Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.
If you are a business owner or blogger you had to make a choice at some point on how to set up your email. I’ve seen emails set up at a free service (i.e. – firstname.lastname@example.org) and I’ve spoken to people who have used the domain they purchased for their email, but hate the interface they’re using to access it.
If, like me, you love all of the Google products that are available, you will want to check out Google Apps. I have been using Google Apps for about 6 years now, since it was in beta testing and still free. Every time I got a new domain (um, 6 and counting…), I would sign up for Google Apps. Until it wasn’t free anymore…then I would pause, realize I absolutely need it, and sign up. At $5/month/user, and access to Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive, Google Contacts and more, it’s really a great investment. There’s even a marketplace for 3rd party apps you can add on to make the most of your experience.
I am a BIG believer in putting your best foot forward in business (and blogging) and one obvious thing I think stands out right away is an email using a custom domain (as in, email@example.com). I know it’s a commitment, but it’s worth it.
So if you’re making the jump to Google Apps, here is how to do it after you’ve signed up. Keep in mind, things will be a little different with different hosting companies:
Step 1: Confirm that you own your domain
You can verify that you own the domain in one of 3 ways.
- Add a TXT record or CNAME record to your domain’s DNS settings. – You will most likely be in the DNS settings to direct your MX records towards Google’s mail servers in step 5 anyway, so this could be easier for you to get everything done in one shot. If you add a TXT record, the following will be your values: Host – @, TXT Value – Your unique Google Apps security token, TTL – leave as whatever the default value is (mine is 1 hour). If you add a CNAME record, the following will be your values: Host – mail, Points to – ghs.google.com, TTL – leave as whatever the default value is (mine is 1 hour).
- Upload an HTML file to your domain’s web server. – If you don’t have access to (or do not want to access) your site’s DNS settings, you can create an HTML file and upload it to your site’s root folder on your server. Google will either have a file for you or the content to copy & paste in order to make an HTML file. You would make the HTML file within a text editor with .html as your extension. To upload the file, you will either need to use 3rd party software or browser app to gain FTP access or use the file manager in your hosting account dashboard. Make sure you upload the file to the root. The root folder’s name can vary by hosting provider, but it’s typically public_html, www, or wwwroot.
- Add a <meta> tag to your home page. – If you don’t want to attempt either of the 2 previous options, you could always try this last option. In the Admin console for Google Apps, there will be a unique-to-you meta tag in the instructions for this option. You will copy this and paste it within your site’s home page, within the <header> section and before the <body> section. You will do this using an HTML editor. This option has been hit or miss for me in the past, so I highly recommend one of the other two options as your first attempt.
Specific instructions will be available with your own information as you go through setup, but I listed the basic process for each way.
Step 2: Set up billing & payment
You’ll start out with a free 30 day trial, but this needs to be set up as soon as possible.
Step 3: Activate Email service
From your Google Admin console, you should see the screen below. Click on Google Apps to see a list of services and their status. Make sure to activate email as well as the other services you would like to use.
Step 4: Add users
Here is where you will choose the username used in each email address. If you want to limit your costs to $5/month total, I suggest picking a username such as “info” or “support”. That way, anyone can use and answer from that email. Go ahead and get creative, it will stick in people’s minds. If you have more than one user, you can use their names for custom email addresses.
Step 5: Direct the email from your domain to Google’s mail servers
Back in your DNS settings, set up your MX values as follows:
Blank or @
Blank or @
Blank or @
Blank or @
Blank or @
Regardless of your domain host’s system for indicating priority, ASPMX.L.GOOGLE.COM must be the top priority record or the only record if only one MX record is allowed. Host specific values are here.
There are other goodies/settings to go through, but at this point your email should be in the process of finalizing set up. Be aware that DNS settings can take 1 to 72 hours to update, but has usually been just a couple minutes for me. If it’s longer, something may not be right.
If you need help setting Google Apps up, I do offer the service for $25 as well. Enjoy all of the Google goodness with your new account! 🙂
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. I post them because I truly love the product and support it. Thank you for your support.0