Setting up a blog – Part 3 – Making your life easier with Google Apps

This is Part 3 of our series, Setting up a blog. Missed a post? Check out Part 1 or Part 2.

2 things bug me as a geek.

1)      People with their own domain name, but advertise a gmail or ISP address as their email address. It looks cheap and unprofessional.

2)      Not having everything in sync. I like to be able to pick up my email whether I’m at my laptop, on my phone or out at another computer.

Well luckily there is a way for me to have my cake and eat it too. To be able to have a customized email address (me@mydomain.com), and to have my mail in sync across all my devices, and still have a “cool” webmail client (the same as gmail). Google has the answer, and it’s called Google Apps.

Google apps allows you to use the feature packed web based applications that Google uses in Gmail, with your own domain name. So you get all the features of a Gmail account (gmail webmail, google calendar, google Docs, and access to the other 65+ services Google offers) with using your own domain name.

The only downside to Google Apps is the setup that’s involved. But they have made it really easy to do, and our friends at VentraIP and getanamecheap have made it even easier.

A side note before getting started: Google changed their terms of service for this product back in May of 2011, prior to then, you were able to associate 50 users to your account for free. They have reduced this limit down to 10. If you want to have more, you have to upgrade to the business edition which is approx $5 per user, per month.

Let’s dive in.

1)      Go to the sign up page for Google Apps and click on the button “Get Started” in the right sidebar.

2)      Fill in your domain name, followed by “submit”

3)      Fill in the rest of your details.

A few hints: use whatever you want your email address to be as your username. So if your name is mary and want to have mary@maryscollections.com use mary (sorry if someone is using that email address).
You’ll also need another email address in case you forget your password.

4)      Agree to the Terms and conditions and press “I accept, create my account…”

5)      If everything went well, you’ll be asked “How would you like to set up Google Apps?” – Click on Express.

6)      Follow the guide here. (it’s a lot of pushing next you can leave at any time, it’s just the first step that is important). If this is your first time setting up Google Apps, then you should work your way through it so you can gain a better understanding of how it works.

7)      The first step is “Verify Domain Ownership”. Click on next until you see the screen “Recommended: Add a DNS record to your domain’s configuration.” In the drop down box scroll to the bottom of the list till you find “Other”.

Then you’ll be presented with an ugly long piece of text like:
google-site-verification=asdjasd89234lkj12hsad832nfj934jf94fj4f9fj949jf7adkje83

Copy this ugly piece of text.

Open a new browser Window or Tab and Login to either VIP control with VentraIP or the domain manager for GetaNameCheap.com

VentraIP

On the right hand side under “Accounts and Services” click on “Manage Hosting Services

Next to your domain name there’ll be a drop down with “– Options –“. Select “Google Apps DNS”. At the bottom of the screen there is box to paste in your “TXT Record Validation” code. Paste that ugly piece of text into there and press “Add Google DNS Records”.

GetaNameCheap.com

Loginto your account here:

  • Then under “My Account” in the main menu, click on “Manage Domains”
  • Click on the domain you wish to edit.
  • Click on “All Host Records” in the left hand menu.
  • Under subdomain settings enter the following:
  • 1st Box: mail. 2nd box: ghs.google.com     3rd box: select cname.    4th box: 1800
  • Then Under mail settings, select “user” then “Automatically set MX records necessary for Google Apps Email ” And press save to save all the changes.

Wait 5 minutes. Now go back to Google Apps and press Verify. That’s it, you’re done!

There are some more options that you may wish to set.

Geek Tip: Setup a Custom Webmail URL.

It’s easier to remember: http://mail.yourdomain.com.au to be able to check your email than http://mail.google.com/a/yourdomain.com.au so Google allows us to change the domain to the easier to remember one.

It just takes 4 easy steps.

  1. Click on Settings in the Google Apps Administration main menu bar (the top blue one), then click on email in the left hand menu.
  2. Under “Web Address” click “Change URL”.
  3. Select http://mail.yourdomain.com.au (Leave it as mail) and click continue.
  4. Then on the next page “I’ve completed these steps”. Your done.

(but hang on, I didn’t do anything. When you changed your DNS settings before, you automatically set up the other cname web address for you in advance).

This is Part 3 of our series, Setting up a blog. Missed a post? Check out Part 1 or Part 2.

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