Personal Domains (MyPobox)

1. Frequently Asked Questions
2. Setup Details

1.1. What is a personal domain?

A domain is an identity on the Internet.  In email, your domain is anything after the @ symbol.  On the web, it's the part after www.  So, pobox.com is our domain.

You can also get your own domain, that you can use for email, a website or both.  That's a personal domain.

You can use a personal domain with your Pobox account.  In fact, you can add a personal domain to your account, and become you@yourdomain.com, while still keeping your current @pobox.com address!

1.2. I have my own domain. How can I use Pobox?

If you already own a domain, but you're getting too much spam, or you're not happy with the service you're getting, switch to Pobox!

Just remember, as soon as you switch, we start handling your mail. So, if you already have users at your domain, you'll need to set their accounts up before you switch.

The domain that you want to add to your account cannot be one of your forwarding addresses (because setting that domain up on our servers would cause your forwarding to stop working.) So, if you are currently using your domain as your forwarding address, you will need to forward your account to another address first. Typically, your ISP will have also assigned you an email address at their domain, and you can use that address instead.

My domain is only used for email

If your domain is only used for email, then

My domain has a website

It's easy to have us handle your mail, and keep your site where it is. You just need to set up a personal domain, then ask your provider to update your MX records.

Your MX records only update where people send mail, so any other services you have set up for your domain (like your website) will not be affected by Pobox handling your mail. This is best if you have a complex setup, or you're using a web provider that includes hosting, or you use upload tools to manage your site.

Or you can use us as your nameservice (NS) provider, and then use redirection to point to your website. This is best if you are using one of the web services that lets you use your domain via DNS.

 

1.3. How much does it cost to have my own domain?

There are two costs related to domains: domain registration, and service. Domain registration is an annual fee, that gives you the right to use the domain until it expires. If you register your domain with Pobox, the cost is $17/year.

You can also register it elsewhere, and use it with Pobox for service.

There is no additional cost to add an address at your personal domain to any existing account. However, the costs related to service (either the cost of the account, or the cost of additional aliases/addresses, if you wish to use them) is the same as if you were using a Pobox domain. You may have up to 100 on your account (up to a maximum of 100 total addresses per account -- you can't do 100 on your first domain, and another 100 on a second domain.)

The only other domain-related charge is AllMail, which is $10/year. AllMail collects all the mail sent to any address at your domain. As you might guess, that means processing a lot of spam. Hence, the fee.

1.4. Does Pobox own the domains I register, or do I?

You always own the domains you register with Pobox. We serve as your technical contact, and can make changes to the technical settings of your account, but you can move or deactivate your domain at any time.

1.5. How many addresses can I have at my domain?

Accounts may have a maximum of 9 addresses at Pobox domains. On your own domain, you can have up to 100 addresses on a single account. (You can never have more than 100 total incoming addresses on a single account.) If you are setting up separate accounts, either ones you pay for, or ones you are inviting people to use, there is no limit on the number of addresses a personal domain can host at Pobox.

1.6. Can other people have an address at my domain?

You can let other people have an address at your domain in 3 ways:

  • add another delivery group to your own account
  • add another account that you pay for
  • invite someone to use your domain

Add another delivery group

Adding another delivery group lets you forward mail sent to a particular address at your domain to another person. That address is part of your account, which means they will use your spam filtering, and any other settings you have set up. The other person doesn't have a separate account, and they can't log in (unless you give them your password.) It's best for someone who you think will only get a small amount of mail at your domain. It requires a Pobox Plus or Mailstore account.

Add another account that you pay for

To add additional accounts that you pay for to your domain, you can add a new account to your billing group.

This will create new accounts that are added to your bill. You can add or remove new accounts at any time, and assign them to anyone you wish in your organization. These accounts have their own passwords and settings, and are completely independent from your account.

