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Anyone who has ever seriously considered transferring their email application from its current provider to Google Appsfor web hosting but has been put off by the apparent complexity, need have no fear. It’s a process that takes only about 30 minutes and usually creates no difficulties. The change to Google Apps is becoming increasingly popular, especially with groups and distributed businesses that do not want to have their email and collaboration centred around the desktop software shipped with MS Windows. Google is naturally more than happy to help and has made the process very simple.
Google Apps is free for private and family users but comes with a small charge for businesses. The ‘standard’ edition is best for the average private user.
The first step is to complete the online application form on the Google website. Enter your domain name first of all, or alternatively buy a new one through Google and let Google complete the whole set-up process for you. If providing the domain yourself you’ll need to verify that you are the owner.
Click the ‘get started’ button and fill out the standard application form that will then pop up. If Google is happy with the information you’ve provided and allows you to set up a new domain, or transfer an existing one to Google Apps, you will then be taken to a new screen.
The first thing to do on that screen is to activate your email. Google will offer you a URL and you’ll say whether you’re happy with it or not. It can easily be changed to one of your choice if you don’t like it.
Email is activated by going to the settings page for emails and completing the ‘change MX records’ and ‘create user accounts’ options.
With ‘create user accounts’ you can either enter all the information about your various email addresses manually or upload an already completed Excel CSV file with the information contained in it.
With ‘Change MX records’ you need to transfer whichever company or companies handle your emails at present to Google, so that they can be delivered to your Apps account. There are clear step-by-step instructions on the Google site for doing this. Information and instructions are tailored to the name of the old provider and you simply choose options from a drop-down list of providers to get started. It essentially consists of deleting all the hosting account’s MX records and replacing them with Google Apps records.
The last thing to do is simply hit the ‘save’ button and the process is complete. The incoming emails may be slightly slow until the new Google Apps account has been fully processed and the MX records properly transferred, when they will become a lot faster.
Optionally, you could also think about things such as changing your calendar’s destination links, and those for Sites, Talk app and Documents, in the same way that you changed your email inbox URL. Each of these services can be activated in the settings option.
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