over to google apps to handle my custom email i created on outlook e.g. abc@abc.com. How will i be able to achieve this?will the same mail be sent to outlook and gmail?

  27. Karan Mittal says

    August 30, 2013 at 3:25 pm

    I am using this Mail service already for my domains and my clients.. but I’m having trouble sending mails from PHPMailer… Sending Emails from my CMS Website. It blocks an email ID sending emails from outside.. says “Data Not Accepted” I need to login to that Email ID again to start mails. Are you aware about this?? Is there any settings needs to be done?? OR Outlook.com just don’t allow this??

  28. Bundari Salim says

    September 4, 2013 at 7:27 pm

    Hi, currently I have a web and email hosting account with a provider. I want to use Microsoft Outlook free hosting service. Can I cancel my current subscription after using Microsoft’s free service? My current account has 6 active email accounts, would I need to create a new id for them after migration (step 4)? Would the emails from the previous mailbox automatically appear on the new mailbox? Thank you for your well-written article and advice.

  29. Ramesh savani says

    September 6, 2013 at 5:45 pm

    I have configuring my domain with live.com …I checked email thru microsoft …my problem is that suddenly all previously recd email are recd again….can u help me to rectify this problem….
    Thaks in advance

  30. Zohaib says

    September 7, 2013 at 8:25 pm

    Hi there,

    Great info. Im actually stuck and need your help.
    I have registered a domain and wish its two email address emails to land in ONE outlook inbox…


    both belong to me.. so i want them to land in one outlook account.

    I have created an account, made changed in Cpanel of the website added these mail addresses on domains.live.com and verified the MX, configured the mail forwarding in the Cpanel.. still the emails tend to bounce.. I dont know where im going wrong..

    kindly help


  31. Yunus Maqbool says

    September 13, 2013 at 6:40 pm

    Hi Anand!

    Am getting Pending DNS Configuration. I have created MX record on godaddy.com. When this will be confirmed or do I need to do anything in godaddy.com DNS settings.


  32. Cesar says

    September 18, 2013 at 11:18 am

    Hello Anand – this is great info. Great help. I am in the process right now and I have a dumb question. I just want to confirm this for custom emails example myname@mydomain.com?

    Just confused as I used an existing microsoft account.


  33. rahul says

    September 21, 2013 at 9:19 am

    Hi, Couple of questions >1. Do you know if I change my A Record as www from @ will impact the mail delivery. Does A record make any role in mail delivery ?
    2. In GApps or Outlook when you sign up the Domain you enter are differently allowed like in Gapps you can enter both http://www.domain.com or domain.com as primary URL where as in Outlook it shows www as none editable part.
    if you happen to have your alias mail setup in Gapps are you going to accept mail from abc@xyz.com and abc@www.xyz.com to abc a/c ?

  34. Maurizio says

    September 21, 2013 at 9:29 pm


    I did as explained here, and I had a few mailboxes hosted in my domain, they did not appear in the new MSLive administrator interface. I tried creating one with the very same name, but the email messages stored in the old hosting service were not transferred. Does it mean that my old emails are lost or that I need to move them manually? Thanks!

  35. Jojin Jose says

    September 23, 2013 at 7:17 am

    Dear Anand

    Great article…….

    If I need more than 50 users, What is the procedure ? Where Should I contact ? What is tariff ?

  36. Harry says

    September 26, 2013 at 5:29 am


    I have an question. After creating members accounts. Could we give them permission fo example they can not use their password or delete their account.

    Your earlier reply would be appreciable.


  37. adig says

    September 26, 2013 at 1:34 pm

    Hi. I have 2 domains and i hosted email adresses with outlook. I have problem with accessing too often via pop3. Mail blocked for 15minutes and gives me an error. what can i do

  38. movi says

    September 27, 2013 at 3:22 am

    as you mention if you need more then 50 accounts contact microsoft.. an you tell me how and where we can contact them as there is no clue where we have to contact them and tell them to increase the mailboxes numbers..
    if you can tell me the URL or email address i will be very thankful to you,

  39. Krishna Kumar M says

    September 27, 2013 at 4:49 am

    Dear Sir,

    Thanks a lot, your blog really helped me, when I needed most.