Invite someone to use your domain

If you'd like to let someone else use your domain, but you don't want to pay for their account, you can send them an invitation. You can specify whether they can choose their own address at your domain, or if they are limited to a particular address.

1.7. Can I have a website at my domain?

There are 3 ways to host a website at your personal domain when you have Pobox managing your email:

  • let your web provider host your domain; use Pobox for mail only
  • use DNS to set up an A record or a CNAME
  • direct your personal domain to a URL

Let your web provider host your domain

It's easy to have us handle your mail, and keep your site where it is. You just need to set up a personal domain, then ask your provider to update your MX records.

Your MX records only update where people send mail, so any other services you have set up for your domain (like your website) will not be affected by Pobox handling your mail.

If you are looking for a web provider, some providers that let you update your MX records are:

Use DNS to set up an A record or CNAME

If you would like your personal domain to go to a blog or other hosted web service, then setting up an A record or CNAME with us is simple. Just go to the Personal Domain page, and enter the CNAME or A record your service provided into the "Web Redirection using DNS" box.

Redirect your domain to a web page

If you have a web page on a service that doesn't provide A records or CNAMEs for personal domains, or you'd just like to point the web page for your personal domain to another domain you own, you can also redirect your domain to a web page. Just go to the Personal Domain page, and enter the web page you'd like us to point your domain to into the "Web Redirection using a URL" box.

1.8. I'd like to get mail sent to any address at my domain. (Or, What's AllMail?)

My Pobox AllMail catches all unassigned mail for your domain. So, let's say you set up:

 mary@mydomain.com
maryjones@mydomain.com

If you use AllMail, messages sent to maryj@mydomain.com, mary.jones@mydomain.com, mary.p.jones@mydomain.com, etc. would all be sent to your AllMail address. Without AllMail, those messages would bounce. You would also get messages sent to bob@mydomain.com, sales@mydomain.com, test@mydomain.com, and every other possible address. 

AllMail Exceptions

My Pobox AllMail will allow you to prevent certain email addresses from being redirected to your Inbox. This is ideal for all those times you'd like to give out an email address and then block it if the address becomes known to spammers. For instance, say that you create an address like ebay@yourdomain.com and give that to fellow Ebay users. Then, later, it starts to become a major spam source. Just come to our website, exclude it from AllMail, and you'll never need to worry about it again. You'll be able to add exclusions and delete exclusions whenever you want.

AllMail to enhance your online security

We talk a lot about how important unique passwords are. (The security of your password is only as good as the weakest site you use it on!) Another great way to improve your online security is to use unique login email addresses. AllMail makes that easy. You can set up a different email address at your domain for every site that requires a login, knowing that we will treat them all the same as your primary address.  (Or, if you're a Plus or Mailstore user, put your Allmail address on its own Delivery Group, and forward those messages differently -- it's up to you.)

Volume Limits

AllMail will handle up to 30,000 messages a month, or 1,000 messages a day, for $10/year. AllMail for 2 domains is included for Mailstore accounts. If you would like to use AllMail as your front-line spam protection or for a larger volume of mail than 30,000 messages a month, corporate pricing starts at $10/month. Please contact Customer Support with your estimated mail volume for more details.

1.9. Why can't I set up abuse@mydomain.com?

The abuse address at every MyPobox personal domain is reserved, and cannot be assigned a forwarding address. Abuse complaints for any domain whose mail is handled by Pobox.com is sent to the Pobox abuse department for processing.

This ensures that any problems with your personal domain are handled in the same timely and automatic manner as issues with the pobox.com domains, and that mail from our mail servers continues to enjoy a positive reputation and speedy delivery to the Inbox.

If you would also like to receive a copy of any abuse messages submitted to us, please contact Customer Support, and they will activate it for you.

 

1.10. Why can't I add a domain I forward to?

When you add a MyPobox domain to your account, it makes Pobox's mail servers "answer" for messages sent to that domain. So, if you forward to that domain, we will say, "Great! I answer for that domain.... oh, wait. That address isn't set up. I guess it doesn't exist." And then we'll bounce the message with the error "User Unknown".

