Since I first met Gmail, in the very beginning of the service, I became addicted to the interface and, this days, I can hardly imagine myself using something else.
Yet using public email addresses is a big problem because if one day you change to another service you will have the headache of telling everybody about your new address. Having your own domain and your email within it is much better.
You may also want to handle old email accounts within Gmail transparently.
In this article, I will show you how to configure Gmail to manage multiple accounts in a transparent way and using your own domain email address or any other you may like.
Update: See the sequel of this article and learn How to manage all your main in Gmail: Filters, Labels multiple Id’s and even backups
The first thing to do is to put a forwarding rule on all your other email addresses.
If you own a domain, creating fordward email accounts is probably very simple, on your registrar’s site. You can create an email firstname.lastname@example.org that has no mailbox associated and the email will be simply be forwarded to email@example.com.
If you own an email from a free mail service, it is likely that you can configure a forward rule to another address. Some email systems don’t allow you to do that. If that is the case you won’t be able to manage it through Gmail.
Keep in mind that if your email system doesn’t allow you to create a forward rule this is a very good reason to get rid of it as soon as possible.
With this done, you will receive all your mail on your Gmail account.
So far, so good, but this is pretty basic, huh? We are suppose to handle all email through Gmail and not just receive forwaded mail, correct?
Read on, gentle reader, you’ll find your answers.
So far you have set up all email accounts you have to forward to Gmail. But still, if you reply a message addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org the sender will still be you@Gmail.com. So your managing address will be shown and this may bring up two problems
- You lose the authority of your domain on email you replied.
- You are disclosing an address you don’t want email to be directly sent to.
If people send email to email@example.com, they expect a reply from this account. If you send a reply from a different account that may undermine trust and authority your domain has. To say the least, you will disclose how your inner email management system works.
The second problem is even worse. If one day you want to quit Gmail and use something else to manage your mail, you will have to care about people sending email directly to your Gmail account.
Say that one day, someone manages to get access to your Gmail account and takes over it (I’ve know cases like this before), you’ll need a new one. If you don’t receive direct email to that account, you only have to redirect you@yourdomain to your_new_account@Gmail.com.
So you what we want is
- All email you want to manage should be replied from the same account it was sent to
- All email sent to obsolete accounts should arrive, but should be replied with the new address
- Set a default address attached to your identity, and not to Gmail or any other public email service
Now, we want Gmail to assume a different Identity for different email accounts you have forwarded to it.
For this, let’s assume you have these accounts forwarded to your Gmail:
- Your account within your domain. An account you plan to keep for countless years and have full power to manage.
- Your contact account within your domain. You want to keep it as a separate identity because one day your little business may grow so much that you’ll need to hire someone else to handle contact email while you play CEO.
- An old account of yours in a web provider you don’t really like but you can’t get rid of because people still send you email to it.
- Your grandma’s account. She is not quite good at email, but she needed a contact address since she launched a website to sell her wonderful cakes out. She left you in charge of handling customers on her behalf (she will bake your favorite cake in return)
What we want is:
- Your default email will be firstname.lastname@example.org. Every email you start writing will be sent with this identity.
- Incoming mail to email@example.com will be replied as firstname.lastname@example.org
- Incoming mail to email@example.com will be replied as firstname.lastname@example.org
- Incoming mail to email@example.com should be replied as the default identity, once you’d like this account to be lost forever instead of perpetuated
- Incoming mail to grandma@GrandmaCakes.com will be replied assuming the nice old lady’s identity.
Now, let’s do it.
- The first thing to do is to set up the default reply mail policy. Go to Settings»Accounts and click in Reply from the same address the message was sent to. With this, if a message is sent to an email managed by Gmail, when it is replied, Gmail will use as sender the same identity the email was sent to.
Now, let’s configure your default mail. Click Add another email address and put your name and the email address you want as default, firstname.lastname@example.org in our example.
Gmail will send this address a confirmation email to verify that you own it. Because is already redirected in our example, you will receive the message on your Gmail account, no problems about it.
Then, repeat the process to contact@yourdomain and grandma@GrandmaCakes.com, but do not include email@example.com. Why? Just because you don’t want to manage that account, it is already redirected to you, but you don’t want that identity anymore.
If you don’t include an email account, Gmail will not assume its identity as sender, and the default address will be used. Now you are able to read mail from this account, but you won’t send email from it.
- The Last step is setting your default account. Right now is firstname.lastname@example.org. That means that all email you start and all email sent to unmanaged accounts that are redirected to it, will be replied with this identity. But you want to hide your Gmail account from public, so click on the make default link to the right of you@your_domain.com.
Now you are done. You can manage all your email within Gmail and nobody will even know you have one.