Use a CNAME Record to Enable Outlook to Connect


Applies to: Office 365 for professionals and small businesses, Office 365 for enterprises, Live@edu

Topic Last Modified: 2012-03-10

You can use CNAME records to let Outlook clients connect to the cloud-based service by using the Autodiscover service.

What is a CNAME record?

A CNAME or canonical name record is the DNS equivalent to a Microsoft Windows shortcut or an Apple Mac alias. A CNAME record is an alias for the Address (A) record that maps an IP address to the target server.

The target server doesn't have to exist in the same domain as the CNAME record itself. You can define an alias in one domain to point to a target server in a completely different domain. Many organizations use CNAME records with Web servers. An organization might point the alias www to a Web server that is hosted by a dedicated Web hosting company. For example, requests for can be redirected to

What do I need to support Outlook clients?

The cloud-based service uses a CNAME record to implement the Autodiscover service for Outlook clients. The Autodiscover service lets users configure their Outlook profile settings by simply entering their e-mail address and password into Outlook.

In Microsoft Office 365 for professionals and small businesses deployments, Office 365 creates the required Autodiscover CNAME record for you if you chose to redirect your DNS hosting service to Office 365. However, you do need to set up your own Autodiscover CNAME record if want to use your own DNS hosting service rather redirect your DNS hosting service to Office 365.
See Add your domain to Office 365 without redirecting your name server records to Office 365 for detailed information.

The Autodiscover CNAME record must contain the following information:

  • Alias   autodiscover

  • Target

Help for your users

After you've created the autodiscover CNAME record, point your users to Connect Outlook to This Account to help them connect.

What else do I need to know?

Here are some issues to be aware of:

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