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Thursday, March 06, 2008

Creating your own, unique email id - Google Apps

31 comments

The other day I was trying to register to a forum. However, while filling up the registration form, I was 1met with a brick wall in the form of a condition, which said I would be unable to register using an email id provided by the free service providers - in other words no Gmail, Yahoo!, Hotmail, etc ids would be accepted for registration. But in the imitable words of Dr. Randy Pausch, ‘Brick walls are meant to keep the others out.’ Or ‘Brick walls let us prove how badly we want something.’ So I decided to find ways of overcoming this brick wall since I indeed badly wanted to register to the aforementioned forum. Having read Digit’s Fast Track to Free Office in September 2007, I was aware of Google Apps For Your Domain (GAppsFYD) service that they were offering. So I decided to take a look at it to see how it could help me. A little later using some services offered for free, I was able to create and use my own unique email id, quite unlike anything the others have right now.



In order to create your own, unique email id, you would need to make use of 3 things:



  1. A Domain Name (provided by co.cc )
  2. DNS Nameserver service (provided by everydns.net)
  3. Google Apps account

This tutorial is divided into 3 stages




1.) A Domain name


The uniqueness of your email id would come from your own domain name. In your email-id, the domain name is the string of alphanumeric character that appear to the right of the ’@’ symbol in your email id. For example, if your email id is pappu@coldmail.com or pammi@hooya.com, then coldmail.com and hooya.com are the domain names. Usually the domain name is that of the service provider. So, although you may have any characters to the left of the ’@’ symbol, subject to it not being taken already, you cannot change the characters to the right.


In order to be in a position to change it, you must have your own domain name. You may shell out money and acquire a domain name with a .com, .org, or .info TLD. However, if you are planning to use the email id for your personal use, then there are the options of free domain names. Although there are a plethora of free domain name providers with a wide variety of esoteric TLD, like .co.nr, .tk, .biz.ly etc, you must, without a second thought, stay away from these. You need to register with a domain name provider that also allows you to add entries of DNS Nameservers (discussed later). Currently there exists two such domain name providers - co.cc and uni.cc. Of these, we shall use the co.cc domain name. There are two reasons for this - a .co.cc sounds not so much like a free domain name and it also has explicitly mentioned the support to the use of .co.cc domain names for Google Apps services. Using a uni.cc domain name is fraught with risks. Though it is an older domain name provider compared to co.cc, one of its Terms of Agreement is that you must insert a certain code, that enables it to ping, ensuring that the domain name that is registered with it is being used. If it finds that it is unable to ping the domain name, it assumes that you are no longer using the domain name and could reallocate the domain name to someone else. so any email account created with this id will cease to exist, or even worse, if another person sets up his email account with that domain name, all your emails would be forwarded to that person. If you have a website that uses a .uni.cc domain name, then there is no problem since you could add the code to the page and safely use the email account you create with it. However if you are using the domain name only for creating an email account, then it will be a problem.


So when you have finished registering your domain name with co.cc, you domain name would read www.example.co.cc, where example would be replaced by the name you select. The first step to registering a domain name is to see if it is available or has someone already taken it. That you may do in the box provided.



check domain name

If it is available, then you shall get a message congratulating you and asking you to register.


20080302uniqueid02


Registering for the Domain name is a complete no-brainer. Just fill up the simple information that you are asked to fill up and then your domain name would be registered. You may have to activate your domain account through the link sent by them to the email id that you entered. Once activated you will officially have your own unique domain name that you can associate with your email account.


Log back in to your domain account in .co.cc. All this while, although you had registered your domain name you had not configured it. So when you click on My domains, it would appear in Red, asking you to ‘Please Set Up’. Click on the Edit button.


edit Nameservers


You would now be asked to select between two options - Manage DNS and URL Forwarding Records. Select the Manage DNS option. Pay no attention to the statement that says - It can be difficult, because if you have reached this stage after having followed all the steps described earlier, it means that you have already passed through the difficult part (and you didn’t even know that, How cool is that!!!). Select option 1 Manage Name Servers(ns). When you select that option click on the [+ Add more Name Servers] link twice. This way you will have two more sections to fill in. The Name Servers used by EveryDNS are as follows.


ns1.everydns.net
ns2.everydns.net
ns3.everydns.net
ns4.everydns.net


(The everyDNS service will be configured in the next stage. But there is absolutely no harm in add their Nameserver entries right now)


Nameserver entry


Enter the data accordingly and click on the Setup Domain button.Next you shall be taken to a page that would look something like this.


