How To Use Gmail For Your Website

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Webhosting service providers often restrict users with a certain web space. Hosting clients are usually not allowed to exceed the web space limit (100MB, 500MB, 1GB or 10GB etc) and this limitation restricts you with setting up an email address with virtually unlimited web space. By virtually unlimited, I mean to say a web space of more than 5GB.

Google, the search and online advertising giant, like many other free services, has solved this problem by providing 25GB of web space for each email account through Google Apps. Google Apps come with five different editions for different types of organizations:

* Google Apps Premier Edition
* Google Apps Education Edition
* Google Apps Government Edition
* Google Apps Non-Profit Edition
* Google Apps Standard Edition

Depending on the type of organization you are running, you can select which Apps edition is for you. Here, well talk about the Standard Apps Edition.

Features of Standard Edition (Free)

Number of user accounts (Email Addresses)

You can create up to 50 user accounts for your own domain name with more than 7GB of storage space for each user.

Google Calendar

You can organize your schedule and share events with other users within your organization.

Google Sites

You can create websites and share wikis with your group.

Google Docs

Sharing documents, presentations, spreadsheets etc within your organization has never been that easy.

Setting Up Google Apps Standard Edition

First you need to register a domain name for your organization and host your website. Google even provides you with an option to buy a domain name when you start setting up your Apps.

First Step:

Go to google.com/a. This will take you to the Google Apps. There youll find a tab stating Apps Edition. Select Standard and click.

Second Step:

Now you are on the getting started page for Google Apps Standard Edition. Here you can see the complete features list of the Standard Edition. Click on the button stating, Get started, to continue with the setup.

Third Step:

Here youll be asked to provide your organizations domain name (Website name). If you do not have a domain name yet, you can buy it here. If you want to use your existing domain name, youll be asked to enter the domain. Dont forget to select Administrator, if you want to sign up and control the Apps.

Fourth Step:

Here youll be required to fill in a form with your personal information. It is recommended to fill in your organization information as well. Itll save you some time in future when tweaking and customizing the Apps for your organization.

Fifth Step:

Now is the time to create your first Google Apps Standard Edition user account. This account will also serve as the primary administrator for your organization. Fill in the required information and continue.

Now you are done with setting up the Google Apps for your organization but before continuing with using the features that have been provided, you need to verify that you own the domain name you entered in the above stated third step.

Google allows you to verify the domain with any of the options listed there. At the moment these options are:

* Authentication by DNC
* Authentication by HTML
* Authentication by a File Upload

The easiest and simplest is authentication by uploading a file to your server. When you select the Upload an HTML file to your server option, youll be provided with a file that you need to upload to the root directory of your server. After uploading, click verify and you are done.

Setting Up Email:

First step is to activate and setup your email service so that you can utilize the massive storage space provided by Google. Click on Activate Email.

Now you need to make changes with the MX records of your website. Complete instructions are available in the setting up email delivery guide, provided by Google itself. I dont think I need to write down each step of it here. Make changes as directed and you will not face any difficulty in setting up email service.

At this moment, your Google Apps control panel will be located at mail.google.com/a/yourdomain. You can change this URL to whatever you like. On the main dashboard of your Apps account, click on the Email link under the Service Settings section. Here you can change the access URL and again, all the instructions to make changes with your DNS are listed there.

Once done, you can access your Apps control panel through the custom URL you defined. Now is the time to play around with Google Apps and explore the services that Google has to offer you.
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