How To: Setup Google Apps
(10 minute guide)

Google allows you to use it’s world-leading email program, gmail, on your own domain ([email protected]).

This is the best business email setup available for small companies. Everything is maintained by Google, it can integrate with many business services, and the service is free (or $50/user/year if you want the upgraded version).

You can be up and running in less than 10 minutes.


Choose Your Edition

Go to the main Google Apps page. As of this writing, it looked like this:

Google Apps Premier Signup Page

This is the signup for Google Apps premier. The service is $50/user/year. Not a bad price, but it’s unnecessary for most small companies. There is some added security, additional storage space, the ability to remove ads, share videos, and have over 50 users. You can up/downgrade at any time, and there is a free trial for the premier edition, so take your pick.

We’re going to go with the free edition. This is referred to by Google as “Standard.” On this page, the link is towards the bottom right (you can see it’s purple here because I already clicked it).

Whichever edition you choose, click signup and you’ll see this:

Google Apps Domain Registration
Registering a Domain For Google Apps

At this point there are two possibilities. Either you already have a domain name (, or you need to buy one.

If you do not own a domain, click I want to buy a domain name. Google has a partnership with GoDaddy to register domain names for $10/year. This is not a bad price, and it makes the process very easy, so I would suggest using this service. Follow a couple menus, and you’ll pay using Google Checkout.

If you already own a domain, it’ll be a bit more complicated. For now, type your domain name into the box, and hit continue. You’ll answer a few questions before the next page.

Create Your First Administrator Account

The next screen asks you to create an administrator account. Go ahead and do this. It will be an email address, so you can use the address you want yourself, or create something such as “[email protected]

Verify Ownership

This step is only required if you did not purchase the domain through Google. You can either upload a file to your website, or change a CNAME record. If that sounds like gibberish, contact your webhost and give them exactly the instructions Google provides.

Initial Login

Whichever path you used to get here, Google will offer up a setup guide. You can open this if you would like – either way, you’ll eventually end up on this screen:

Google Apps Administration and Setup Page
Activate Email

If you had a previously purchased domain, under email there should be a link to activate email. Click this link, and Google will ask you to set MX records for your domain. Once again, if this is gibberish, your webhost should be able to do it for you. If you are a bit more comfortable, Google has instructions right on the page for getting your MX records setup with many of the popular domain registrars.

You’re Ready To Go!

The basics are complete, and your email should now be working. On the initial login screen, there will be a link where you can check your email. Send a test to see if everything’s working – if not, wait a couple hours to give the DNS records some time.

In addition to Gmail, you have access to:

  • Google Calendar – An online calendar application
  • Google Chat – An instant messaging service
  • Google Docs – Online word processor, spreadsheet, and powerpoint. Like a limited version of Microsof’s Office.
  • Google Sites – A place to setup simple websites

Additional Options

Although you can use the system as-is, there are several settings that are worth looking at.

Addresses and Sharing

If you click on the name of any app, you’ll see a couple options

  • Web Address – You can customize the location at which you access each app (ie, This again requires a change to the CNAME records.
  • Sharing Options – You can setup rules limiting sharing (stop employees from sharing calendars with those outside the company, for instance).


If you click on the email app, there are a few additional options.

  • Name Format – Choose to use John Doe, or Doe, John.
  • Catch-All Address – Setup a special address that will receive any message sent to your company that does not match a real email ([email protected] would land here).
  • Outbound Relay – This will allow people to setup sending of email from your system that goes through a different SMTP server. It defaults on, which is probably ok.

Users and Groups

Near the top of your dashboard, there will be a button labeled Users and Groups. There are several options here.

  • Create new users.
  • Create new groups, which are similar to mailing lists – send to the group, and everyone in the group gets the email.
  • Enable or disable the sharing of contacts across the system.

Domain Settings

Another button near the top of your dashboard, there are many settings in this category. Some you might want to look at include (listed by tab):

  • General – Choose your time zone. Consider enforcing SSL to provide better security.
  • Account Information – Upgrade/Downgrade your Google apps. Change your administrator.
  • Domain Names – Create aliases, receiving email at both and
  • Appearance – Upload your logo and match company colors for a professional look

Setup Your Employees

If you have employees, you can create accounts for up to 50 people (unlimited if you sprung for Premier). You can also create accounts for special addresses, such as support, or sales. Gmail is different from some email systems, so it could take a little while for everyone to get up to speed, but there’s plenty of documentation available from Google.

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(10 minute guide)”

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