People love the familiar Gmail interface, but using Gmail with your own domain isn’t free, and resorting to firstname.lastname@example.org isn’t very professional.
For a long-term solution, I recommend signing up for Google for Nonprofits. It’s free and made to handle enterprise-level IT needs. I can even send you a spreadsheet to check if you’re eligible. Just sign up using the orange box in the sidebar.
If you’re not a nonprofit, your long-term solution would be to purchase G Suite. It’s not free, but I can give you a discount code for 20% off your first year! Just leave a comment below and I’ll send it to you.Sign up a 14 day free trial here.
Know that if you want to switch later, it will be a pain in the butt to transfer all your emails to Google for Nonprofits or G Suite. But if you just need a fix for the time being, here’s a quick workaround to use gmail with your own, custom domain.
Basically, you’ll just forward all the mail from email@example.com to a Gmail account, and change a setting so outgoing mail says firstname.lastname@example.org too. That’s it! So let’s jump right in.
1) Create a Gmail account
You probably already have a Gmail account, and you could use it for your nonprofit’s email, but just like finances, it’s best to keep business and personal separate. It will make things a lot easier down the road if you upgrade to Google for Nonprofits.
Here’s how to make the account:
- Visit the Gmail sign-up page and pick a new email address. email@example.com usually works well.
- Follow the rest of the steps to create your account, and sign in.
Learn more tricks to save money
Sign up to receive notifications of more marketing tips
2) Create your custom email and forward it
Chances are, your web host also includes email hosting, or at least email forwarding1. If you’re hosted by GoDaddy, 1&1, Bluehost or Hostgator, you definitely have email hosting. Below are the instructions for each of those hosts.
If you use a different host, look at the Hostgator instructions–chances are your host uses the same interface.
3) Enable Gmail to send as yourdomain.org
This step will allow you to send email as firstname.lastname@example.org using Gmail’s SMTP servers.
- Go to this link. If you can enable “Less secure apps,” do so. If you get an error, go here to create an app-specific password.
- Return to Gmail, click the gear icon, then Settings
- Click Accounts and Import, then Add another email address in the Send mail as section
- Enter your name and email@example.com, allow Treat as an alias and then Next Step
- Enter the following credentials:
- SMTP Server: smtp.gmail.com
- Username: The part of your gmail address that comes before “@gmail.com”
- Password: Your Gmail or App-specific password
- Port: 587
- Secure connection using: TLS
4) Final Configuration
- You’ll be sent an email with a verification link. Make sure to click it to enable your new address.
- Once you are returned to the Settings page, click Make default next to your new, custom email.
- Send a friend an email to test outgoing messages
- Have them send you a message to confirm incoming messages
And that’s it! You now have Gmail with your own domain for free!
If you have any issues, comment below and I’ll do my best to fix them with you.
- If your host doesn’t provide mail forwarding, use this tutorial.
- If you don’t know your servers hostname, go to your cpanel. On the left side you will see a section called stats. Click the expand stats link if it is present. The hostname will be shown in the list of stats.