Utilizing Google Apps Gmail for Domains

Discussion in 'DirectAdmin HOWTOs and Tutorials' started by BAlGaInTl, Aug 7, 2008.

  1. BAlGaInTl

    BAlGaInTl New Member

    As we know, email is one of the more space and resource hogging processes on any VPS. I run several small sites on my VPS and I found myself constantly trying to get my clients to keep the size of their mailboxes down. Not to mention the amount of stress that applications like spamassasin put on a smaller VPS.

    So, I decided to transfer a couple of domains to using Gmail via Google Apps. The result is that the clients are happier with the huge amount of space they get for email and are incredibly happy with the spam handling.

    I thought I would take the time to write a quick tutorial on how to do this.

    Sign up for google applications for the domain at http://www.google.com/a

    Once you have signed up, there should be a link to "verify" that you own the domain. Click on the link and choose a method to verify. I prefer using CNAME. I found that the html verification does not work with subdomains and pointers. I'm not sure why, so for now I stick with CNAME.

    Google will give you some random string for the cname record. Log on to your control panel and go to the DNS setup area for the domain. (From the "Admin" control panel "DNS Admin"-->"domain.com")

    Enter the string in the CNAME line and point it to google.com. You must have a period after the google.com. for it to work properly. Click on the "Add" button.


    On the google Apps page, click on the I have completed this step button. Google says it could take up to 48 hours, but I have found it to be much faster.

    Now I would like to set up an easy address to remember. I like to use "webmail." In the google admin area click on Dashboard, and then Email. Choose the custom option and enter "webmail," or whatever subdomain you would like to do. Click on the button to continue to the next step. Go back to your DA panel and enter a CNAME in the DNS settings as before. This time, pointing your subdomain to ghs.google.com. (Don't forget the period at the end.)

    You should now have two new CNAME entries that look something like this


    Now, the new MX records for google need to be added. From the google apps email settings page, click on the instructions on how to activate email link. From the DNS settings page, enter the MX records listed. When you are complete, your DNS record should look like:


    Go back to the Google Apps Page and click "I have completed this step."

    The last steps are to perform some clean up. From the DA control panel DNS area, delete the MX record for "mail". If your domain has already been verified, you can also delete the googlerandstring CNAME pointer from the DNS records as well.

    You now need to tell DA not to handle mail for the domain. From the admin panel, you first need to make sure that the domain has access to the DNS settings. Click "Show All Accounts" then click on the domain user in question.

    Ensure that DNS control is set to ON. If not, click on the modify user button and enable it.

    Log on as the user and then click on the "MX Records" link under the email management section. From this screen, disable the local mail server.


    Click on Save and you are good to go. If you had to enable DNS for the user, you may want to go back at this time and disable it again.

    You can now access email via http:/ /webmail.domain.com

    Of course, you will need to set up accounts through gmail to complete the setup. Google has a great uploader tool to upload all of your locally saved mail.

    If you have any questions, or run in to issues, let me know. I think that a small VPS + google apps makes for a very economical solution to small to medium sized domains.
  2. Internet54

    Internet54 New Member

    I swear I eyeball this thread every 2 weeks contemplating whether or not I'm gonna switch my users to Gmail. They aren't sending and receiving much, but it irks me to see that spamd process running all the time. What a waste of resources.
  3. BAlGaInTl

    BAlGaInTl New Member

    That was one of my driving factors. I still have one site that uses my VPS for email, but that is it. The rest have been converted to gmail.

    Another great plus is that my users can easily manage email accounts now through gmail without having to access the DA control panel. It is the perfect solution in many cases. I manage the website and they manage their own email.
  4. Jeren

    Jeren Time Lord

    I don't use DA, but I definitely can attest to the ease of Google Apps. I don't just recommend it for those wanting to host email off of their server, but also for those that are running projects of some kind and need document sharing.
  5. Internet54

    Internet54 New Member

    So what did you do with the DA user control panel? Did you remove all the webmail associated links except for the one at the top (href to gmail)?
  6. Dora Salemi

    Dora Salemi New Member

    Not working

    I followed all the steps and it didn't work, i also tried to use other settings as follow, but nothing.

    1. Login to DirectAdmin.
    2. Make sure you are on the User Level.
    3. Select the domain you want to edit the MX record for (If you only have one domain on your account, you don't need to do this step).
    4. Click on MX Records under the E-Mail Management section.
    5. Select any MX Records that are there, and then click delete.
    6. Put ASPMX.L.GOOGLE.COM. in the text box, and select 10 in the drop-down box. Click Add.
    7. Put ALT1.ASPMX.L.GOOGLE.COM. in the text box, and select 20 in the drop-down box. Click Add.
    8. Put ALT2.ASPMX.L.GOOGLE.COM. in the text box, and select 30 in the drop-down box. Click Add.
    9. Put ASPMX2.GOOGLEMAIL.COM. in the text box, and select 40 in the drop-down box. Click Add.
    10. Put ASPMX3.GOOGLEMAIL.COM. in the text box, and select 50 in the drop-down box. Click Add.
    11. Uncheck the box beside Use this server to handle my emails.
    If not, change the MX record and uncheck this option.
    Then, click Save.

    Anyone knows where the problem might be?
  7. ppc

    ppc Moderator

    How do you know it didn't work? Changing the MX records can take time to propagate(or fully make its way through the entire internet) so you might have to wait a bit before it starts to work.

Share This Page