It's ok to set up a MyPobox domain if you still have it working somewhere else. In fact, you definitely want to set your domain up first, so that you don't run the risk of mail being lost while you move your domain from your current provider to Pobox. But you need to change your forwarding address first.


2.1. How to register a new domain with Pobox

To add a domain to your account, visit the Domain Setup page:

On the following page, enter the domain you want to add to the text box. Next, the choose the option for the domain you are trying to add. If you already own the domain, select "I own it", then click on the "Check Domain" button. 

If you do not own it, choose the option "I want to buy it". Then click on the "Check Domain" button.

I want to buy it

After clicking on the "Check Domain" button, if the domain you wish to purchase is available, you will see a domain WHOIS contact information section. This information is necessary to add the domain to your account.

Once you fill out all of the necessary fields, click on the green "Register Domain" button on the right side of the page. Doing this will add the domain to your account! After that, you will be able to add an address at your domain on your account. For steps on how to do that, please visit the on how to add an address

I own it

If you own the domain, you will see a few more options on the right side of the page:

 

Since you're adding a domain you already own, select "Yes" for the first drop down menu. 

The second drop down menu will have a few options for how the domain is in use.

No/Only a Website

If you aren't using your domain for email today, we can add it to your account immediately if you update its MX records to point to Pobox. Our MX records are:

  • mx-1.pobox.com
  • mx-2.pobox.com
  • mx-3.pobox.com

All should be set to a priority of 10.

Only for email/Website + Email

If you're using your domain for email, we want to make sure your mail isn't disrupted by switching it to Pobox.

First, we need to confirm that you own the domain. If your WHOIS information has an email address, we can email that address for confirmation. Or, if you have a web site, we can send you a small code to add to the page source (it won't be visible to people using your site.)

Once your domain is confirmed, we'll add it to your account. Then, you will need to set up addresses for any users at the domain. That way, no one will lose access to their mail while you're moving the domain.

 

After you choose the option that reflects the status of your domain, click on the "Add Domain" button. If the domain is not in use, you can update the MX Records for the domain to point to Pobox. If you do not own the domain, do not change the MX records yet. After, the domain is approved for your account, and you set up the addresses you want at the domain, you would finish by pointing the MX records to us. 

2.2. How to add a domain you already own

If you already own a domain, we need to confirm it's yours before we can add it to your Pobox account.

If you don't use it for email, just point your MX records to Pobox before submitting your Add Domain request. Your domain will be confirmed immediately if the MX records are already in place. 

If you use it for email, DON'T DO THAT! It could make email for your domain bounce while you get your addresses set up. Instead, just submit the Add Domain request. We will try to confirm it by sending a message to the admin contact on your Whois record or, if that is private, sending you a secret code to add to the root web page for that domain.

2.3. Pobox's NS records

Pobox's NS records are:
  • ns1.rightbox.com
  • ns2.rightbox.com
  • ns3.rightbox.com

2.4. Pobox's MX records

These instructions are for My Pobox Personal Domains only. These should not be used to set up your email program to send and receive mail. Get instructions for my email program

If you control the DNS for your own domain, you can point just the mail exchanger (MX) records at Pobox. The MX servers for pobox are:

  • mx-1.pobox.com
  • mx-2.pobox.com
  • mx-3.pobox.com
  • mx-4.pobox.com
  • mx-5.pobox.com

These should all have a priority of 10.

Once you change your MX records, all mail for your domain will begin being sent to Pobox. So, if you have any users at your domain, please make sure you set up forwarding or mailboxes for them before changing your MX records.

2.5. MyPobox and Your Website: Web Service Providers

For your convenience, we've compiled a list of some of the major web services that will let you use your personal domain with their service, just by updating your DNS.