    My email hosting was about to expire in days, fortunately I found ur post & made settings accordingly on DNS Management settings of my domain.

    I completed the settings as guided by you.

    I am able to login to outlook.com with my user id & password.

    Iam able to send emails to others but, mails from others are not coming to this email.

    I tested myself with other mails.

    I guess, I missed some settings.

    Pls guide me, what shld I do to get the emails to this inbox.

    Krishna Kumar M

  40. S. Sujin says

    October 1, 2013 at 4:46 am

    Hi Anandh,

    I have successfully integrate our domain balajipress.com with live.com custom mail server.

    But I need one more configuration to set up. For example, if I click this link mail.sigmacorporatesolutions.sg automatically it will go to outlook.com. Like that if I click this mail.balajipress.com some error is coming.

    Can you let me know with the exact DNS records and values which I want to set for my domain, so that I can do set them for my domain and then it will start resolving accordingly.

    S. Sujin.

  41. S. Sujin says

    October 1, 2013 at 5:08 am

    Hi Anandh,

    Per day how many mails can send through domain.live.com. Is it possible to send 5000 mails per day by single mail id?

    S. Sujin.

  42. Sudip says

    October 1, 2013 at 12:23 pm

    I am on the way to set up according to the aforementioned guide. I just want to know how much time it takes to propagate everything by GoDaddy and how do I sign in to my email account? Go to outlook.com and enter custom email ID and password like Google Mail or is there any other procedure? Please sir give me reply.

  43. Tom says

    October 8, 2013 at 10:58 pm

    Hi Anand,
    Is there a way to pragmatically add domains and add users ?
    I might need to add domains on a regular basis. Also I might need to add users to these domains on regular basis. I certainly don’t want to manually do it by clicking around and logging to the site everytime.
    Is there a SDK/API you know of which I can code for myself to do these things just by calling some REST/SOAP APIs.
    Thanks for the excellent article.

  44. Vikalp Gupta says

    October 11, 2013 at 8:18 pm

    Hey Anand,

    Nicely written.
    I’m having a problem with DOMAIN SETTINGS thing. I have successfully updated my zone file with given MX, TXT and SRV settings, still I’m stuck there, and refreshing doesn’t help me go past. It says to prove ownership by updating DNS records, which I have done.
    Please, help me with this problem


  45. PC says

    October 23, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    I have more than 75 users in my domain how do is shift? I cant find any way to connect to hotmail team, please advice how to add more users

  46. Zack says

    October 23, 2013 at 2:46 pm

    Hi, I’m using this service on my domain. Would like to check if you manage to use your website to send email out directly? My website is using CMS and tried all the available setting SMTP / PHPmail / SendMail.

    None seems to be able to send out any email from this outlook services.


  47. Don says

    October 29, 2013 at 4:50 pm


    Thanks for this wonderful explanation, however, in following it, I seem to not be able to prove ownership of my new domain 7watersforlife.com, which i purchased through GoDaddy last night.

    In checking my MX record with whatsmydns.net, it’s showing that it reconizes it or it has been propagated. Why doesn’t that seem to be enough for Windows Live when I push the refresh button? Getting the same prove ownership of this domain message.

    Any assistance is much appreciated.

  48. Saroj says

    November 13, 2013 at 6:47 am

    i have already updated the MX Record but it showing “It may take a few minutes to complete the changes to your service. Please check back later.

    You can Cancel service or Edit mail settings” since 48 hours. how to resolve it please let me know



1. DB Vehicle Electrics Home - April 13, 2014

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on the video to make your point. You definitely know what
youre talking about, why waste your intelligence on just posting videos to your weblog when you could
be giving us something informative to read?

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