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I have a few stores hosted on Shopify, however, Shopify does not offer on-domain e-mail hosting, so I use my Dreamhost VPS for the e-mail. I was never sure if I was setting it up correctly by selecting the “Fully Hosted” option within Dreamhost if i was just using it for e-mail, or if there was a more streamlined way.

For example, should I just add the domain as “DNS Only” to my Dreamhost? However since I prefer to host my DNS with my registrar or with Cloudflare, neither option seemed exactly right.

Turns out either would work. As long as the MX Records point to Dreamhost, I can create e-mail addresses for the domain whether the domain was added to my Dreamhost panel as “Fully Hosted” or “DNS Only”. With either option, I'm not using either to its full capacity, so it doesn't matter which one I use.

The latter (DNS Only) would prevent file storage space from being created for that user, but as long as there's nothing in the space, it's just like having an empty folder on the server, so no biggie either way.

Below is a copy of my Chat Transcript where I got verification for this.

Chat started on 04 Aug 2020, 07:32 PM (GMT+0)
(07:32:44) *** Paul Drecksler joined the chat ***
(07:32:45) Paul Drecksler: Category: VPS Domain: None or Multiple Subject: Question about “Fully Hosted” vs “DNS Only” If I use Dreamhost for e-mail on a domain, but now host the website on Shopify, should I keep the domain as “Fully Hosted” or switch to “DNS only”? And if I switch to “DNS Only” would that still allow me to use my on-domain e-mail addresses for that domain that are currently hosted at Dreamhost?
(07:33:26) Paul Drecksler: The domain that I'm looking at is **********.org however I'm curious to know for future domains as well. I like using Dreamhost's e-mail when I host the actual site at Shopify
(07:34:39) *** Nelson C joined the chat ***
(07:35:27) Nelson C: Hello! Thank you for contacting DreamHost Support Team. My name is Nelson and I'll be happy to help you today.
(07:35:58) Nelson C: Your domain DNS are not managed through DreamHost at all, so regardless of you keep the domain as Fully Hosted or DNS Only it won't really make any difference as we don't have any control over your domain DNS
(07:36:27) Nelson C: For what I can see, your domain DNS are managed externally, through your registrar.
(07:36:38) Nelson C: And there you are already pointing the domain elsewhere in regards to hosting services
(07:36:44) Nelson C: And to us in regards to email service
(07:37:17) Nelson C: So if you're to switch your A records at your registrar to point the domain to a new hosting provider, your email service here will continue to work uninterruptedly unless you switch your domain MX records to point elsewhere at your registrar.
(07:37:30) Nelson C: You can keep track of your domain DNS online with any DNS checker such as**********.org
(07:38:01) Paul Drecksler: Oooh, I see. So perhaps a better question would be…. in the scenario you've outlined above, where my registrar controls my DNS and I point @ to Shopify and MX to Dreamhost… In order to JUST have e-mail on my VPS with Dreamhost, do I need to be “Fully Hosted”?
(07:38:14) Paul Drecksler: Or is there a more efficient way to only host e-mail for a domain on my VPS?
(07:38:28) Nelson C: Now, for domains whose DNS are actually managed through us, if your main goal is to point them elsewhere in regards to hosting but keep your email service here, you need to remove hosting/switch to DNS Only and remove SSL from our end so our hosting DNS records don't interfere with your custom ones
(07:38:34) Nelson C: And your email service will still work without issues
(07:38:54) Nelson C: And no, not quite. Again, you can keep the domain as Fully Hosted or switch it to DNS Only
(07:39:55) Nelson C: That won't make any difference for the services you have with us for **********.org, as you already have email service for it here, which will continue to work whether the domain is set as Fully Hosted or DNS Only in the panel and as long as you keep the domain MX pointed to us from your registrar, as your domain DNS are not managed through us