Please check with your provider for specific instructions, especially if your website is already live! Some providers have testing tools or other setup steps you should be aware of before making changes to your domain.

If you're aware of another service that will let you use your personal domain with either a CNAME or an A record, let us know!

2.6. Extended DNS Services: Other Providers

MyPobox supports MX and A/PTR records, for your domain (and its subdomains, if you choose to set them up.)  If you would like to host other services, particularly DNS options that Pobox does not support, you will want to set up your domain at the other provider, then follow our instructions for setting up the domain's MX records to point to Pobox.  No changes should be required on the Pobox end -- once your MX records at the other provider are set up to point to Pobox, your mail should begin flowing immediately.

IWantMyName offers a wider selection of top level domains (TLDs) and has an easy setup process for using their domains with Pobox.

DNSimple offers a wide selection of top level domains (TLDs) and a friendly support staff.

2.7. Web providers other Pobox customers recommend

If you're interested in hosting a website for your domain, here are some web providers that other customers use with their MyPobox domains and recommend:

Recommend your provider? Let us know!

 

2.8. Is Pobox handling my domain?

If you aren't sure how your personal domain is set up today, you can find information about its current setup, and who is providing your domain services, using the tools below.

Registrar: Go to Whois and enter your domain name. If Pobox registered your domain, the registrar will be TUCOWS INC. If another registrar is listed, you did not register your domain through Pobox.

Name Server (NS): Go to Whois and enter your domain name. If Pobox is hosting your nameservice, your first name server should be ns1.rightbox.com. If it is something else, that company is hosting your name service.

Mail Server (MX): Go to LookupServer, and enter your domain name. If Pobox is currently handling your email, your first MX server should be mx-1.pobox.com. If it is something else, that company is hosting your mail service.

2.9. Why is there a Pobox address in my WHOIS records?

If Pobox handles your domain registration, then a WHOIS of your domain will show an address at domain.pobox.com as the administrative email for your domain.

On January 1, 2014, ICANN added a requirement that all domain owners be verified under a variety of circumstances. Failure to verify your contact information results in the suspension of your domain, whether it is paid for or not. 

Because the ability to change your email address is one of the features of a Pobox account, having another static address that you needed to maintain seemed unnecessary. Domains registered through us use a WHOIS email address <yourdomain>@domain.pobox.com. That address forwards to the administrative address for your account. This avoids the need to keep your WHOIS information up-to-date, and lets us monitor for messages from our domain provider that could result in the suspension of your domain's services (which are otherwise outside our ability to fix.) 

2.10. An explanation of MX records

The Short And Sweet Answer

The fast answer is, MX (Mail Exchanger) records are the information that other companies and people use to figure out where to send mail for a given domain.

Not So Short, but Still Sort of Sweet

Explaining what an MX record is difficult without explaining DNS.

Domain Name System

Domains (like pobox.com) are just names. They need to be associated with IP (Internet Protocol) addresses so their services are reachable. DNS is used to organize that information and make it public.

If IP addresses are your telephone number, then domains are your name.

DNS is organized like a tree, with "." at the root, with Top Level Domains (like .com, .net, .org, .edu, and others) below.

Like most network protocols, everything is a conversation:

When you go to www.pobox.com, your local DNS resolver first checks its cache of already resolved names. If it does not find a cached address, it asks either its immediate upstream (like your ISPs nameservers) or one of the twenty-some root DNS servers.

The roots will say "pobox.com? go talk to .com."

.com will say "pobox.com? That's registered by Domain Discover, go talk to one of their nameservers."

Domain Discover then says "pobox.com? Here's a list of their nameservers, go ask one of them."

And then your DNS resolver asks one of our nameservers (ns1.rightbox.com for example) for the address of www.pobox.com, and your web browser connects to that address and asks for www.pobox.com.

Types of Records

DNS has a variety of records associated with it. An in-depth explanation of them is outside the purview of this article (see wikipedia), but suffice to say you can have a single name and associate different services with it by using different types of records.

