We configure and setup a lot of websites and email solutions for our clients. Because of spam, viruses and client’s with limited IT resources, we’ve nearly gone exclusively to recommending Google’s Gmail service for email. Now that doesn’t mean our client’s give up their company’s URL for a Gmail address, but with Gmail you can keep your company URL and only you will know that you’re using Gmail.
Gmail’s features are many, but the one that stands out is the spam is completely eliminated. Gmail also has powerful smartphone applications and integrates well with all email clients. With Gmail, you can also check, write and manage your emails in any web browser. It’s so good, that I now only use my web browser for email.
This article walks you through the process of setting up Gmail for your business.
Sign up with Google
For most companies, the free Standard Edition account is all you’ll need. To get started, sign up for your free Google Apps account. There’s only three short pages, so registration is quick.
In Step 1, you’ll want to select “Administrator: I own or control this domain”.
Verify ownership of your domain name
Once you’ve completed the registration process, you’ll need to verify that you own that domain name. If you have FTP access to your website or a web developer, the easiest way to do that is upload a file to your website.
Create a HTML verification file - open up Word or any text editor. Just copy/paste the one line of text (example:google40fab60d1a446c70) and save file as googlehostedservice.html. If you’re using a PC, make sure you save file as an HTML document. Once created, just upload that file to your website.
If you’re switching from another email service, make sure you add all your email accounts before you do the next step. This will make sure you don’t lose any emails during the switch. To do so, when logged in, go to “Users and Groups” tab and click “Create a new user” link.
Changing Mail Exchange (MX) records
Everything up until this point hasn’t effected your existing email service, but this step will now direct all your emails to your newly configured Gmail account.
Before doing this step make sure you activate your “Activate email”. Do this in the dashboard.
Google has pretty good instructions for how to change your MX records and they have a drop-down list that has step-by-step instructions for most of the major hosting companies.
While updating the MX records, it’s a good idea to add CNAME record so that you can access your online email by going to mail.your-domain.com. To do this add a “mail” CNAME and direct it to ghs.google.com. For more instructions on updating or changing a CNAME record
Below is Google’s instructions for updating your MX records:
You’re all set up at this point. It may take some time for your MX records to get updated on all the servers around the world. Some say up to 48 hours, but for me it’s typically under an hour.
You’re likely using Outlook or other email client to download your emails. I recommend setting your email account for IMAP. What this means is that your email application doesn’t download and remove the emails from Gmail, but just sync’s up with Gmail. This way you have a backup online of all your emails and attachments. This also means that when you login to your email from a browser, that all the emails will match what you have on your computer, including your send and trash folders. Google has detailed instructions and configurations for support mail clients.