Nowadays it’s hardly possible to find someone who doesn’t like Gmail. It’s one of the best webmail service currently available; moreover it’s absolutely free. That’s why the great majority of us use Gmail for the personal correspondence.
People get accustomed to nice things very quickly. Thus after using Gmail (with its speed, filters, labels, huge disk space and etc.) we don’t even want to deal with hosting email. Unfortunately almost all the Web hosting providers cannot offer great email service; but that’s ok because no one is great at everything.
Can you get the power of Gmail using your own domain name? Fortunately, you can! Moreover some web hosts already have such an option built into control panel. Still if your hosting provider doesn’t have this option, don’t worry because you can set it up yourself. The only thing you should do is to follow the instructions…
Step 1 – Creating an account at Google Apps
Go to Google Apps and create a free account (sign up for the Standard Edition). However you can use the Premier Edition instead and get some special features, but it will cost you $50 per user per year. You will need to introduce the domain name and the necessary account information in order to set up the account.
Step 2 – Verification of your domain name
At this point Google needs to verify your domain name (i.e. if you are the rightful owner of the domain). Click on “Verify domain ownership”. Actually there are 2 ways you can do that:
1) uploading an HTML file containing a validation key to the root of your server (if you are not familiar with DNS settings, this would be the simplest and easiest option);
2) changing the CNAME record of your domain name to one specified by Google
You should keep in mind that the validation process may take up to 48 hours. Moreover there is one thing I would like to mention… If you are in the Google Apps Dashboard select Service Settings –> Email and under Web Address click on “Change URL”. I recommend clicking on the “Change URLs for all domain services” because in this way you will be able to use all Google Apps. Here are the examples of custom entries:
Step 3 – Modifying MX records
This step is probably the hardest one… However there is no need to worry because it’s quite doable.
Your MX records are managed by your domain host or sometimes by domain registrator, if you have “Managed DNS” option enabled. Generally you can set custom DNS setting for your domain name. In order to make Google receive your email you need to replace your MX records with the ones of Google servers. To do so just access your domain DNS settings (in case you don’t know how you can do this, contact the customer support service) and change current MX records (or add them if you don’t have ones) to the ones provided by Google:
Please visit Google Docs for additional info.
After that you just need to activate you email and wait. Altogether it may take up to 48 hours for the DNS records to be updated[v2]. As soon as they are changed you will be able to access your new custom Gmail login at mail.yourdomain.com. When logged into Gmail, you can access your domain settings simply by clicking on “Manage this domain”. Here you can change whatever you want (add new users, configure your mailboxes, change the Gmail logo to your own logo, etc.).
Hopefully everything is clear. Please let me know if I missed something.