Beginners Guide to Setting Up Google Apps Email
By Muhammad Panji. Filed in Web 2.0
Google Apps provides basically all Google services that you currently have with your Google Account. Besides email, you will get contacts, calendar and other google services that you can use. But did you know that you can have the added privilege of using your own domain in your email address? Instead of having firstname.lastname@example.org, youcan use email@example.com to deal and collaborate with my clients.
Why use Google Apps?, I hear you ask. Well, if Google’s massive infrastructure across email, web and mobile platforms is not a convincing (enough) factor, then you may be happy to know that you get a 10 GB email quota with Google Apps and an extra 15 GB when you use Google Apps for Business. It’s perfect for small and medium businesses that don’t have an in-house team to manage their IT needs.
Best of all, Google Apps is free for up to 10 users, which is enough for a small organization to get things going. If you want to break that limit, you can always choose to upgrade to Google Apps for Business.
Setting up Google Apps
There are three offerings of Google Apps: Google Apps (free), Google Apps For Business, and Google Apps for Business with Vault. You can compare the three on the pricing page but in this article, we’ll just learn how to setup the free Google Apps edition.
Now, you will need a domain name, which is an address that indicates your presence on the Internet. To get a domain, you can register the domain with a domain registrar, such as namecheap, 1&1, GoDaddy, Name, and Gandi among others.
Most DNS registrars provide DNS Servers to its customers like namecheap does, but if yours don’t give one you can use any free service like Hurricane Electric or afraid.org. If you register your domain with your hosting provider, it’s most likely they will provide a DNS Server for you. You can also register a domain name via Google (Google partnering with GoDaddy and eNom). The DNS entry that you have to edit are MX records and CNAME Records.
MX Records is the record that defines which mail server is used by your domain whereas CNAME Records is an alias that we can use to access the webmail and other google apps service.
Registering Google Apps
In this tutorial I will use labs.kurungsiku.com as my domain name. I have already created a subdomain on my cPanel for this.
As I mentioned earlier, if you don’t have a domain yet, you can register one via Google. When you enter the domain on the “Enter the domain name you would like to use with Google Apps” section, Google will check if the domain is still available or not. If it’s still available, Google will offer you the domain to register.
If the domain is already registered, you wil see the form below. Fill in the form. Make sure that the email address you enter on "Alternate email address" is correct and accessible. The username that you enter here will be the administrator’s username – it doesn’t have to be administrator or admin, you can just use your username as the administrator. After you finish, click “I accept! Create my account”.
If the form submission is successful, you’ll be redirected to the setup wizard page. If you were logged on to your gmail account, you will be asked to switch to your new admin account.
Setting Up Google Apps
After registration, you’ll be redirected to a setup wizard page to complete the setup process.
The first page of the wizard is just a welcome page, click Next.
The second page is about site verification. This step is really important since you cannot use Google Apps until you verify your domain ownership; click Next.
Verifying your domain ownership
There are four options to verify your domain ownership, you just have to choose one to verify. The first and most recommended method is to upload an HTML file that is prepared by Google to your server. Just download the file and upload it to your server using a file manager or FTP client.
The second method is adding a meta tag to your site. If you use WordPress, you can open the theme editor to open the file Header (header.php), find the
</head> tag, and put the meta tag on top of that closing tag.
The third method is creating a TXT record on your DNS. With cPanel, you can choose Advanced DNS Zone Editor from the Domains pane. Choose the domain that you have, enter the domain name, choose TXT for Type, and for TXT Data paste the one provided by Google.
Check the bottom of the page to check the new DNS record.
The last method is using the Google Analytics code that support asynchronous snippets.
In this tutorial, I choose the DNS method to verify, after creating the record (or another verification method of your choice), click Verify.
If the verification process is successful, you will get a Congratulations message.
setting Up Gmail
After the "Users and Groups" setup and the ‘Apps’ setup, click Next or Do this later until you reach this screen (below). Click Next to proceed.
To set up Gmail for your domain, choose Google Servers and choose Next.
On Direct mailflow to Google servers, choose your domain host, choose Other if not applicable, and click Next.
This page contains information of the MX record that you have to create so that your domain can use google mail server. The Priority could be different but the order must be the same. For example, if you cannot create priorities 1 5 5 10 10, you can create priorities 10 15 15 20 20. The MX records info are available on support.google.com
Click Next. It will give error since we haven’t setup MX records yet. That’s OK, we’ll deal with this on the next step.
You can just click Next for the rest of the wizard. After finishing the wizard you will be redirected to Google Apps Dashboard. You can choose your email options. The options only apply to you as administrator.
Setting up MX
To setup MX records using cPanel, Choose MX Entry on "Mail”.
Choose your Domain, add MX entry one by one.
The final MX records for your domain will look like this.
Go back to Google Apps. If you already on the dashboard, you can choose Setup > Set up Gmail. Click Next.
Google will check MX entry for your domain, if you have already configured the MX entry right, it will be shown on the next page.
The Email service has also been activated. The email service is already activated when it shows your email with the address http://mail.google.com/a/yourdomain.com.
Setup CNAME for Webmail
Choose "Settings", click “Email” on the left.
Choose the second radiobox; you can enter the subdomain that you want to use so long as it’s not used yet: mail, webmail or even if it’s just m. Click Next.
The next page contain instructions on what CNAME you should add on your DNS. Just click I’ve completed these steps.
Now time to create a CNAME record on your DNS. Open your cPanel, choose Advanced DNS Zone Editor. The name should be the same as you have entered in the previous step, TTL: 14400, Type: CNAME, and CNAME: ghs.google.com.
Check on the bottom that you have created the right entry.
And there you have it, your email address with your organization’s domain name. We hope that this tutorial has been helpful to you. Now, give it a test run by sending it to another email address.
Editor’s note: This post is written by Muhammad Panji for Hongkiat.com. Muhammad is a system engineer specializing in Linux, Virtualization, and Cloud Computing. He plays with new technology in his spare time, and maintains a blog about technology in Indonesian language. You can find him on Twitter.