No need to surrender control of DNS settings.
Microsoft has tried to make Office 365 as simple and powerful as possible for organisations of all sizes. SMBs that subscribe to the “Small Business and Professional” (aka “P” subscription) get the advantage of included DNS (Domain Name System) hosting.
The domain name hosting system provided by Microsoft under Office 365 is fairly simple. Re-delegate or point your domain to Microsoft’s name servers and away you go! And while Office 365 includes a free website customers don’t have to use this and are free to point their “www” record anywhere else they like. The DNS interface allows for the creation of a few other record types to point to services that customers may have outside of Microsoft.
The benefit of using the included DNS hosting is that customers don’t have to spend time creating the required DNS records to get all the functionality of Office 365 working (Lync requires the most records to be fully operational – four in total).
In short it achieves everything that most SMBs would ever need for DNS hosting. A simple interface, no additional cost, and one place to go for their Internet presence and services.
A common misconception is that customers MUST use the provided DNS hosting services in order to use Office 365.
This is not true, and never has been the case. To be honest I don’t actually know how this misconception came to exist as the “requirement” is not written anywhere.
I have also heard the term “hijack” used in reference to the fact that Microsoft would take control of a customer’s domain once it was added to Office 365 for Small Business and Professionals.
Again not true.
Most of the customers we have set up on the P subscription have chosen to retain their DNS hosting with their existing provided for various reasons. We simply made the necessary DNS record additions or modifications using their existing DNS hosting provider.
Customers with the P subscription will still see the DNS management interface within the Microsoft Online Portal but they can safely ignore it.
While the domain hosting on Office 365 may be recommended or suggested for the purposes of simplicity it is certainly not forced or even required. If anyone tells you otherwise (especially your IT or chosen Office 365 partner), slowly back away and find a real Office 365 expert.
Loryan Strant is a Microsoft Office 365 MVP (Most Valuable Professional). Follow him on Twitter @TheCloudMouth.