It’s no secret, Google host things… You know this, I know this, Hell even my dog knows this! However google have recently made it less obvious that they still host their app service for free.
Back when Google Apps launched (Yes I was there) They allowed you to signup for an account for your domain, They also gave you the allowance of 150 users per domain account, Yeah seriously 150 accounts!
But when they started to get bigger they realised spammers and users where grabbing these account and using them rather than paying for the Google Apps Business accounts. So Google slowly started to drop the user allowance down from 150, to 100, then 75, 50 then 25… We’re now at 10 and although thats nothing in comparison to the origianl amount that they first started with, its a massive amount given that most of us would like a brilliant email service, as cheap as possible!
I’m a massive Google apps user, I use it for myself, my clients, and my work. It’s something that has taken the problems away from email hosting as you can use that time else where learning other things. I believe that this is one of the reasons that google too supply you with the free Google Apps option.
How do I get a Google Apps Free Account?
Right, now down to business! What you’re getting is Gmail, GTalk, GCal, and Gdocs but not branded as Google. You get these on your own domain!
This post explains how to setup the free Google Apps Standard for your domain.
Go to Google App Standard here (Google Apps Free) you have to add the domain.
Choose custom setup click Go Custom button.
Now we need to verify the domain owner as you!
You can verify the domain a couple of ways, the quickest I find is by uploading a HTML file with specified files name.
The Other way of verifing your domain is to include a set META tag in the domain’s index page.
After verifing your domain the following success message will be displayed.
Now we start creating some email accounts!
Go to Organization & users tab and click “Create a new user” button and you can create a new email address.
Once done, a success message will be dislayed.
If you want to look at a current list of users you can click the “Organization & Users”
As standard Google automatically provides you with a generic URL for accessing your Google Mail, however we can change that! Click change url and setup a custom url, Something like “mail.yourdomain.com” is probably ideal, however you can have anything you like.
Google Apps Standard for Free.
Here’s where you choose your custom URL.
Now we have to modify your domain’s CNAME records with the changes required for the custom URL and Email setup.
Open a new tab login into you domain provier site like Godaddy, Bigrock etc, Go to the domain DNS settings and add mail CNAME points to Google server ghs.google.com
Open up another web browser, Login into your domain provider (I use http://123-reg.co.uk) Buy the domain if you don’t already have one however you should do if you’re at this stage!
Go to the domain’s control panel, and click Edit DNS. Now we need to add the “mail” CNAME to point to Googles server hosted at ghs.google.com and the following MX records too for the email to work.
Now back to Google App page go to Domain settings tab click Appearance upload your logo
We now pop back over to the Google Apps page, go to Domain settings in the tab menu, and click Appearance, From here we can upload your custom logo etc, Which will take away some of the Google branding, Awesome!
Now we’ve done all that, we can add our email account settings to our email client, However I’ll link you to the google tutorials for those!
I hope that helps someone out, Enjoy!