Gmail is ubiquitous and easy to use, but that “@gmail.com” at the end of your company’s email address is seriously undermining your brand authority. Custom email domains are far more professional, but they are often gated behind paid solutions like Google’s G Suite.
If you’d rather not shell out the cash, there’s good news: you can create your own custom email domain, without sacrificing the convenience of Gmail. And yes, you can do it 100% free using our workaround.
However, just because something’s free, doesn’t automatically make it better in all situations. Indeed, our clever hack has limitations–which G Suite handles with ease. Before diving in, let’s take a look at why G Suite is the industry standard so we can compare whether it’s worth it to use our workaround.
How G Suite justifies your investment and boosts productivity
Yes, it’s perfectly possible to use gmail with a custom domain without G Suite, as we’ll show you below. But custom email domains for your business are just a single facet of what G Suite has to offer.
For example, our hack lets you append your domain to a single email address through the magic of email forwarding. This is fine if you’re the only person in your company who needs such an email–but what if you’ve got employees?
In short, G Suite makes it easy to assemble team members under your business domain, providing a common platform for collaboration and sharing of files. Here’s an example of what you can do with G Suite:
- You can set up custom emails for every team member according to their name and/or function. Examples: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, etc.
- If you hire freelancers or contractors, you can create accounts for them on the fly, then revoke access with a single click once the project’s completed.
- Easily sync calendar events across your entire team, and centralize communications via Google’s Chat, Video, and Voice conferencing.
- Share files and folders including Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, Keep notes, and more.
- Customize retention policies per user for all this data, and archive it with unlimited cloud storage via Drive. Easily search and recall anything from the vault with eDiscovery.
- Boost productivity via custom workflows, automation, and integrations with Google Apps Script
- Track user activity via in-depth audit reports.
As you can see, this is a ton of functionality for what boils down to a modest monthly investment. If you’re running anything other than a sole proprietorship, you owe it to yourself to give G Suite a shot.
For less than the price of lunch, you’ll gain a massive operational edge within Google’s centralized ecosystem. The boost in productivity should more than justify the base $12/month.
And if that’s not enough, sign up with our exclusive discount, and save X%. Try it completely free for 14 days, then pay just $X.XX when you use our link.
How to make a FREE custom Gmail domain for your business
We get it, sometimes the all-in solution isn’t for you. After all, if you need a single tool, why spend extra for the whole toolbox? Especially when you can spend nothing at all!
If you’re ready to boost the professionalism of your brand, here’s how to get a FREE custom email domain through Gmail. Normally, this is reserved for paying G Suite subscribers, but you can work around this limitation using the following steps:
Step 1 – Make a standard Gmail account for your business
Google makes it incredibly easy to get started with its world-renowned email service. Just click over to https://accounts.google.com/SignUp. Next:
- Fill in your name, and then pick an appropriate username–something like email@example.com is ideal.
- If account security and backup access is important to you, enter your phone number and recover email address. Your birthday and gender are required to move forward, though there are custom options including “Rather Not Say” for the latter.
- Review the Terms of Service, then click Agree.
Now you’re in! This is where you’ll manage all of your emails, within the comfort of Gmail’s plush inbox UI.
Step 2 – Register your custom domain
Next, you’ll create the domain your business provides for customers to interact with. If you’ve already got a fully functional website or you’ve registered the domain you want to use, you can probably skip this step.
Otherwise, you’ll need to select a registrar for your domain that includes email forwarding. While domains vary greatly in cost, many all-in-one webhosting services offer free domain registration as part their hosting package.
Here are a few domain registrars which offer email forwarding:
Once you’ve done this, you’ll have an email associated with your website. It’ll look something like firstname.lastname@example.org. This is the address your customers will find on the Contact page of your site, and use to communicate with your team.
Please note: if your host doesn’t have email forwarding tools as part of its service, you’ll need to transfer your domain to one that does. Most major hosts have processes that make this extremely easy, so worry not!
Step 3 – Configure forwarding between your domain email and Gmail
Now we get to the good stuff: forwarding emails sent to your business domain on to your Gmail (and vice versa). This step is divided into two parts for inbound and outbound emails.
Forwarding incoming emails to Gmail
Every compatible hosting service has their own way of configuring incoming email forwarding, but generally the process looks like this:
- Sign into your admin account with your site host
- Navigate to the tab or menu item dealing with email management
- Find the option for forwarding, then enter the email@example.com address you created in Step 1.
Forwarding outgoing emails through your domain email
Once you’ve got incoming email forwarding set up, you’ll need to do the same within Gmail for outgoing emails. Luckily, Google allows us to do this for free via its SMTP servers. Here’s how:
- Within your Google account, navigate to Settings > Security > Less Secure app access, and turn it On. (If you’ve got 2-Step Verification, you’ll need to generate an application-specific password)
- Next, go to Gmail. Click the Gear Icon at the top-right, then the Accounts and Import Under Send Mail As, click Add another email address and fill the firstname.lastname@example.org custom domain email from Step 2 into the pop-up field. Tick the box next for Treat as an alias, then click Next Step >>.
- Enter the following settings:
- SMTP Server – smtp.gmail.com
- Username – myname.mybusiness
- Password – Your Gmail password (or application-specific password)
- Port/Secure connection using – 465/SSL or 587/TLS
- An email will be sent to your forwarding address. Click the verification link within through to the Gmail Settings page. Here, click Make default next to email@example.com.
Test out your forwarding
Once you’ve configured in/outbound email forwarding, you’ll want to test it out.
Send an email to a colleague or another email address you control from firstname.lastname@example.org. It should appear in that inbox as coming from email@example.com.
Then, respond to that email (or have your colleague do it) with another test email. If it hits your Gmail inbox without any problems–congratulations! You’ve successfully hacked together free custom email domain without paying Google for G Suite.
Get G Suite for free if you qualify
Believe it or not, you may not even have to go through the trouble making a custom Gmail domain via our 3-step workaround. There are two instances when your company can get G suite for free:
- If your company is a non-profit, check out the Google for Nonprofits Here, you can register as a non-profit, and get full access to G Suite Basic without paying a dime.
- Similarly, G Suite Education is available for schools, which includes the full product suite, video conferencing, and unlimited storage.
In both cases, it’s not only possible but incredibly easy to create free email addresses using your website domain through G Suite. What’s more, you can do this for each of your team members. Check out Google’s documentation to get started.
Nothing beats the convenience of Gmail’s interface, but customers overwhelmingly prefer and trust business domain emails. Nevertheless, it’s totally possible to have your cake and eat it–without shelling out for G Suite. If you’re a small company on a tight budget, using our workaround to make a Gmail custom domain email for free can be a lifesaver.
Got any questions about creating an email address with your own domain name? Reach out to us below!