20080302uniqueid20


Once this is completed your job is done. Log out.

One stage successfully completed. Just two more to go.


2.) DNS Nameserver service


A Name server is a link between your domain name and host. It will direct any queries for your site or account to the respective locations where your mail account is hosted. Name server services can be paid for or free. For our purpose we shall use one of the free services - the one provided by everyDNS. Again registering to use their service is a complete no-brainer and I leave it up to you to figure out the easy procedure to register. Once registered, log into the account. On the left hand side you shall see a column. In that column there is a section titled Webhop Domains:. In that section there is a category titled Add new domain (basic). Type in the domain name you registered at co.cc and click on the button >>(basic)


20080302uniqueid03


Once this is done, you shall see the entry of your domain name at the top of the same left column. Click on it.


domain entry


You will now be take to the page where all the records/entries related to that domain would be shown. Since you are yet to add any records of your own, you will see 2 dummy entries - one A-record entry and another CNAME entry.


20080302uniqueid05


Delete the A-record entry. You may not be allowed to delete the CNAME entry since it is expected that a domain name must have some entry in the Nameserver. It should be no cause of worry since we will be able to delete it easily as soon as we add our own entries to the domain name. In order to be able to associate the domain name with the email account in Google Apps, you must add 1 CNAME record entry and 7 MX record entries to the domain. In order to do this, you should locate the section titled Add a record. It should not be difficult to find at all since it is situated just below the Current Records section. We shall first add the CNAME record entry. Just enter the information as shown in the picture and then click on the Add record button.


add CNAME record


You will now see that the added CNAME record is now seen in the Current Records table. You may now delete the dummy CNAME entry from earlier. We shall now add the MX record entries related to the email account in Google Apps. The procedure to be followed is similar. Against the available categories, add the following entries and then click on the Add Record button.


Full Qualified Domain Name = shubhspace.co.cc


Record Type = MX


Record Value = ASPMX.L.GOOGLE.COM


If MX Record, MX value = 1


20080302uniqueid07


The complete list of Record entries that needs to be added are tabulated below.


emergency


You may use any other word instead of mail as the Fully Qualified Domain Name in the CNAME record entry. If you do so, then please note this down, as we would be needing this when we configure our Google apps account in the next stage. Once you have finished adding all the above mentioned entries, your completed Current Records table would look something like this.


(Please note that these settings are for your Google Apps account for which we shall sign up in the next stage. No harm would be done if you make these settings even before you have registered for the service)


20080302uniqueid08


In order to avoid confusion, I have blanked out entries not related to this particular tutorial. With this you have successfully completed the configuration of the DNS settings of your email id. In order to notify your domain registrar (in our case, co.cc) of theses settings we had already added the entries of EveryDNS’s Nameservers - ns1.everydns.net; ns2.everydns.net; ns3.everydns.net; ns4.everydns.net


Two stages successfully completed. Just one more stage to go.


Note: co.cc has now started offering its own Nameservers for adding CNAME, MX and A-record entries. However it being a new service that they are offering, its stability and security is still quite unknown. Moreover it is also a good practise not to club domain registration with DNS service together, in order to avoid any hassles at a later date. So I advise you to use the DNS service provided by everyDNS, which is now an old, stable and reputed free DNS service provider.



3.) A Google Apps account


Google Apps is essentially a set of services, bunched together, and offered to any enterprise who would need these services for the functioning and collaborative tasks of its employees. The services include a Google Calendar, Google Docs, Google Talk, Gmail etc.


