The last Tip (Use a personal domain name) showed you one way to obtain a personal domain name for yourself or your family. Domains are cheap and allow for an email address that stays ‘yours’ even if you change your Internet Provider. This Tip mentions another way to get a domain name, and explains one way to use that domain name for your email.
A domain name doesn’t just exist in thin air — it has to be ‘tied’ to an Internet address, and someone has to manage that Internet address. Some companies do this for free, others charge a small or large amount. You could even do it yourself, if you have the kind of knowledge that makes Tips like these redundant.
Buy a domain name through Google Apps
If you haven’t yet bought your own domain name it’s easy to do through Google Apps as part of the Gmail setup process. A domain name through Google Apps costs US$10 and in fact is a lot easier than buying a domain name separately and then setting up Gmail to use it.
Google, the search engine company, offer a free email service called Gmail as part of their Google Apps package. It includes sophisticated and effective anti-spam, anti-virus and anti-phishing filtering. It also ties in with a calendar and Google Docs, as well as free web pages.
Gmail is available to individuals, businesses, educational institutions, community organisations — anyone, in fact. Those who choose to pay US$50 per user per year (as I do — it’s worth it) for Google Apps Premier Edition also have access to a further layer of spam filtering, increased storage, and some other features. But many people will be perfectly happy with the free service.
Recently both Waikato and Auckland universities have been in the news for switching to Gmail. At Auckland that involved 50,000 users.
Use IMAP for email
One specially useful Gmail feature is IMAP. IMAP stores all your email on the Gmail server so you can access any email you’ve sent or received from any Internet computer, cellphone or handheld device at any time. If you like, you can also download copies to one or more computers so the emails are also available offline. The free edition offers 6 gigabytes of storage — hundreds or even thousands of times more than most email providers.
The paid Premier Edition offers a whopping 26Gb — after a year I’ve almost used 1% of it.
Use your own domain
Set Gmail to collect from other addresses
Until you’ve told everyone about your new domain name and email address they will still be sending to your old email address. With Gmail that’s not a problem: in the Settings tell Gmail to collect email from up to 5 other addresses. It all just turns up in your Gmail In Box.
It’s been around a year since I moved a web page and my main email address to Google Apps (Premier Edition). My experiences have led to this Tip.
- Everyone should have their own domain name and tie it to their email address.
- Google Apps (free or paid) offer a US$10 domain name registration service, set up for use with Gmail.
- Gmail is an excellent email service.
Explore what Google Apps and Gmail can do for you.
Written by Miraz Jordan for, and reproduced from CommunityNet Aotearoa Panui, August 2008. This article may have been modified for publication here.