Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Moving my email to Google Apps for domain

I decided to move all my email handling from my hosting provider to Google. There was a couple things stopping me from this move until now, mostly lack of knowledge, but I think I have done enough research to make a smooth transition.

Thank you Bluehost, your sub par service has motivated me to look for better and cheaper alternatives.

Until now, I was using my Bluehost's infrastructure (cPanel) to handle my email, this is something you automatically get, most of the time, when you sign up for web hosting. Main downside is that the space used for email storage and bandwidth to receive, send and check email is coming out of your web hosting package, while Google will host your email for free and "on the cloud"!

With Bluehost I'm getting an enormous amount of spam. Even with SpammAssassin in place. Even after I created a custom "learning script" to teach SpamAssassin how to distinguish spam better. Gmail's spam filter is the best free solution I've seen to date.

Other advantages would include: better security, sweet web interface, IMAP and POP access, 7 GB of storage space per email address, automatic backup, redundancy and stability. Did I mention it's free? Now I can move my hosting around all I want, my email will be intact as long as I can modify my MX records.

It was relatively easy to do:
  1. I signed up for Google Apps for Domain account
  2. Verified domain ownership by creating an special HTML file
  3. Configured Gmail to have email accounts (users) matching my current setup
  4. Imported my emails using tool provided by Google
  5. Followed instructions on creating MX entries in cPanel
  6. Asked Bluehost to add a CNAME record pointing to for cleaner access to web interface (this step is optional, you can just use default:
  7. Configured my email clients to use Google's mail servers