Are you looking for a reliable email host? Ever thought about hosting your eMail service with Google? Yes, Google have been providing free eMail hosting for many years now with their Google Apps offering.
I have been using Google Apps to host a number of my domains eMail. I’m pretty sure many of you are thinking about a gmail.com eMail. Well, yes, the email interface is pretty much GMail. However, I am not talking about accounts like email@example.com. I’m talking about accounts like firstname.lastname@example.org and it’s hosted for free by Google. Try going to mail.kodeexii.net (might not be ready until tomorrow, since I’ve just set this up today. Domain propagation takes quite a while sometimes). You will be directed to Google’s Login screen.
So, how about having your business Email hosted by Google? I sure do like Google’s interface, especially after using GMail for years. I also like the fact that I don’t have to delete emails in Google. Besides, you also get Google’s spam filtering. So, no worries about spams.
Ok, the good news, you can, if you want to, hosts all your business email for your domain, on Google. Doing so, you are given 50 email accounts. So, if you have more than 50 employees, you are out of luck. You’ll have to go for the paid version.
Now, the news that should put some pressure on you if you think you would like to use Google’s services. You have until May 10th 2011 before Google pulls out their FREE offerings for 50 users. If you want to utilize Google’s FREE services, you have got about 10 days to do so. Don’t wait any further. Go on over to Google Apps and configure your site. After May 10, Google limits their FREE services for 10 users only. Accounts created prior to May 10 will get to keep the 50 users limit.
How To Create A Google Apps Account?
Before we get into creating your very own Google Apps account, the following image shows you what Google Apps is all about.
The main core applications in Google Apps are Mail, Calendar, Sites and Docs. There are many more apps that you can add but the main apps are the four mentioned.
The first thing you’ve got to do is to apply for a Google Apps Free account. At the page, you are presented with a comparison chart stating the differences between the Free and a Business account. You decide which you would like to enroll in.
I’ll just continue showing the rest of the steps in creating your Google Apps account for your business.
You will certainly need a domain name of your own to start with. No free subdomains like username.blogspot.com or username.wordpress.com or username.webs.com please. Still haven’t registered a domain name? You can go and register yours from this domain registrar. Once you’ve got your own domain, enter it into the field just like the following image.
Once you’ve entered your domain name, you will get to fill in the rest of your personal details in a couple of upcoming pages. Just fill them as you would normally do. Once you’ve completed the personal details page, you’ll come across a page that asks you to verify your domain ownership. This is where it could get a little bit technical. It’s not too hard actually. Just follow the guide provided by Google.
There are a number of ways to verify ownership of your domain.:
- Adding a TXT record in your DNS (If you bought your domain from GoDaddy as I recommended, Google provides a complete guide).
- Add a Meta Tag into your domain’s home page.
- Upload a HTML file to your server.
- Linking to your Google Analytics account.
Google provides you with a complete set of guidelines to complete this verification stage. Just follow them and you should be ok. You don’t really have to do them all, just complete any one of them is good enough. However, Google do recommend that you do two types of verifications. I’d recommend you go through each of the options and do the two that is the easiest to achieve.
Domain ownership verification should take you just a few minutes, provided you do not face any problems following the guides as provided by Google.
Once you’ve got your domain verified, you can now configure the applications. The only application that requires a somewhat heavy configuration is the eMail. In configuring so that all your eMails are sent to your account in Google Apps, you will need to modify what’s called as the MX records for your domain. Once again, if you registered your domain with GoDaddy, Google provides a complete guide which you can just follow to get this done.
The change in MX records will take a while (at most 24hours) to propagate all over the Internet. As such, you will not be able to receive eMails on the Google Apps platform just yet. You can however use the eMail interface once Google Apps have completed it’s backend configuration work. In the meantime, you should configure the other apps. They don’t require technical knowledge to configure.
Once you’ve completed configuring every other Google Apps, your eMail will probably be ready for you too. Your Google Apps Dashboard will depict something similar to the following image.
As can be seen from the image above, your default access to your Google Applications are through the google.com domain. Well, you can also configure the apps to be accessible via your own domain. As an example, you would probably want to access your eMail from a URL like mail.yourdomain.com. Well, you can configure each applications with their very own subdomains. You can have subdomains like
In order to configure so that you can access your Google Apps from URLs like above, you will first have to configure your domain DNS and create something that’s called CNAME records. It took me less than 5 minutes to do just that using the interface provided by my domain host.
Once you’ve created your CNAME records pointing to Google Apps’ server, you can now modify each apps settings to your desired subdomain.
This is how your dashboard will look like once you’ve completely configured all your Apps to use your subdomain URLs.
How about having your very own Google Apps in your domain? Pretty nifty eh? So, why don’t you just go and register yourself with Google Apps today? Get that FREE 50 users accounts while you still can. Come May 10th, you can only get 10 accounts for FREE.
Don’t think you are up to doing the required tech work on your own? How about out sourcing it to me then? I can do all the necessary configurations for your business and you will have your Google Apps running within a few hours (provided you can equip me with all necessary information about your domain).