(07:40:58) Nelson C: Fully Hosted means you're setting the domain on our servers to store data for a site here, whereas DNS-Only means you'd simply like to manage the domain DNS from your DreamHost Panel. But both those options are subject as to where your domain Name Servers are pointed to, as that dictates who's actually managing your domain DNS
(07:41:23) Paul Drecksler: I see. And it sounds like both those options would allow me to create e-mail addresses for that domain?
(07:41:29) Nelson C: Exactly
(07:41:54) Nelson C: As long as you have a hosting plan with us you'll be able to create email addresses for the domain whether it is “Fully Hosted” or “DNS Only”.
(07:41:55) Paul Drecksler: I would just, hypothetically if my registrar pointed to Dreamhost to control the DNS… make sure that the MX records (within Dreamhost) pointed back to Dreamhost
(07:42:33) Nelson C: But if your domain DNS are managed elsewhere, like in the case of **********.org, you must actually point the domain MX to us to connect the domain to our mail servers so your email addresses here work (regardless of the domain is Fully Hosted or DNS-Only)
(07:43:18) Nelson C: And yes, exactly. If you're to point your domain Name Servers to us, chances are our MX records will be added automatically, unless you had customized them at some point before, so to ensure your domain connects to our mail servers
(07:43:50) Nelson C: But in all honesty, there's not any use in pointing your domain Name Servers to us as that would only take all your services down and you'd need to replicate any custom DNS you have at your registrar at the moment
(07:44:56) Nelson C: Please note the Name Servers are the most important part of a domain, for they tell the internet where your DNS records are hosted and managed. So if you're to switch your Name Servers altogether, you'd need to make sure you replicate any DNS records you may have for your domain in the old DNS manager in the new DNS manager, and then give DNS propagation some prudent time to do its thing
(07:45:55) Nelson C: In your case, there's not really any need to complicate things that much. Your DNS are properly managed externally at your registrar, you already have MX records pointing the domain to our mail servers, and if you simply need to connect your domain to your Shopify site you simply need to ask Shopify for the right A/CNAME records to add to your domain, and add those at your registrar
(07:45:57) Nelson C: That would do it
(07:46:14) Nelson C: I'd still recommend you review and update your MX at your registrar, as it seems you're using an old version of our MX
(07:46:37) Paul Drecksler: I understand. I appreciate you taking the time to explain. The thing i was trying to avoid was unnecessarily having old outdated WordPress installs, PHP, files, etc. on the server for no reason if i was only using the server for the e-mail. I didn't know if having “Fully Hosted” for a site that was e-mail only on Dreamhost presented any security risks
(07:46:37) Nelson C: Our current MX are:
(07:46:38) Nelson C:
(07:46:45) Nelson C: You'll find more about this at
(07:47:09) Nelson C: Well, switching your domain from Fully Hosted to DNS Only won't really remove your content from the server at all
(07:47:28) Nelson C: You can definitely switch the domain to DNS Only if you don't want it to be linked to the old WordPress folder any more
(07:47:51) Nelson C: But if you actually want to delete that old data from our servers, best approach is for you to access that domain's directory via SFTP and delete the data in accordance to your needs
(07:48:11) Nelson C: Of course, it is recommended you backup that data manually first, as explained at
(07:48:25) Nelson C: And you'll learn more about how to access via SFTP at
(07:48:35) Paul Drecksler: I see. This has been a big help. Thank you very much. And thanks for the heads up about the MX records. I just updated them on my registrar for **********.org and will make sure to do the same on any others that i point the MX records to Dreamhost
(07:48:49) Nelson C: You're absolutely welcome!
(07:48:55) Nelson C: Is there anything else I can do for you today?
(07:49:05) Paul Drecksler: No thanks. Have a great rest of your day.
(07:49:24) Nelson C: My pleasure!
(07:49:28) Nelson C: I wish you a lovely day as well!
(07:49:29) Nelson C: Goodbye
(07:49:32) *** Paul Drecksler (paudre2) has rated the chat Good ***
(07:49:43) *** Paul Drecksler (paudre2) left the chat ***