About five year ago Microsoft discontinued one very cool feature called Live Domains (ZDnet article). This feature gave outlook.com or hotmail.com users to attach custom domains to their mail account and use them for email addresses or LiveID. So, instead of having email in form of firstname.lastname@example.org you could have it as email@example.com and utilize outlook.com web mail client or on-prem Outlook installation to read and send emails.
We can say that this was one of the predecessors of O365 service, and of course, as soon as Microsoft realized that this free feature may divert users from buying O365, they discontinued it. Pure business decision.
To be fair, if you are buying some of O365 personal/home subscriptions, you still have the option to add custom domain. Some very annoying limitations are that you can have only one domain attached, it must be managed by godaddy.com service and it has a limit of 5 email account.
After some time of contemplating and calculating, I decided to move my personal email domain from outlook.com to O365. Live Domains admin page is not available any more so I can not do it by myself and I was aware that I will have to contact Microsoft support to do this. After trying to add domain to O365 tenant this is a message you get:
At this point I created support ticket from my new O365 tenant and soon enough one of the support technicians contacted me. Nee I say that this one had no clue what Live Domains was and kept pointing me to login to that tenant and remove my domain. After 4 or 5 emails, I managed to skip first level support and move to next technician, who was smart enough to connect me to O365 Data protection team immediately .
The procedure with them was straight forward and consisted of few simple steps:
- I had to prove that I owned the domain and had to add TXT record to domains DNS that support provided me
- I had to prove that I own O365 tenant to which I was trying to add domain
After this was confirmed, technician force removed my domain from msarealms.onmicrosoft.com tenant and I was able to add it to my O365 tenant. Bare in mind that this transfer may take up to 48 hours to propagate, so in that period you will not be able to receive or send emails from your domain. In my case, it took less than 6 hours for everything to start working.
Couple of things to have in mind before you start:
- MS support is not aware of Live Domains (in my case)
- No one can list you all email account on your outlook.com connected domain (tried to find this out while I was MS employee and later via support)
- Your custom domain name is only an alias in outlook.com so make sure you know your primary alias for outlook.com
- You will need your firstname.lastname@example.org alias to login to OneDrive, Azure portal, outlook.com or wherever you used your custom domain alias to login by using a Microsoft Account (LiveID) feature. Look here or create new one https://account.microsoft.com.
- Backup all your email from outlook.com and restore it to 0365 once it is set up
- My case took 2 weeks to resolve, but that is mostly because I was busy and did not have time to talk to support. I believe that this can be resolved in 2 days max.
To put cherry on top of all that, I have 3 more domain connected to Microsoft Live Domains. 😉