The A record for pobox.com, for instance, is different than the MX records for pobox.com. For instance (this information changes as we add new resources to the MX pool, so please don't consider the following canonical):

$ dnsip pobox.com
207.106.133.28

$ dnsip www.pobox.com
207.106.133.28

$ dnsmx pobox.com
10 mx-all.pobox.com
10 mx-pa-9.pobox.com
10 mx-pa-11.pobox.com
10 mx-pa-8.pobox.com
10 mx-pa-13.pobox.com
10 mx-pa-14.pobox.com
10 mx-pa-15.pobox.com
10 mx-pa-16.pobox.com

As you can see above, you can also associate multiple names with an IP address. Just as you, your spouse, and your children, may all be listed under the same phone number.

The MX records tell anyone doing that type of lookup which IP address(es) to talk to for mail for the domain they're interested in.

MX Priority

MX records also have a concept of priority. Above you see the number 10 next to each of the names returned by the 'dnsmx' command. If you specified 5 for a given record, a Mail Transport Agent on the Internet would try that host first. Smaller numbers are have higher priority than larger ones.

This matters if you add MX records with different priorities, and run your own MX out in the world (as, perhaps, a backup just in case something ever goes Super Evil Bad with Pobox... of course, if something goes Super Evil Bad with Pobox, our Operations team will be on it Super Fast and fix it!)

New Domains

When you register a new domain, the registrar adds it to the list of domains they are authoritative for with the roots. That means when someone asks about it, there is somewhere to ask.

MyPobox

So, when you set up a personal domain with Pobox, there are 2 things that can happen:

  1. You set up the domain with us, or transfer it to us. We become your authoritative DNS provider, and just make it go.

  2. You have the domain with someone else. You tell us you want to add the domain to your account. You tell them, hey, point my domains MX records at Pobox! We change our DNS records so that our computers know they should respond for you.

2.11. Setting up DKIM for your domain

If you send mail outbound through Pobox (using webmail or smtp.pobox.com) from your personal domain, we sign your message with 2 DKIM keys: our own key, and a key we generate for your domain.

If we handle DNS for your domain, we automatically publish this public key you don't need to do anything to take advantage of the benefits of a DKIM-signed message.

If you handle your own DNS for your domain, you need to publish the public key yourself to receive the benefit. Please go to your MyPobox page to see the DKIM public key for your personal domain and the subdomain you should publish it in a TXT record for. As each domain name service provider has slightly different instructions, we encourage you to contact your DNS provider if you are unsure how to set this record up. If you are unsure who your DNS provider is, please feel free to contact us.

What is DKIM?

DKIM is an email authentication standard that allows us to sign email you send with a particular domain. It's also used by the receivers of the email to confirm that the email was signed by that domain and hasn’t been altered. All email sent by Pobox is DKIM signed.

In the original design of DKIM, the domain that signed the email had no particular relationship to the domain in the From address of the email. This was particularly useful for large email providers like us. We have 10,000′s of domains, but would sign all email with just our "generic" domain.

However, this is now changing. Standards like DMARC explicitly link the domain of the email address in the From header to the DKIM signing domain. Also Gmail shows any email sent with a From domain that’s different to the DKIM signing domain with an extra "via pobox.com" notice next to the sender name.

It is best for email sent from your custom domain to be signed by that domain. If you host your DNS with Pobox, then we handle this automatically for you. If you only point your MX records at us, you will have to manually set your DKIM records.

2.12. Setting up SPF for your domain

SPF is an email authentication protocol. Pobox participated in its creation -- it was started by our founder, Meng Weng Wong. Neat!

SPF lets domain owners specify a list of servers that it approves to send mail from their domain. It also lets them say what recipients should do with mail claiming to be from their domain that doesn't come from the listed servers. It's best suited for domains that always know where their mail is coming from -- generally businesses or large organizations.