Well now a question that may arise is that how is GAppsFYD different from a normal Google account using which you can make use of all these sevices. The answer lies in the term ’Your Domain’ in the name of the service. You can associate your own domain name with these services and hence any individual using these services [with your permission] will be doing it as part of services provided by your company. For example if you have a domain name example.com, then using Google Apps, you can create email accounts for your employees which would read user1@example.com, user2@example.com etc, where user1 or user2 could be replaced by a name of your choice. Thus you may create up to 100 such accounts using GappsFYD. So if you running a small company employing up to 100 people and need to provide them with services email accounts or planner calendars, you could make use of this service.


Although you may do a lot of things with Google Apps, this post will look only at the emailing feature of this service. Google Apps is available in three different versions - Standard Edition, Premier Edition and Education Edition. Of these, you may register and use the Standard Edition and Education Edition for free. We shall be making use of the Standard edition for creating our own unique email id.


Registering for the Standard edition of the service is a complete no-brainer. This is your start page. You start by entering the domain name with which you want to associate Google Apps. Then click on the Get Started button.


20080302uniqueid09


The next page that opens up you will have to enter some details, none of which need be authentic, except for the valid email id part. This because if something goes wrong with your account at a later date, then your contact with them would be through the email id you have entered here. So fill up the form and once you have done that, click on the button that says Continue.


20080302uniqueid10


step_02b


You will now be taken to a page where you will be asked to enter the username of the Administrator. When you enter the Google Apps account under the Administrator account, you will have complete control over all the settings in Google Apps. If you so desire, then you may make your Administrator account as the email id of your choice. However I suggest that you create your choice of email id later as a user account and not set it as your Administrator account. For now we will create a simple Administrator account. You may give it any username. I chose the username admin, ie, admin@shubhspace.co.cc would be the username and email id of the Administrator (ie, you, or your alter ego ). Once you have completed filling up the form, click on the button that says I accept. Continue with set up>.


20080302uniqueid12


I accept. Continue with Setup


Once this is completed correctly, you will be taken to your Google Apps control panel as an Administrator. On first arriving at the control panel, it would look something like this.


(Click on the image to view a larger size picture)


Dasbhoard


The main services are shown, but not activated. You will have to activate them. Since we are interested in the email component of the service, we shall take a look at it. Once you successfully activate your email account, activation of the other services, if you so desire, can be performed in a similar manner. But before that you must perform a task that is known as Verify domain ownership. Once this is done the services would be activated automatically. One of the methods of verifying domain ownership is by updating your domain records to point your domain to Google’s servers providing the Google Apps service. But we have already done that!!!!. So all you will have to do now is log out, wait for a few hours (An estimate on the safe side) and then log back in. (In the meantime you will receive an email in the address provided by you while registering). When you log back in your dashboard will now look like this. All the services have now been activated.


(Click on the image to view a larger size picture)


20080302uniqueid15


Now that your services are activated, you may create a new user with the unique email id that you wanted for yourself. Click on the link that says Create new users. In the new page that opens up, enter the Name (the one which people will see when they receive a mail from you) and the username of your choice. Assign the account a password right now by clicking on the Set password link below. You may use the same passwords you had used for the admin account, but you will still have to type it out. Then click the Create new user button. With this your own unique email id will be created. Rejoice!!!!!.


20080302uniqueid16


Never underestimate the extent to human stupidity. You give them your email id - mailme@shubhspace.co.cc and they, in all their wisdom assume it to be maleme@shubhspace.co.cc . So any important mail they send you at the email id maleme@shubhspace.co.cc could be expected never to reach you ever. Google, in anticipation of such erros, comes to your rescue with a cool nifty feature called Catch-all Address. Click on the link titled email on the dashboard. Select the Forward the email to option and type in the id you have created or yourself and then Save the changes. Simple!!!!. From now on anybody trying to send you an email will only have to get the domain name correctly (shubhspace.co.cc, in my case). They may take the liberty of mistyping your username (to the left of the ’@’ symbol) and still reach you.


