Monday, 10 October 2011

Your own email system - free and easy for anyone

Having your own email address isn't too hard for those with a bit of IT savvy - you can do anything from buiding and maintaining your own mail server to using a hosted server that still might just need a bit of configuration.
 
But I've recently discovered that there an even easier way with Google Apps (free). Anyone can set this up - even my mum (well maybe). The beauty of Google Apps is that the email part is just based on gmail - which is an industry leading robust online mail system.
 
So what do I mean by "your own email system" and why would you want it? Well basically it means you can have a custom email address like fred@darwinthompsons.com. This is far better than something like fred112@hotmail.com. Its more than just a custom address of course - here's a list of a few advantages;
 

  • A web based email system doesn't just exist on your PC - you can access your email anywhere you have an Internet connection
  • Being in the "cloud" - you don't lose all your emails, contacts etc when your computer dies or is lost/stolen etc
  • The gmail system also allows you to use it "offline" (ie without an internet connection)
  • Your email doesn't change when you change internet providers (eg from Telstra to Internode) - also gmail is normally much better to use than most ISP's webmail type services.
  • With google apps free - you get up to 10 users. So you can have like a family email address domain (eg fred@darwinthompsons.com, mary@darwinthompsons.com etc) - or for a small business (eg admin@smithplumbing.com)
  • You get other associated services with google apps to share between your users and others - like calendars, documents and contacts.
  • It also provides aliases.  For example your daughter might have her email address in your system as shirley@barrahunter.com but would also like to have shirl@barrahunter.com - this can be done and it would all go to the one address for shirley to see.
  • Google apps works great on mobile devices like android, iphones, ipads etc.  It'll sync with your calendars and contacts also.


  • There is a couple of "gotchas" however;
    • The domain name (eg barrahunter.com) you want might be taken - and probably will be for any dictionary word (eg barramundi.com) and many names and phrases (hiddenvalley.com would be taken for instance).  So you have to be a bit creative when thinking of a name as there are still many that aren't (ok I ended up with stormpilgrim.com and that might be a bit lame).
    • Did I say it was free?  Well google apps is free.. for the free edition.. which is all you need.  There is however a $10 per year fee for the domain name you register...  google look after the registration etc for you but the money actually goes to a domain name registrar.
    • The paid version of google apps give you things like no advertisements around emails (the ads in gmail are very inconspicuous anyways), 25GB email (with free you get heaps anyway - 7-8GB I think)
    Ok you're interested how do you go about getting google apps?  Simple..   just go to https://www.google.com/a/cpanel/domain/new and use the "I want to buy a domain name" option.  It might take you sometime to find a domain name that isn't already in use - but thats half the fun!  You can try domain names before you have to pay the $10.

    You might get lucky!  Check out this one that was available still! 

    If you have any problems let me know and I'll try and help.

    No comments:

    Post a comment