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Gmail rains on our email parade

29 September 2014

For a long time now we've been recommending our clients open a Gmail account to use as their mailbox. Website emails are aliased (redirected) to your mailbox at Gmail where you can view them and reply.

When replying from Gmail, it was possible until just last month to set the "From:" and "Reply-to:" address so that recipients only saw your 'official' website email address. We use this ourselves when we're on the road.

As of August 2014, however, this is no longer an option as the Gmail servers will now only send email as 'gmail.com' or using a domain that has it's email (MX) hosted on their servers (see below for more details).

When trying to add an address to use as the "From:" address when replying to emails you will now be prompted for 'SMTP login details'. This is because Google now wants to send those emails not from their own servers, but through the servers associated with the address you are using (your website) using your password.

As Chirp is not running an SMTP server this is not possible, at least not at this time.

Gmail hosted email (MX)

The option of hosting your domain (website) mail records with Google Apps, which used to be free, now incurs charges of US$5 per user per month (or US$50 per annum). While it is a premium service, not all of our clients can justify the cost.

There are other alternatives such as Zoho Mail and Rackspace Email from around US$2 per user per month for a similar service.

Using any of these services will give you a control panel where you can manage your email addresses, add and remove accounts, and set up redirects, as well as a webmail interface and usually POP3/IMAP access.

All of your emails will be handled by the selected provider taking over from the aliases you have set up with Chirp.

Other options

You may also be able to have your domain registrar or ISP take over email hosting for your domain. Setting up your own mail server is also not too difficult.

We are currently investigating the option of setting up an SMTP server just for Gmail users as an email relay. Stay tuned for updates.

UPDATE: We can now relay your emails from Gmail via the chirp SMTP server. Please contact us for instructions.

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