Catch-all Address


So now if you wish to check your mail you would have to open the site http://mail.google.com/a/shubhspace.co.cc. It is quite a long url to remember. In order to shorten your url, Google allows you to create a subdomain that will open up your email login page. In order to do this, click on the Email link on the dashboard. The page that opens up will have a section called Web address. Clicking on it will open a page that will let you specify the subdomain you desire. In your case it must be the same name that you had entered while updating your domain records in EverDNS control panel. Once done click on the Continue button.


mail login subdomain


It will then ask you to add a CNAME value to your domain records. We had already done that in stage 2. So you may just click the button labeled I’ve completed these steps.


With this you too have successfully completed all the steps needed to create your own unique email id. To log into your newly created email id just open your login site (mail.shubhspace.co.cc, in my case). Type in your username and password and you will enter your email account to send and receive emails through your one of a kind email id.


I have only talked about the email service of Google Apps. It, in fact, has a plethora of features available that you can make use of to great effects. Explore them and use them to know more about them. If you have any doubt or query regarding this post, please feel free to get in touch with me, either through the Comments or through email listed above, which, by the way was laso created using Google Apps.

Godspeed

References

If you would like to know more about Google apps then you may read a nice article that has appeared on lifehacker.


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31 comments:

  1. hello. i'm co.cc user and use 000webhost.com free hosting provider. can you tell me how to point my domain from everydns to 000webhost.com thx

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Angga

    If you have created an account at everyDNS for your domain name, then just add an A-Record entry pointing to the 000webhost.com

    AFAIK 000webhost has an IP address of 75.126.210.181.

    But please confirm it by asking tech support for 000webhost.com

    If you are unable to follow soe part of this please feel fre to get back to me

    Regards :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi mecah.

    Im too use 000webhost.com and am asking if u can show some image example to create an A-Record to 000webhost.com for a like mail.user.co.cc for Gmail because 000webhost dont support CNAmAE.

    PD. Sorry if i mistake on something my english is not good.

    Regards :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Pablo,

    If you have registered with everydns.net and want to ad an A-record to your domain entries, then

    this picture should tell you how to do it (click on it to see it)

    As far as I know 000webhost.com has IP address of 75.126.210.181
    But please verify by asking the help desk or tech support over there
    You may have to start a ticket in order to do so.

    Hope you find it useful :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi mecah,

    Thanks, but that was not the answer that waited, but help me to understand.
    what I understand, co.cc dns -> everydns from here -> A record for the host(dns ips) and CNAME and MX for google.

    Now i change the co.cc dns to everydns im waiting to see if it work.

    If i wrong tellme.

    Regards :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. You understood it well Pablo. Cool!! :)
    Let me tell you again, just to clear any doubts.

    First let us assume your site is example.co.cc
    and your email id is contact@example.co.cc

    If somebody wants to access your site, he will type in example.co.cc in the browser window. The request will first go to the co.cc Name Servers. From there it will be re-directed to the everyDNS.net Name Servers (you have entered everydns name servers in your co.cc account). Once it reaches everyDNS, the Name server evaluates if it is a request for your website example.co.cc. If it is for your site, it will re-direct your request to the IP address in your A-record entry. Now if your site is properly configured in your IP-address location, it will send back the site to the one who requested it.

    The only difference with the e-mail is that, instead of A-records, the request will be forwarded to the servers in your MX-records entry

    Hope you find it useful. Tell me if it worked out fine (tell me even if did not. then we could figure out a way to tackle the problem)

    Regards

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thanks mecah,

    im trying to resolve some problems i have with that, because my page its not working, and the fpt itns working too. so i made some changes in co.cc to find the problem if is from 000webhost or just everydns.

    Soon i will back to show the progres.

    Regards :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Well it looking good.

    All work. I have to say that the one A Record should be for the ip of the site or Server ip provider from 000webhost like http://10.10.10.10 = example.co.cc. and not for 000webhost.com.

    Regards :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi Pablo,
    Glad to hear that your site is up and running. Congratulations :)

    Well it appears that there was some miscommunication on my part while trying to explain it to you verbally.

