Do it For Free: “Send Mail As” an Alternate E-Mail Address Using Gmail (Part 1: Setting it Up)

This is part 1 of 2 in my workaround solution for sending and receiving your own domain’s email with a free Gmail account (rather than having to pay for Google Apps).  If you can already send and receive from your own domain using a Gmail account, but want to set up your iPhone or iPad to behave similarly, skip ahead to Part 2: On an iPhone.

The problem (Part 1: Setting it up): 

  • Use Gmail to send messages as though they came from my own domain’s email address (e.g. layman@laymantechtips.com) without paying $5/month for Google Apps.

The scenario: 

At my work we use Gmail for our email because the interface is so much better than the crappy webmail portal that our website host provides us.  The problem is, with a free account, we’re limited to having an @gmail.com address which looks totally amateur and cheap to clients and businesspeople with whom we correspond.  We wanted to continue to use Gmail to check and send our work emails, but we only wanted our business e-mail address (***@businessdomain.com) to be apparent to everyone else.

The solution:

Before we get to the fix, you’ll need to know what Google Apps is in order to understand what we’re trying to emulate here.  Basically, Google Apps is Gmail and all of Google’s services (Drive, Docs, Sheets, Hangouts, etc.) catered to businesses that use their own domain (e.g. businessdomain.com), and it costs $5/month per account.  In a corporate setting, that’s a very reasonable price to have all these services in one place.  However, if you’re just some broke blogger like me, an additional $5 a month basically doubles the price of running my site.  Plus, Google offers pretty much all those same services for FREE to Gmail users.  The biggest upside to Google Apps (in my opinion) is being able to use Gmail to send and receive email from your own domain address (like layman@laymantechtips.com).  Below is my solution that works pretty darn well… (at least until this blog starts earning $5 a month!)

1) Set up a Gmail account if you don’t already have one by clicking here.  (Even if you already have and use Gmail, you may want to set up a separate Gmail account that’s dedicated for use with your non-Gmail address).

2) Set up e-mail forwarding from your personal domain (e.g. @laymantechtips.com) to your Gmail account (****@gmail.com).  I can’t really tell you how to do this as there are about a million different web hosts out there and each handles it differently.  Your best bet is to use whatever webmail login portal you’re currently using to check email and look for “settings.”  E-mail forwarding will be in there somewhere.

3) Once forwarding is set up, log in to Gmail and click the Settings gear in the top right, then select Settings from the drop-down menu.

Gmail_Settings

 

4) In Gmail Settings, select the “Accounts and Import” tab and under “Send mail as:” click “Add another email address you own.” Fill this in with your non-Gmail address that you want to use (as below), and click Next Step.

Add_Email_In_Gmail

5) The next page will ask for the SMTP server for your domain — that’s the outgoing mail server you’ll use to SEND messages.  Gmail used to let you add “Send mail as” addresses without entering a separate SMTP for that domain, but now they’ve made it a little more difficult.  If you happen to know the SMTP details of your domain, then by all means enter it here.  If, like most people, you do not know your SMTP details, there’s a workaround.  Simply enter Gmail SMTP settings here.  The server is smtp.gmail.com, port 587, username is your entire gmail address (including @gmail.com), password is your Gmail password, and you can choose TLS.  See below for all of that in action, then click Add Account.

SMTP_Server

6) The final step will ask you for a verification code.  This is so they can confirm you actually own that email address you’ll be sending email from.  Since we already set up email forwarding in Step 1, that confirmation email should be in your Gmail inbox right now!  Go to you inbox, open the email, and click the confirmation link.

7) Now you’re all set to send and receive e-mail as though you’re using your own domain!  Whenever you compose a new e-mail, there will be a dropdown menu in the “From” section that lets you choose between your @gmail.com account and your @businessdomain.com account.  If you want to make your @businessdomain.com account the default, go to Gmail Settings (that gear icon in the top right again) > Accounts and Import > Send Mail As, and choose “make default” next to your non-gmail address.

Send_Mail_As_Default

If you’re only going to send and receive email from the web browser, you’re all set!  But if you plan to use Gmail through the default mail app on the iPhone, the way the iPhone automatically configures will not allow you to send from a non-Gmail address.  But there’s a workaround for that too… Continue to Do it For Free: “Send Mail As” an Alternate E-Mail Address Using Gmail (Part 2: On an iPhone)

-ITLM

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