Creating a new Google Apps domain isn’t as tricky as it may sound. Don’t believe me? Check out the three critical steps you need to know. Good luck!
Step 1: Sign Up for Google Apps
Just fill out this signup form to kick-off your free, 30-day trial of Google Apps. You can configure the rest after signup, including your choice of Google Apps for Work, or Google Apps Unlimited. (The latter is more expensive, but includes more storage and more compliance and auditing controls.)
Step 2: Choose Your Name(s)
The next step in creating a Google Apps domain is choosing the domain name, and it’s not an idle choice. The URL you choose for your Google Apps domain cannot be changed, ever. If you’ve already got a domain name for your business – like the one you use for your company website – you’ll need to perform some very basic web server work to prove to Google that you own the URL. If you don’t have a URL, you can purchase one from any domain provider (like GoDaddy or Namecheap, etc.) and then prove your ownership.
Alternately, you can purchase a domain directly through Google and save yourself a few technical steps. Google domains are generally a little more expensive than URLs from other providers, but having Google manage your annual domain renewals and DNS hosting does simplify matters a bit.
You’ll also want to pick a username for the Google Apps Domain Administrator. The classic firstname.lastname@example.org is always a good choice. Finally, you’ll need to have a non-Google Apps email address handy to list as the point of contact for the domain. This should be an alternate, company-controlled email address that belongs to the administrator account, not personally to the administrator. If the admin leaves, your organization will still want access to this outside email account.
Step 3: Launch the Google Apps Domain Setup Wizard
If you’re a first-time Google Apps administrator, the smartest thing you can do is use the Google Apps Domain Setup Wizard. The Wizard will walk you through the basic steps of rolling out a domain. If you want a little more personal hand-holding before you roll out a Google Apps domain, you can sign up for a Google Apps Setup Webinar, and a trained Google support tech will answer your questions.
During the course of the Setup Wizard, you’ll be asked if you want to add users immediately, or wait. It’s often easier to use the Setup Wizard to create the domain with just one user – the primary administrator – and then circle back to create the rest of your users once your domain is configured to your liking.
At whatever point you decide to add users, you’ll have three methods at your disposal to add them:
- Manually, wherein you create users one at a time by completing a web form
- In bulk, where you upload a CSV file to create a large number of user accounts all at once
- Via invitation, where an email is sent to a potential user and he or she can opt to join your domain
The Google Apps Setup Wizard moves from creating users to activating Apps. There are four core Google Apps: Gmail (which includes Google Contacts), Google Drive, Google Calendar and Google Sites. Just select the services you want to include and move forward.
When you activate Gmail, you’ll be asked whether you want to route mail through your own servers or Google’s. Unless you are an experienced mail server administrator, it is not recommended you try to route mail to a standalone email server. Similarly, novice mail administrators should not attempt to “spoof proof” their domains via DKIM or SPF settings.
If you purchased your domain name from someone other than Google, you’ll need to modify some MX records to allow Google to handle your mail traffic. Not to worry; the process is fairly simple and the wizard walks you through it rather painlessly.
Activating other core Google Apps is much more straightforward; the Setup Wizard will suggest the simplest options for getting your domain up and running quickly. While the wizard will ask you if you want to add third-party apps from the Google Apps Marketplace, it is again a best practice to configure your domain first, then circle back to add Marketplace apps.
Once you’re through the Setup Wizard, you’re ready to dive in and custom-configure your Google Apps domain. For that, we recommend the free Backupify Guide To Setting Up Your Google Apps Domain – Download Here For Free