Saturday, January 31, 2009

How to use Gmail to with your own domain name for free.

It is possible to send and receive email from your domain based email address using the Gmail service (currently Google do not charge for this). This includes the Gmail webmail interface, its mobile accessible version, IMAP (with a very large inbox) and SMTP delivery from email programs like Outlook. These instructions explain how to set this up.

First of all you will need a domain name with email forwarding. Many domain registrars already provide this free when you register a domain name e.g.

There are a number of things you need to do in your domain registrar's control panel, the gmail web interface and your email program.

Things you need to do in your domain registrar's control panel:

1. Decide what email address you want to use at your domain name and set up a single email forwarder in their control panel or administration system to forward mail from that address to your gmail address.

Things you need to do on the gmail web site:

1. Create a gmail account through the google web site.
2. Click on the "accounts" tab in settings and under "send mail as" click on "add another address". Enter the address under your domain that you have set the forwarder up for in our control panel. An email will be sent to this address. You will need to recover that email (it will arrive in your gmail account) and click on the link to confirm you have the right to send mail from that address.
3. Now go back to the "accounts" tab in the gmail settings and click on "make default" next to your domain based email address.

You can now send and receive from your domain based email address using the gmail web interface. If you want to use an email program like Outlook then see the steps below.

Things you need to do to use an IMAP email program like Outlook:

1. Log into the gmail web interface click on settings (in the top right hand corner). Under settings click on "Forwarding and POP/IMAP". Enable IMAP. Do NOT enable POP3.
2. Click where it says "configuration instructions" and configure your email program accordingly, making sure you set up all the advanced settings or it will not work. You need to set it up as an IMAP account in your email program.
3. Make sure you enter the log in user name for IMAP as your gmail address and gmail password.
4. You need to set the email address in your email program as your domain based address so that it sends from the correct address. For example, in Outlook Express this is the address in the general tab in account settings (the field called E-mail address).
5. (optional) In Outlook Express you can hide some of the unused folders marked [Gmail] to keep things tidy. Do this by clicking on the account in your inbox area in Outlook Express and then on the "IMAP folders" button at the top of the page. I only have inbox, sent items and spam folders showing in my Outlook Express.


  1. Brilliant! Thank you, this is exactly what I needed.

  2. Gordon, is this possible to do under and for free?

  3. Presumably yes. However, I know that Enom's mail forwarders are now blocked by Google because they are a source of spam. Godaddy's may also be blocked. If you could find someone with a Godaddy domain and see if they can forward to a gmail account that would confirm if it was possible.

  4. Hi Gordon,

    I've struggled for ages to get my iPhone mail program to show sent email as if coming from my domain rather than from my Gmail account. Will doing this solve that problem?



  5. Unfortunately not. The iPad email application does not allow you to specify the from address even though Google's servers would accept mail from that address. The only way to achieve this would be to use a Google Apps account with the domain's DNS changed over to Google, then add that Google account to your iPad as a Microsoft Exchange account. I have not tried the iPad Gmail app, but it might allow the from address to be set - the Android version does.

    On a related note you might like my article on how to synchronise your Google contacts and calendar with the iPad:

    Its quite incredible. I got a call yesterday on my android phone and added the caller as a contact. Seconds later I went into my iPad contacts for someone elses details and that new contact was listed there. I use the Google calendar and contacts at work, home on my android phone and iPad. Its a great way to store all that stuff.