    But in this picture that I had shown you, I had pointed shubhspace.co.cc to 75.126.210.181 (ie, if I had used the service of 000webhosting.com)

    In your case you would have had to replace shubhspace.co.cc with your own domain name (example.co.cc).

    And the IP address - 75.127.68.66 points to the server which 000webhosting.com uses for hosting all the free sites. (I think 75.127.68.66 is the correct one. I had asked you to verify)

    So I am assuming you did something like this example.co.cc to IP 75.127.68.66 (10.10.10.10)

    Just a little curious to know as I too am learning how to manage domains properly

    Regards :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hi mecah,

    Maybe i dont understand very well. my english is bad. but the ip that u use 75.126.210.181 it not for all free hosting. in account details say :

    Domain: example.co.cc
    IP Address: 64.191.78.229 <-- that ip i use to A Record inevery dns.
    Server Hostname: server6.890m.com

    that is my host server and for other people too, i dont know how manys. i hope i explain wihtout erros.

    Regards :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hi there, I'm also a co.cc user. I have a wordpress account and I would like to point my domain (from everydns) to that. Can you teach me how?...By the way, thank you for the tutorial on setting up a google apps account...it helped me a lot and now I have my own unique e-mail add :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hi,
    I am glad that you found the post useful.
    Thanks

    The problem with Wordpress blog [free version] is that you would have to shell out $10 per year for using your own domain name (they call it domain mapping).
    http://faq.wordpress.com/2006/11/10/domain-mapping/

    The only option your have for attaching your domain name to your wordpress blog is to use url re-direction service. However, I strongly advice you not to use the re-direction service offered in the co.cc control panel

    Take a look at this post.
    http://www.shubhspace.co.cc/2008/03/visit-site-without-adding-www.html

    Register for an account with axspace.com. Once registered, you will be given a shared IP address (I was given 66.49.222.169). With this IP address, go to you everyDNS account and just add an A-record (exaplined in the post link).

    Once this is done, just check the part of the above post where I have explained how to do a 301 re-direct
    In your case just replace www.shubhspace.co.cc with example.wordpress.com, where example is your existing wordpress name. So now everytime someone types in www.example.co.cc the person would be re-directed to example.wordpress.com automatically.

    This should solve your problem. :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hi there, I followed your advice in doing a 301 re-direct and it worked. (Thank you so much!) However, I'm having a little problem with it...First, the site can't be accessed if you include the 'www' in the url...and then, I've also noticed that it doesn't maintain the 'www.example.co.cc' address because it reverts back to the 'example.wordpress.com' address...(I noticed that in your site, your url is still http://www.shubhspace.co.cc) Is there a way to fix that?...plus, do you recommend frontpage extensions in sites?...I noticed that they are offering that service in Axspace.com and was wondering if it is safe/ possible to add that to my site :)...Thanks again :)

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hi Summerhale,
    The good News first
    In order to enable access with www, just go the the redirections section under Domain
    and enable Wildcard redirect
    Take

    a look at this picture


    just replace example.wordpress.com with your desired domain name
    that will make you site accesible both with or without the www

    The no-so-good NEWS
    The problem with Wordpress blog [example.wordpress.com] is that you would have to shell out $10 per year for using your own domain name (they call it domain mapping).
    http://faq.wordpress.com/2006/11/10/domain-mapping/

    Blogger, however, offers it for free. Which is why you would see my address permanently, along with permanent links to all my posts containing shubhspace.co.cc in it.

    AFAIK, frontpage extensions work only with paid version of the wordpress blog (wordpress.org). I don't think it would work with example.wordpress.com- type blogs. I could be wrong. You would have to check it out to verify.
    Regards :)

    ReplyDelete
  15. thanks dude...your tutorial are brilliant!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hi Zariel,
    I am glad that you foun the posts useful.

    Regards :)

    ReplyDelete
  17. Hi dude,
    All post are realy grrt! Thanx a lot.I need a small help. I m also a co.cc user and having a problem with my site..I have hosted my site on freetz.com and already set the name server on co.cc...but still my site is not even after more than 48 hours..can u help me out.
    Thanx in a-vance
    AP

    ReplyDelete
  18. Hi anon,
    freetz.com took me to a site of what appears to be a restuarant. Strange!!!