SPF is not well-suited for domains that don't always know where their mail is going to be sent from. An inaccurate SPF record can cause ISPs to treat your mail as spam, or even bounce it. For that reason, we don't recommend it for all domains. Please use caution when setting up an SPF record.

Is SPF right for me?

Do you, and all your users, send mail through the Pobox SMTP servers? If so, turning on SPF is unlikely to disrupt your mail.

Do you sometimes send mail from your ISP? Have webmail (other than Pobox's) set up to send mail from your domain? Use scripts or programs on your website to send mail from your domain? Host a mail server on a line without a static IP address? We don't recommend SPF for your domain.

The one exception: If you send mail from an email marketing provider (like Constant Contact, or Listbox, or one of many others), your SPF record is unlikely to cause a problem for that mail. Most legitimate email marketing providers use an "envelope sender" at their own domain, which uses their SPF records, not yours.

If we host your DNS

Go to your domain's MyPobox page. If you see a section in the right bar labeled "Pobox SPF", we host your domain's DNS, and you can set up an SPF record saying all mail from your domain will come through our SMTP servers. Clicking the button in that section will create the record. These records are not editable, and cannot be added to. 

If we don't host your DNS

You can add Pobox's SPF record to the record for your domain, which will automatically include our most up-to-date information about our SMTP servers. Just add:

include:pobox.com

 

2.13. Excluding an address from AllMail

If you are using AllMail, you may find that certain addresses get a disproportionate amount of spam. If you find that one of your addresses gets a huge amount of spam, you can exclude that address from AllMail.  (Messages to *all* your addresses, AllMail or not, are filtered using the same spam settings.  I personally will remove an address that seems to have become popular for spammers simply to reduce the number of spam messages I need to check.)

Just go to Manage Your Domains, and select the domain of the address in question.  At the top of the page, click "Ban Address", and type in the address.  Once you add the exclusion, Pobox will immediately begin rejecting mail for that address.  Users who send mail to that address will receive a bounce message, with the error "User Unknown".

2.14. Deactivating your domain

Pobox Customer Service will actually remove your domain from your Pobox account, so we can help you make sure you never lose email.  Here's what will happen for 3 different removal cases.  We're here to help, no matter how you want to host your domain, so just let us know if we can provide any advice or assistance on this process.

If you want to stop using the domain

If Pobox registered the domain for you, and you no longer want to own the domain, just let us know.  We will remove it from your Pobox account, and cancel the registration for the domain.  If you registered it elsewhere, we will remove it from your account, and tell you who you should contact to cancel the registration.  Please note, if you stop using the domain, and cancel its registration, someone else may purchase the domain after a 30 day grace period.

If you still want to use the domain, just not with Pobox

If you want to move your domain to another provider, the first thing you want to do is set up the domain with the new provider.  This means creating all the user accounts there, and getting their instructions on how to move the domain.  Once everything is set up, then you will want to change the MX records for your domain.

Once you're all set up at your new provider, you can start removing the addresses at that domain from your Pobox account.  Once that is done, contact us, and we will remove the domain from your account.  If Pobox registered the domain for you, you'll need to move the registration as well -- we do not host registration for domains that get email service elsewhere.

Please note that, if you send your mail through Pobox, you won't be able to send test messages from us to the new provider during the transition.  That's because we think we handle mail for your domain, until you tell us to remove it.  That's a good thing -- you'd much rather have 2 providers thinking they handle mail for your domain during the transition process, instead of a period where 0 providers think they do.

If you want to use Pobox for email, but want to host other services elsewhere

If you would like to host other services, particularly DNS options that Pobox does not support, you will want to set up your domain at the other provider, then follow our instructions for setting up the domain's MX records to point to Pobox.  No changes should be required on the Pobox end -- once your MX records at the other provider are set up to point to Pobox, your mail should begin flowing immediately.