Use Google Apps on your own domain.

As google have introduced to their google apps to all users for free, I think a simple guide on how to utilize the free service to our optimum use.. This should be a reference for me myself, and other who would see this useful.

For me, I would just want to use google mail, as inside google apps package. Google mail really a good thing we have in the internet world nowadays, as the email interface, emailing experience is different, and really useful. Just a few cons like no folder management. But you can still use labelling to categorize your email.

There are 2 ways you can use google mail on your own domain. Either registering for google apps at http://www.google.com/a/ or using your current gmail email account.

Using google apps.

Go to http://www.google.com/a/, and register for google apps account with your domain name. With google apps, you can have google docs, google chat, google site, calendar and a few more. But this example, google site will be ignored, as I’m using my current hosting account for site, I’m just using Google Mail in my google apps.

Register for your domain name
After the registration process, you will have to verify domain ownership. You can choose either 1 of 2 method, either configuring your MX record, your html verification. I think HTML verification will be easier, as you can simply create the file, with specific filename and content provided by Google, on your hosting account, and Google with check the file later.

After your google apps have been created, you need to modify your DNS record of your domain, specifically your MX record to tell where emails of your domain to be sent to. Please check it here, http://www.google.com/support/a/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=33352. You can just refer below, the list of MX record to be changed.

MX Server address Priority
ASPMX.L.GOOGLE.COM. 10
ALT1.ASPMX.L.GOOGLE.COM. 20
ALT2.ASPMX.L.GOOGLE.COM. 20
ASPMX2.GOOGLEMAIL.COM. 30
ASPMX3.GOOGLEMAIL.COM. 30
ASPMX4.GOOGLEMAIL.COM. 30
ASPMX5.GOOGLEMAIL.COM. 30

Google also suggest you to add this additional SPF (Sender Policy Framework) in your DNS. This is additional record to tell which server is supposed to send email at this domain name. As we are using google apps for our email service, we should tell google server is the only server which suppose to send email @ourdomain.com.

"v=spf1 include:aspmx.googlemail.com ~all"
* note the ~all, not -all.

Once finished, you can wait for the DNS record to propogate, and usable. You can check your MX record changes through DNSStuff.com, from here, http://www.google.com/support/a/bin/answer.py?answer=116393

Check your MX record
You can manage your account using your admin account, and login to your inbox through http://www.google.com/a/yourdomain.com. This is how control panel looks like.

Google Apps Control panel
Start creating email account for your domain users!! 🙂

Using your existing gmail account

This options is only for a specific email account of a domain. For example, you have a email account from your organization, and you dont like the web-based email client. You can use your gmail account to check all your emails to yourname@yourorganization.com in your current Gmail account.

Basically, you will forward all your email that were for yourname@yourorganization.com to YourGmailAccount@gmail.com. How to do it, it depend on your current email service. You might be able to change in your own web-based email access, or you might need to ask your domain administrator to do it for you. If you manage your domain yourself, please refer to your hosting control panel on how to accomplish this.

In your gmail account, you can go to Setting -> Accounts and click Add another email address. Enter yourname@yourorganization.com and Google will send a confirmation code to yourname@yourorganization.com. You might just need to check your Gmail account inbox, if you have done the email forwarding part. After you have confirmed the code, you can see yourname@yourorganization in your list of accounts, inside your Gmail account.

Gmail account
You may want to put your mail in mannerly order, by creating a email filters. Click Setting -> Filters, and Create new filter. You can create filter for all email sent to yourname@yourorganization.com, label it as MyOrganization, or skip inbox. You can just click the link to your label, and you will just reading your emails yourname@yourorganization.com.

Hacking Gmail
This tips is available in
Hacking Gmail by Ben Hammersley. This is a great book if you really rely on Gmail for your daily email. I really think Gmail is the best email service at this time. 🙂

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