    Anyway, if you have correctly entered the Nameservers in co.cc and your site is still not up, there could actually be a lot of reasons. I could only speculate what they might be. It is best that you contact the tech support of your webhost to inquire about the exact cause of your site's inaccesibility
    Regards :)

    ReplyDelete
  19. Hi Mecah,
    After a few hours when I sign in Google Apps the services are not activated. Do I have to wait longer?

    ReplyDelete
  20. hi,

    i'm using 10gbfreehost.com for my webhost and i've installed wordpress there. i'm also a co.cc user and i was wondering what is my webhost's ip address. i've tried nslookup the name server and i get 72.232.214.19. is this the address? thx

    ReplyDelete
  21. Hi Taxumi,
    Did you enter the MX-records and CNAME records correclty in EveryDNS. If you have, but still not got it to activate it automatically, then I suggest that you click on the corresponding activate links (Activate e-mail, activate calendar etc) and follow the instructions given.
    Keep me updated
    Regards :)


    Hi lovehatetragedy,
    My suggestion to you would be - LEAVE 10GBFREEHOST as soon as you can. They appear to be running some king of sham job.

    I pinged its Nameservers - ns1.10gbfreehost.com & ns2.10gbfreehost.com. This is the result that I got.
    If you observed something, it is giving the same IP address for both the servers. It is absolute blasphemy. Nameservers must always, without any doubt, be hosted on different computers alloted different IP addresses.

    With this bit of info revealed, lets get back to the problem at hand. The IP address that you mentioned - 72.232.214.18, is that of the computer on which the site 10gbfreehost.com has been hosted. It may or may not be hosting the free sites that it allows users to create. While registering for their service, you must have been given the shared IP address to be used. If not, then I suggest that you ask for it from their tech support(though I suggest that you dont use their services at all).

    Also Nameserver are a specific type of servers handling DNS queries. I think you werent really asking about Nameservers. It was the hosting server that you were actually asking about, I guess.

    Regards :)

    ReplyDelete
  22. It is activated right after I ask you that question. Thanks a lot guy! :)

    ReplyDelete
  23. Hi Mecah,

    I was wondering if I can have my google services loaded in my co.cc domain, for example, pages.mydomain.co.cc, mail.mydomain.co.cc without being redirected to google.com after that.

    Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Hi Taxumi,
    Do you mean something like mail.shubhspace.co.cc?

    I had explained how to do it in the post. Please check it out. It should solve your problem.

    Regards :)

    ReplyDelete
  25. so i have to abandon my site and create another site from another host? is there another way around i mean that can i setup cname at the www.co.cc website instead of using everdns.net?

    ReplyDelete
  26. Hi lovehatetragedy,
    your problem has got nothing to with EveryDNS or co.cc.

    It is the basic underlying flaw with 10GBfreehost of having two apparently different name servers on a single computer. It indicates that they are cutting costs by not ensuring relaiblity of their service.

    It is your choice weather you want to go ahead and set up your site on such a host.

    Regards :)

    ReplyDelete
  27. Hi,
    I am now on the verification of domain ownership in google aps.
    In verifying this google is asking me to do the ff.
    1. Use the following unique string to create a new CNAME record for the clickermail.co.cc domain:
    google88464204e0780b5

    2.Point the CNAME record to:
    google.com

    how should i do this in everydns.net?

    Thanks and more power!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Hi Anon,
    Take a look at this picture

    once added they say it will be verified in 48 hours

    Regards :)

    ReplyDelete
  29. Hi
    Sir

    I am very new in this.I have ebook that i want to publish.I am using Wordpress,co.cc and 000webhosting.

    I have read all the details.
    1)I have created a Wordpress blog.
    2)Setup co.cc
    3)Setup 000webhosting.

    Now i am confuse what to do next.I have been doing for a week now still i am very blur.

    Adi

    ReplyDelete
  30. This is very helpful. Thanks for posting it.

    ReplyDelete

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