I’m explaining this to a lot of people recently so I guess it was time to make a blogpost about it.
I manage a few domains, mostly for myself, but also for a couple of friends. I do this because my hosting packet is pretty extensive, it doesn’t cost me more if I add extra domains to it.
The only thing I found that was a pain, was managing dozens of emails for each domain. Most hosted mailboxes get pretty spammy after a while and have a limited storage. So for me, google for domains really came as a solution, and now I use it almost exclusively for handling my emails. Here are a few reasons why :
- It provides unlimited storage , well not unlimited, but I haven’t met anybody who came close to the limit.
- It has a nice and lightning fast interface (a real upgrade for users who are used to work with squirrel mail)
- It supports imap and pop3 access
- It’s free
- It can be accessed on a mobile phone.(via web or a mobile tool)
- Easy to use control panel to create new users, you can create extra administrators, administrators can create aliases for email addresses. (so most of my friends can manage their emails themselves)
- Easy to create mailing lists
- Possibility to use more than only email: docs, chat, sites, …
However changing email provider without any problems is considered impossible. Since I’ve done it a few times now, I think I’ve found the best way to do it. Without loosing any mails.
STEP 1: Sign up for google for domains
Surf to google apps for domains and create an account and hit the sign up button. For every domain you’ll need to create a new google for domains account.
Google always recommends the premium version which will cost you 50$/user. Although it’s recommended if you’ve a large business, just for managing a few email addresses, I found the standard version to be sufficient. The standard version has a limit of 50 users.
Enter your domain name and sign-up as administrator.
Fill in all required information and complete the registration.
STEP 2: Import all your emails
Once signed up, you’ll get an confirmation email in your mailbox. Which contains a link to your control panel.
Now you’ll need to create users for each email address. Remember the password for each user. Because you’ll need it in a second.
Sign out as administrator and log in as an email user you just created.
Once logged in, go to the inbox of the user.
Now click on Settings at the top right of the page. We’re going to pull the emails in via pop3. So we’re going to add our current account.
Click on “Add another mail account”
Now it’s important that you know all POP3 access information from your current email provider. As well as the user his password.
Mostly settings will look something ass you can see below:
If’ you did everything correctly you’ll see it will start importing your emails.
You will need to do this for each account. I know, it sucks 😉
STEP 3: Change your DNS settings so it’ll point to google
This is the tricky part, but once you’ve got the hang of it, it’s easy. You’ll need to change your DNS zone file of your domain, so it’ll point all email traffic to google instead of your hosting its email server. Not all hosting providers allow you to do this yourself. If not, you’ll have to make a ticket. These are the steps you need to take.
- Delete all existing MX records
- Add following MX records:
- your-domain.com – MX – 1 aspmx.l.google.com.
- your-domain.com – MX – 10 aspmx2.googlemail.com.
- your-domain.com – MX – 10 aspmx3.googlemail.com.
- your-domain.com – MX – 10 aspmx4.googlemail.com.
- your-domain.com – MX – 10 aspmx5.googlemail.com.
- your-domain.com – MX – 5 alt1.aspmx.l.google.com.
- your-domain.com – MX – 5 alt2.aspmx.l.google.com.
- Add a CNAME record, so that url will also point to google:
- mail.your-domain.com – CNAME – ghs.google.com.
You’re zone file will look something like this:
And you’re all set now, the only thing your need to do now is wait until the new DNS settings propagate.