Moved Domain Email to Google Apps

I’ve been getting a ton of spam in my random process domain inbox, so much so that it’s a pain to filter through it to retrieve the comments and contacts I’ve received legitimately through the contact form here. I’ve enabled the spam filter provided by the web host and I’ve been generally careful with where I’ve posted the email (only in comment forms) so I’m not certain why or how I’m getting crushed with spam. I’ve been gritting my teeth and dealing with it.

Spam email

I’m not sure why I didn’t think of it earlier, but I realized that there was a simple solution to the problem – outsource. That’s right, I’ve now outsourced my email system to Google Apps, using Gmail. The spam filter is actually good and I’m able to use the Gmail interface that I’m use to, and not the terrible, non-user friendly UI of the webmail service provided by default through my host.

It’s quite simple really, and very beneficial.

  1. Set up a Google Apps account. The personal, free one will do.
  2. Verify that the website is yours. This involves either uploading an HTML file to your web host or creating a new CNAME value. The verification may take up to 48 hours as per Google’s warning message, but is typically verified much, much quicker than that.
  3. Now it’s time to send a few back and forth emails using the temporary email address before we go messing with MX records. Google provides a temporary test email – send a few emails back and forth to an email you can check.
  4. Once you’ve determined that all is working fine, it’s time to modify the MX records. My host uses cPanel, where the option is listed as ‘Modify Mail Exchanger’. Specify that you want to change an MX record and change it to the Google suggestion, ASPMX.L.GOOGLE.COM. (Requires the dot after the address).
  5. You’ve completed the setup, so just perform another test to make certain the emails are flowing back and forth properly. There’s no need to use Google’s test email address; use whatever one you created.

This is a much nicer solution that using my web host’s webmail service. I only wish I thought of looking for a solution earlier as it would have saved me a lot of hassle.