Cheap mail services: Google Apps for the Domain

by admin on July 7, 2008

When you are a small printing shop but with ten or more people, you have a bit of a problem: E-mail. Your e-mail needs to be very reliable and fast and able to handle large attachments, because you never know when a customer is going to try to blast a 10 meg PDF file through mail rather than through ftp (or even better, just submit through our web site).

I hear that a lot of corporate mail admins set a limit of 100 meg on their user's mailbox. Arf, arf, that's funny, our prepress operator would kill me if I did that. And oh yeah, did I mention that you better not have any dropped messages?

Lastly, our budget for email services was a bit of a constraint. It was set at zero. No problem, having worked in prepress for about 2 decades, I have seen many zeros come and go, and they do not intimidate me any more.

Anyhowwwwww.... we have been using our ISP generic mail server (Shaw) since I arrived here for our mail services. We never thought it was the greatest arrangement in the whole wide world, as we were sharing the mail server with pretty well everybody who is getting ISP services from Shaw. But it worked okay for a while, except that they kept throwing our IP on the SPAM list every once in a while. Then about a month ago, mail messages started dropping left and right for no reason at all. A quick phone call to Shaw confirmed that it wasn't just us having the problem. To Shaw's credit, they fixed the problem pretty quick but last week our mail started getting dropped again.

If you ever want to see a production manager get upset, go drop his e-mail for a few days and trust me, he'll get unhappy.

Of course, by this time, we had backup mail services set up with Google Apps using the URL printcraftsolutions.com. But that's not really a long-term solution, because we don't want to print up new business cards and other promotional material. So next week, when I am back from camping, we'll switch over our main URL and be done with Shaw.

Quick instructions for setting up your mail on Google Apps for the Domain.

1. Claim your URL at the Google Apps for the domain website by just typing it in the box.
2. Create a master user account (I used sysadmin).
3. Okay, now you have to prove you own the URL that you've claimed. Google gives you either a HTML file that you drop in your website or you have to create a sub-domain with the extension that they specify. Now if you don't know how to do that, then get your webmaster to do it for you. Actually, if you are a techie in prepress, I recommend just getting access to your domain registar account and figuring it out for yourself. I mean, if you learned Photoshop/Quark/Preps at some point in your career, then configuring your domain register is nothing.
4. Now wait two days for Google to verify that you own the domain.
5. Get the names of the Google mail servers and plug them into MX info field of your domain registar account.
6. Create Users. You can now access your mail by using Gmail online.
7. Additional steps for Microsoft Outlook users:
7a. Open up your account using Gmail and go to the settings tab. Click on forward mail to Google's IMAP server.
7b. Open up your Microsoft Outlook and configure your account to log on to Google mail server using IMAP. Google has screenshots of the settings that you need to configure and you should follow them very closely as they use different ports than the default.

I would have provided screensnaps but once you enter the Google Apps website they provide lots of screensnaps for you.

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{ 1 comment }

Jeff Lazerus July 7, 2008 at 5:11 pm

I can vouch for this, having done it myself. If I can do it… you know the rest. It is less difficult than upgrading to CS3!

Not only that, but Google gives you the ability to share docs like powerpoint, spreadsheets, etc. VERY COOL! And, no cross platform issues. I can’t recommend Google apps enough.

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