I recently made the choice to move my email hosting to Google Apps after having several bad experiences with my previous email hosting provider.
I decided to use the ‘free’ Standard Edition which seemed to meet my requirements. It was a surprising easy transition which involved the following steps:
- Verify domain ownership – this required me to upload a small file to my www.danovich.com.au website to provide that I had ownership of the domain
- Create accounts – using the Google Apps web interface, I created new accounts for all users using danovich.com.au
- Google Email Uploader – I used this fantastic tool to upload all of my email from my existing Outlook PST file. It was a very easy to use tool and can be stopped and started as needed. My Outlook emails then started to appear in the Google Apps web interface. It also preserved information such as sent dates and sender/recipient data, as well as the folder structure used by Outlook.
- Change MX DNS records – I updated the domain MX records to point to the Google servers, which also provided many more entries than previous hosting company, giving an added level of comfort
- Imported my Outlook calendar into Google Apps
So far I’ve found Google Apps to have a fantastic web interface and I’ve also configured an IMAP connection so that I can still use the feature of Outlook if required. I’m really enjoying the powerful search within Google Apps as well as the web-based Offline mode provided by Gears. I still have access to all of my old emails throught a single interface and not a single email was lost for any users during the transition.
The only negative thing I have found so far is that with the web-based version of Google Apps, you cannot set a default font for when you compose an email, which can be quite frustrating.
I now gain the benefits of hosting email for free with a company like Google, which give me many connectivity options and allows for almost unlimited customization. Overall, this was a very painless experience and I would highly recommend it as a solution to anyone having issues with email hosting.