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Google Apps for Your Domain - Nothing to See Here

Feb. 25th, 2007

11:25 am - Google Apps for Your Domain

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So, it started with "gmail for your domain". It was (and is) pretty awesome. There've always been a few minor annoyances/lacking features[1], but, really, it blew the lid off using my useless frickin' hosting provider for e-mail. You all know gmail[2], I'm sure.

What's more, though ... there's basically three things that you need if you have a domain: (1) DNS, (2) e-mail service, (3) web hosting.

  1. You still need DNS hosting[3]. DNS is basically the phone book of the Internet. You have to put your domain in the DNS in order for web browsers to know where to find your web site and e-mail servers to know where to deliver mail. This, Google does not provide (yet?).

  2. Google have been providing this for some time, as 'gmail for your domain'.

  3. Google created "Google Pages", which let you create a web site with WYSIWYG tools (suitable for most people) and have <yourname>.googlepages.com. I couldn't understand why they didn't provide a way to point a domain at it instead. Well, guess what? Now you can[4]. Awesome!
This means that you can use Google (free) to host e-mail and web service for your domain, and all you need is DNS.

I have to wonder how long it will be until they plug that particular hole and have Google DNS. I know somewhere they could buy some really nice, extremely fast, highly configurable (on the fly, no stupid restarts) DNS servers that would really work well for them.

Aaaaaaaaanyhow... it will be interesting to see what they do with this, and the service is bloody useful as it is.

Footnotes:

[1] They just recently (I don't know when, but I discovered it a day or so ago) added one of the features I'd been clamouring for. You can now have multiple domains set up as "aliases" on one account. That is, if you have example1.com, and you set up an e-mail account for fred@example1.com, then you can say example1.net and example3.tv are aliases, and then any e-mail for fred@example3.tv will just go to the same user, fred@example1.com. I had wanted this, and asked for this, a long time ago, as I have multiple domains, most of which from an e-mail perspective would ideally just work the same as my main domain.

[2] The first webmail which I've ever liked, and they provide free (secure) POP access so you can use it that way or do what I do and use POP simply to maintain a backup of all your mail. Well, gmail for your domain is precisely the same thing, but without the @gmail.com suffix.

[3] DNS is no problem for me (though it may be a bit of a pain for others ... but I think there's some free DNS hosting services out there--sounds like maybe DynDNS have such a service, but I haven't investigated).

[4] You simply go to the "Google Apps for Your Domain" (which is what it's called now that it's no longer just gmail-for-your-domain) "Dashboard" and 'add the "web pages" service'. Then you can set up a site for www.<yourdomain>.<tld> (e.g. www.example1.com, if you own example1.com).

Comments:

[User Picture]
From:kreggan
Date:February 25th, 2007 08:38 pm (UTC)
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You also need a domain registration, and most domain registrars provide a minimal cost DNS service. :>
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]
From:mavjop
Date:February 25th, 2007 08:57 pm (UTC)
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Hm, I kind of figured domain registration as an unmentioned pre-requisite. Or rather, it was so obvious to me (and I already own domains, so I tend to think more of hosting for existing stuff than about registration as part of getting things up and running) that I didn't consider it.

Good point.

I have never looked at registrar DNS hosting services, so I don't know how much it would cost or whether it would be completely configurable to set up any way you want or annoyingly restrictive (either in the name of being user friendly or just due to crapness).

Definitely something for people to consider though. :)
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]
From:wy
Date:February 25th, 2007 09:47 pm (UTC)
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Dragonfeathers.org has been google-hosted for a while. <3 :P
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]
From:wy
Date:February 25th, 2007 09:49 pm (UTC)
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Also, you can have 'all email to this domain' going to one account, so say, I can have 'livejournal@dragonfeathers.org', etc, all going to me.

Also, you can set it up so that 'mail.dragonfeathers.org' automatically goes to googlemail.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]
From:mavjop
Date:February 25th, 2007 10:54 pm (UTC)
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    Also, you can have 'all email to this domain' going to one account, so say, I can have 'livejournal@dragonfeathers.org', etc, all going to me.
You can certainly do that. You can even have a set of user accounts and then have everything else go to one account.
    Also, you can set it up so that 'mail.dragonfeathers.org' automatically goes to googlemail.
Yeah, I set that up and was extremely disappointed that mail.mydomain.foo redirects to http://mail.google.com/a/mydomain.foo/ and not https://mail.google.com/a/mydomain.foo/. :( Why? WHY?! I don't want to use http to access my e-mail when I can use https. Unfortunately, going to https://mail.mydomain.foo/ simply results in going nowhere at all, so basically mail.mydomain.foo is totally useless. I would not recommend using it to any users.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]
From:mavjop
Date:February 25th, 2007 10:49 pm (UTC)
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E-mail, or web, or both?

I've had my domain's e-mail handled by Google since the very very early days of "gmail for your domain".

It's the web hosting part of it that's new to me. I'm not planning to use it for my main domain, but I am going to use it for some stuff.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
From:(Anonymous)
Date:March 7th, 2007 02:46 am (UTC)

aint no such thing as a free lunch

(Link)
# Google Apps Premier Edition - Free trial until April 30th
# Free until April 30th, 2007 (then $50/user acount/year)
# 10GB mailboxes

Even google gets that email hosting is a pain in the ass.

its all about IM anyway...
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]
From:mavjop
Date:March 7th, 2007 04:43 am (UTC)

Re: aint no such thing as a free lunch

(Link)
They seem to be happily and successfully doing e-mail hosting, so I dispute that.

Also, up to 2Gb per account (up to 25 accounts) is free. That's up to 50Gb of e-mail storage, if you have 25 accounts.

The premiere thing is for upgraded service, not for basic service.
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