As a company, you’re really not professional until you have your own company emails. Using <something>@hotmail.com just doesn’t cut it when you’re trying to come off as a legit answer to somebodies questions. As a solution, a person can pay big money to their hosting provider to manage their emails, or you can use one of the most trusted mail servers around, the gmail servers!
What they offer is called Google Apps. If you’re a business with a budget, you can pay for the service and get unlimited possibilities, but this post is for their free offer, which allows you to have 10 different users created for the domain. That means, you can create 10 different email addresses, enough for most small businesses.
To start off, you should already have a domain name. This is something you buy from a hosting provider (like cheap-domainregistration.com or godaddy.com). That’s about the hardest part of the job. You also will need to have that domain pointed to nameservers somewhere, also known as domain name servers or DNS (like afraid.org), that hold your IP information for your server that hosts your website.
Assuming this is all done, filling in the information required at Google App’s free should be no problem.
Once this is done, and you’re inside of Google Apps, you’ll be prompted with a few screens.First though, you should be sent an email to confirm that you’re signing up. Also, you will be prompted to do a quick-setup, if you click on those the steps are clearly explained.
Then, you’ll be asked to verify that you are actually the owner of the domain, and they offer a variety of methods to doing this step. I chose to use the last method, where you upload an *.html file with a random key that google generates to the root directory of your website. First, download the file. Then just upload the file to the directory in which your website sits. For most people, this will simply be uploading it via FTP to your root directory (../).
From here, you can add users, and create passwords for them via the interface in Google Apps, that you can log into by typing in google.com/a/yourwebsitehere.com.
Google now knows what your domain is, it’s verified, and you have created the email/user accounts you wish to have active with that domain name. Often times, this is admin, and other user names.
Left is to make sure that our DNS is pointing the MX records to Gmail, and perhaps create a cname.
A very useful reference is Google Apps Administration Help File on Configuring Email Delivery. This identifies all the MX servers to use, and also what priority to set for them. They have about 5 different ones, which should be always more than enough. I just leave mine at 2 in my records.
Google also has a very helpful document that tells you exactly how to adjust the MX records for your domain, called Configure MX Records.
Keep in mind, that depending on the Time To Live (TTL) setting of your DNS, it could take up to 24-48 hrs for the changes to your MX records to be realized.
Once you have all this done, you don’t need to log into the Google Apps admin panel (google.com/a/yourdomainhere.com) to read your emails, you go to gmail.com and use the user/pass that you have created in the admin panel.
Some useful sites are also: