I have a few custom domains registered with Google Domains, and one in particular I wanted to start using as an email. I thought my only option was to pay the $6/mo for Google Workspace until I found that a Google Domain comes with 100 free aliases. Not only does this allow auto-forwarding of that email, but there is a way to even send email using the custom email address by doing some tweaks to an existing Gmail account. Here are the steps to take:
Step 1 - Create the email alias
- Assuming you've already registered your custom domain through Google Domains, log into your Google Domains account at domains.google.com.
- Find the domain that you want to create the email for and click "Manage" on the right side.
- Go to "Email" on the menu on the left.
- Scroll to the bottom and click "Add email alias".
- Enter the beginning part of the email (note, it fills in the @yourdomain part automatically). Then pick an existing @gmail.com email account to forward your new alias to.
Step 2 - Prep your Google account
- Log into your Google account at myaccount.google.com. Note this is not Gmail. It's your actual Google account.
- Click "Security" in the left menu.
- Go to the "Signing into Google" section and click "App passwords". If you don't see "App passwords", it's because you need register for 2-Step Verification. Click on that first and follow the steps. Once completed, you should now see "App passwords".
- It'll make you log in. Then you'll see two drop down boxes. In the "Select app" box, choose "Mail". In the "Select device" box, choose "Other". Then give it a name. I just use the custom domain as the name (e.g. yourdomain.com).
- Click generate and you should see a pop-up with a yellow box containing a 16 letter password. Copy this password for the next step.
- Click "Done".
Step 3 - Activate the email alias
- Now log into your Gmail account at gmail.com using the same Google account that you set up the password in Step 2.
- Click the gear icon in the top right corner for settings then click on "See all settings".
- You will see tabs at the top. Navigate to "Accounts and Import".
- There will be a section labeled "Send mail as" with a link labeled "Add another email address". Click that link.
- You will get a yellow colored pop-up box.
- In the "Name" field, enter the name you want people to see when you send an email from this alias email.
- In the "Email address" field, enter your new alias email.
- Keep the "Treat as an alias" box checked and click "Next Step".
- You will see another set of inputs. For "SMTP Server", it will display as "smtp.yourdomain.com". Change to "smtp.gmail.com".
- The "Port" number should be 587. If it isn't, change it to that.
- For username, input the first part of your Gmail account that you are using. Don't add @gmail.com.
- For password, enter the 16 letter password that you copied from Step 2.
- Keep "Secured connection using TLS" selected and not "using SSL".
- Click the "Add Account" button.
- This will send an email to your Gmail with a link to activate your new alias email. If you don't get one, you can go back to your Gmail Settings > Accounts and Import, and you should see your new email with a "verify" link. Click this and you'll be able to send another email.
- Click the link in the email and your new custom email is now ready to use.
To use your new email, compose an email from your Gmail. Now click on the "From" field and you should see a dropdown to pick your new custom email. Now you are sending from that new alias email!
After setting it up myself and testing it, I can say it looks like I indeed have a custom email. The address is the alias email and it shows as from the name I custom input. Even when someone replies, they are replying to that custom email. And anytime someone sends an email to that custom email, it goes into my Gmail account so I don't need to check another account. How convenient is that!
Apparently, if someone really knew email coding, they could see that you are using your own Gmail account and they would be able to decipher it. But I couldn't figure out how to do that. Also, if you send an email to someone new, it may go into their spam filter at first since those are typically set up to automatically detect alias emails. So just know that you may need to give them a heads up to look there. Then they can add this alias as safe and get emails from then on out.
I was so excited to discover this, I had to share it on this blog. Now I'm saving some really money by not needing to pay for a custom email, but getting to use my new custom domain so I look like an established business. How cool is that!
For the official instructions from Google in case these steps change, here are the links:
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