Setup Custom Email using Google Apps and Moniker
Update as of January 2013: Google no longer offers Gmail under Google Apps for free.
Already have your own domain but still using @gmail.com or @yahoo.com email addresses? Did you know that you can actually setup custom emails using your own domain AND Google Mail for free? Yes, you can do this through Google Apps.
Let me show you how to setup your domain for custom email through Google Apps using Moniker. It’s basically the same way for other domain registrars, so it’ll be easy to follow. Also see my tutorial on how to register and setup your domain on Moniker.
Before I go ahead with the tutorial, some things you might want to note first:
- This tutorial is for the FREE option on Google Apps. This is limited to only 50 users, which I know is more than enough for those who only want to have one custom email for their domain.
- Custom emails through Google Apps use Google Mail to handle and manage your emails. So, if you’re already familiar with Gmail, then, you’re good to go.
- You can also setup custom emails or even link your Gmail account if you prefer to receive your emails through Outlook. However, I strongly recommend you stick with Gmail for all the added security Google provides (anti-virus, spam filter, etc).
This is a long post as I’ll cover everything ’til your custom email is all setup. Please share or comment if you found this useful. Thanks!
Part 1: Initial Setup of Your Domain on Google Apps
For this tutorial, I used my domain icafeblog.com.
1. Go to Google Apps main page. You should see this welcome page.
Click on the first Learn More button, under Google Apps. Like what I mentioned earlier, this guide is for the free access to Google Apps.
2. On the next page, you’ll be presented with more comparisons between the free Google Apps and the one for businesses. Just click on the Get Started button on the upper right.
3. On the next page, you’ll be asked for your domain name. Just type it in, without the “www”, and click on Get Started.
4. Fill up the registration form on the next page.
NOTE: You don’t have to fill up the Organization Information fields if you’re just signing up for your personal blog.
5. It’s now time to create your administrator account. Most of the time, it’s set to “admin“. So, you’d end up with an admin email address of, for instance, email@example.com.
Read and accept the Terms and Conditions and click on the “I accept. Continue with set up” button at the bottom of this page.
6. You will then be asked to login to Google Apps using the administrator password you just created.
Next is the Privacy Notice. Read it and then click on “I Accept. Continue to my account.” button.
Part 2: Verifying Ownership of Domain
For security reasons, of course, you have to go through this.
1. It’s pretty easy to verify ownership. After the last step in the last section, you should be directed to the options on how you want to verify you own the domain.
Uploading an HTML file is actually faster than adding a CNAME record because you won’t have to wait for the settings to propagate once you change it on your domain registrar account.
However, I still chose the second option, adding a CNAME record, because I still have to add MX (mail exchanger record) values on my domain anyway so I’d be able to receive emails through Google Apps Email. It’ll still take time to be applied anyway.
So, I HIGHLY recommend you use the second option. That’s what I’ll be using for this guide.
Select “Change <domain> CNAME record” and click on Continue.
2. Afterwards, you’ll be given instructions on how to verify.
You should now go to Moniker or your domain registrar to complete the verification process.
ADDING CNAME RECORDS ON MONIKER
3. Once logged into Moniker, go to My Domains. Then, select your domain and click on IP on the left menu.
4. You’ll then be directed to the Zone Management page and you’ll see the domain/s you selected.
Click on the Template Manager link on the left.
You will be directed to the Zone Template Management page.
IMPORTANT: If you already have a template created for your domain with Alias and CNAME values already, then, just edit your template. Otherwise, especially for those using self-hosted WordPress (only DNS settings are setup on the domain), follow this next step.
5. Click on Create New Template. You should then be led to the Create Zone Template page. Enter a Template Name.
Under Template Records, you should see empty fields for A (Alias) for your domain. We will delete these later.
6. Under Add Template Records, enter the unique string assigned to you in step #2 of this part of the guide. This is how it should be entered.
Click on the Add button. It should then appear under Template Records. If you get an error saying “IP Address is invalid”, check the Delete boxes beside all the EMPTY A fields under Template Records. Then, click on the Save button.
You then should be left with one entry under Template Records and the message saying the setting was completed successfully.
Note: We will go back to Moniker so don’t close out of this window.
Now, go back to step #2 and click “I’ve completed the steps above“. You’ll be then directed to the Google Apps Setup guide. Just click on the Skip this guide link.
Part 3: Google Apps Custom Email Setup Guide
1. You should now be on the Google Apps dashboard.
Scroll down and under Service Settings, under Email, click on the Activate Email link.
2. Now, you’ll be given instructions on how to setup email delivery.
Google has made it easy to set this up for those who are under different domain registrars. Just select your registrar from the dropdown menu, as shown above.
However, since we’re using Moniker for this guide, it’s not on the list so we’ll leave the option on Any hosting company.
3. You will then be provided with the MX server addresses that we need to enter for the Mail Exchange settings for your domain.
Go back to Moniker, on the Create Zone Template page. Add new template records for EACH of the value above. See below for how they should be entered.
Take note, you don’t have to include the trailing DOT under the address. Otherwise, you’ll be given an error.
4. Enter each value ’til you have these under Template Records. After, click on Save. You should get a message saying save is completed successfully.
5. Go back to Google Apps and click on the “I have completed these steps” button.
6. You would be directed back to the Google Apps dashboard. Under Email, you should now see this message:
Now, this takes a day or 2 for all the settings to take effect. Just go back to your Google Apps dashboard to check on the status.
While waiting, you can already setup new users and assign them their own email addresses.
Important Note: In case you experience a problem verifying your domain ownership, please check the bottom of this post for the troubleshooting part. Otherwise, continue to part 4.
Part 4: Adding New Users with Custom Emails
1. Go back to the dashboard. Under your domain’s name, you should see a link showing you how many users you currently have. Since you just set it up, you should only see 1 user. Click on the link.
2. On the next page, you can now create users. This is also where you can edit users.
To create another email and user, click on the Create a new user button.
3. There’ll be a popup window asking you for information about the new user.
You can leave the temporary password or click on Set Password link to change it. Make sure you inform the owner of this email or account to change the password on their first login.
Once completed, you’ll see this confirmation window.
That’s it! You can add more users if you want. For me, I actually have 4 different email addresses on this domain, blankpixels.com. I prefer to setup just one domain for 4 of my blogs.
- To access your Google Apps page where you can set it up or add users, here’s the sample link. Just change the domain to YOURS.
- To access your domain’s custom email:
Troubleshooting: Problems Verifying Ownership of Domain?
If you get this message after a day or 2 while waiting for your domain ownership to be verified, then, you should follow these steps to fix this problem.
1. Click on Please try again link.
On the next page, click on the Continue button to get the instructions on how to fix the problem.
2. There are 4 options that you can choose from.
The fastest is adding a meta tag to your blog’s codes. For this guide, that’s what we’ll use.
Copy the meta tag from the instructions.
3. Go to your blog’s dashboard and edit the codes.
- For Blogger, go to Design tab > Edit HTML > look for <head> on your codes and paste the meta tag from step 2 below the line.
- For WordPress, go to Appearance > Editor > header.php and look for <head> on your codes and paste the meta tag right below it.
Save template or update file.
4. Go back to the Verify Ownership page from step 2 and click on the Verify button.
Finally, that’s the end of this tutorial. I hope you find this long guide helpful. Please, feel free to leave comments or questions. Share, too. 🙂