Using the same domain for email and the public facing website

I’ve been hearing some confusion via LinkedIn forums and even around the Microsoft camp about using the same domain (eg. contoso.com) in Office 365 for both the Public Facing Website as well as the email domain.

While the textbook answer is “no, you cannot use the same domain for both the website and email” – this in practice is not correct.

You CAN use the same domain for both the public facing website as well as email, but how it appears in the administration portal is that it is two separate domains.

Using us as an example, we’ve already set up our domain (paradyne.com.au) and all relevant mailboxes – and are currently happy campers within our Office 365 tenant.

However now we want to set up the website. It’s quite a simple step really – just go to the Domains management page and add the website record (so in our case “www365.paradyne.com.au”) as a new domain, and specify SharePoint Online as the sole use for the domain.

Then when you head over to managed SharePoint site collections you will see the website ‘domain’ available for use. Once you’ve created that click on the DNS Information and it will tell you want to point your “www365″ host record to (as a CNAME) – in our case it was ProdNet26.SharePointOnline.com”.

If you head over to www365.paradyne.com.au you will see that works!

So the issue really lies in the use of the words. “paradyne.com.au” is a domain, but “www365.paradyne.com.au” is a host – however in Office 365 they both need to be treated as domains.

Hopefully this clears it up for a lot of people.

Manually migrating from BPOS to Office 365

UPDATE on September 21: Microsoft has begun transitioning customers to Office 365 through its internal process. Before attempting the below process, we suggest that you change your password in BPOS and try logging in to https://portal.microsoftonline.com. If you can – then the user account has already been copied across to the new tenant and therefore manual migration is not possible.

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Recently we (Paradyne) performed a manual  migration  from BPOS to Office 365 to start using the amazing new features and functionality it brings.

The team over at MigrationWiz have written a great step-by-step instruction list, over at http://migrationwiz.zendesk.com/entries/20049337-how-do-i-perform-a-bpos-to-office-365-migration

We followed this to the letter and had no dramas at all.

The only slight difference was that we added an extra level of mail retention to ensure that nothing was lost during the transition or while waiting for FOPE to update.

Our difference was to use mail store & forwarding services from RollerNet. The service only costs $5 per month and is a month-to-month subscription, so you can cancel the service when you’re done.

Effectively what we did before following the MigrationWiz instructions was to change our MX record to point to the RollerNet mail hosts which were in turn configured to accept our domain and to forward it on to ‘mail.global.frontbridge.com’. Before removing our domain from BPOS we set the RollerNet service to simply hold our mail instead of forward it on.

Once we completed the steps listed in the MigrationWiz article we then pointed the RollerNet service to forward to the custom MX record provided to us by Office 365.

After we re-established mail flow and that everything was 100% functional we then changed our MX record to point directly at Office 365 – and happy times ahead!

Before entering into this process I must caution you to wait at least 90 minutes between steps 10 & 11, otherwise you may end up with a duplicate domain in FOPE which requires some PowerShell magic to clean up.

Note: attempting the above is not a supported practice by Microsoft and puts the onus of mail flow and uptime onto yourself. Please be a) careful, and b) extremely careful!