Email Forwarding for Creating FREE Email Accounts with Your Domain Name
I already own an internet domain name that I use for my website. Later on, I have a need to create several email accounts with the same domain address. The common solution would be to subscribe to an email hosting service. This would mean additional cost although there is few email hosting that offers free plan such as Zoho Mail. My domain registrar, Godaddy, actually provides a free email hosting as a bonus for buying the domain name from them. However, it only gives me one mailbox with 1GB of storage which doesn’t meet my requirement for several mailboxes.
Indeed, besides the free single email account, Godaddy also provides free email forwarding for up to 100 email accounts. Frankly, I’ve never taken this email forwarding seriously before. The typical use of email forwarding that I know of is, especially in a large corporation, the managers would forward the emails addressed to them to their respective secretaries for processing and screening out. It is a standard feature in email client software so I never thought that this capability also exists on the server side that can be used as an alternative to email hosting if combined with webmail service like Gmail, Yahoo, etc.
In standard email hosting service, both your email address (your identity) and your mailbox (your email account and storage) are provided by the same service provider. With email forwarding, you break the tie between your mailbox and your address so you could use different service providers. For the mailbox, you can use one of the popular webmail service available free on the internet. Personally, I use Google Gmail because I like the interface, 15GB of free storage space, spam security protection and of course its integration with other Google service. As for the email address, you need an email forwarding service to forward all emails addressed to your custom email address automatically to your webmail account. In my case, I use email forwarding service from Godaddy which is available free for me. 100 email accounts limitation is fine with me, currently, I only need a few of it.
I will show how to create free email accounts with your own domain address using email forwarding. The advantage of email forwarding over email hosting is alleviation of vendor lock-in, you can easily change your email forwarding and/or webmail service provider any time you want to. In this short tutorial, I use Gmail for the mailbox and Godaddy for the email forwarding. If you don’t use Gmail, for sure you could use other webmail services e.g: Yahoo, Outlook.com, etc. But how about the alternative to Godaddy? If you:
- Already own the email domain address but your registrar is not Godaddy.
Several other registrars such as Namecheap, Google Domains, Hostgator, 1&1, Bluehost also provide email forwarding. So my advice is to check first with your registrar whether they provide email forwarding or not
- Already own the email domain address but your registrar doesn’t provide email forwarding service.
Well if your registrar doesn’t provide email forwarding then you need to find separate email forwarding service. ImprovMX, ForwardMX, and Pobox provide free or almost free email forwarding that you might use.
- Don’t own the email domain address yet.
You need to determine your @yourdomain first then buy the domain from a registrar. Buying from a registrar that provides email forwarding would be a smart buy.
Setting up the email forwarding
Depend on free credits available in your Godaddy account, you may have the option to set up an email account and email forwarding or not. If your account has the option, you just need to set up the email forwarding. You don’t need to set up the email account but there is a benefit of doing so as it will be explained later.
- Login to your Godaddy account and go to ‘My Products’ in the user profile menu.
- Click ‘Manage All’ of the Workspace Email. If you don’t have Workspace Email, you may need to check in the Additional Products.
- Click ‘Create Forward’ in the domain name that you will use.
- In the pop-up window, you need to fill in the ‘Forward this email address’ and the ‘To these email addresses’. You can forward to more than one webmail account if you want to.
- Click ‘Create’ and you will return to the previous page while the email address is being created. You can repeat the process to create other email addresses. Please note that there is no credential required in this email forwarding set up.
- Optionally, you could also create an email account (non-forwarding). This is basically an email hosting, the mailbox will reside with Godaddy’s email server. In contrary to email forwarding, here you need to create the credentials that will be used to access the Godaddy’s POP, IMAP, and SMTP servers. You could then use Godaddy’s SMTP server to send out your email. However, this is optional because you also can use your webmail to send out the email.
You can now test the setup by sending an email to the newly created email address that uses your domain address, in this tutorial it is email@example.com. The email should be delivered to my webmail, which is firstname.lastname@example.org. So far what’s described is only the incoming email, I will describe the outgoing email below.
Setting up the webmail
There is an issue, however, if I reply the received email then the sender will see that the reply is sent by email@example.com, not by firstname.lastname@example.org as it should be. Internet email separates between the inbox for incoming emails and the outbox for outgoing emails. Email forwarding and its associated “To” addresses only apply for the inbox. For the outbox to use the same new address for the “From” address, it needs to be manually added which will be described below.
In Gmail, go to “Send mail as” section in “Accounts and Import” page of Gmail’s Settings.
- Click “Add another email address”
- Enter your name and new email address then click “Next Step”.
- In this pop-up window, you are required to enter information about SMTP server that you will use to send out your email. If you created Godaddy’s email account then you can enter Godaddy’s SMTP server (smtpout.secureserver.net) and your email account credential here. But as I said before, having a Godaddy’s email account to have access to an SMTP server is optional because you can use Gmail’s SMTP server.
To use Gmail’s SMTP server it is a little bit more difficult due to security enhancement that Google had implemented. If you just enter your Gmail’s account password, it will fail as shown below.
- Since 2014, Google requires you to use “Application Specific Password” that you need to generate first. Go to https://myaccount.google.com and select “Sign-in & security”.
Click on “App passwords”. Please note that you need to enable “2-Step Verification” otherwise you can’t generate the “App passwords”.
- Select “Other (Custom name)” from “Select app” drop down.
- Enter “Gmail” and then click “Generate”.
- Key in the generated app password instead of Gmail account password in the SMTP server setting pop-up window above.
- The Google’s SMTP server credential is accepted. As the final step, you still need to confirm the new email address.
From now on, every time you reply to an email or compose a new email, in the “From” address field you should be able to select which email address to use. In the tutorial example, it is email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. If you can’t see the “From” address field, click the “To” address field, the “From” address field should then show up. Refer to this Gmail Help for more information.