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Tutorial: Send and receive external emails through Gmail

7 min read

One of my favorite features of Gmail is the fact that you can send emails from your other accounts without having to log in to them separately. I like to have vanity emails for all of my different projects. It helps me to categorize where my mail is coming from for all of my different domains, of which I have a fair few!

My fanlisting emails are sent to and from fan@gpacheco.org. Any email sent to fan@gpacheco.org is forwarded to my Gmail account. When I reply to those emails, it appears as though it comes from @gpacheco.org and not Gmail, yet utilizing Gmail’s intuitive interface.

I have a filter so that any mail sent to fan@gpacheco.org gets sent to a specific folder within Gmail. It skips the inbox and archives automatically, which has allowed for maximum productivity. More on that at the end.

Most free email providers have eliminated the option to add additional emails as well as reply from them, or they charge for such a luxury. If Gmail does that, I’m jumping ship. I’ve faithfully been using Gmail since the beginning when they were doing invites.

Let’s Get Started!

First, it is assumed that you own your domain, or have administrator privileges to do with it as you will. If your domain is owned or hosted by someone else, you’ll need their assistance before going any further.

I use cPanel so my screenshots will be utilizing that interface.

The domain that you want to use should already be an add-on domain in cPanel. If you add it right before undertaking these steps, you may need to allow it time to propagate properly.

You don’t need to create a separate email account. cPanel automatically forwards emails if they’ve been created properly.

  1. You need to set up the email forwarder. I use cPanel, so it would be Email > Forwarders, depending on the version of cPanel you’re using. In the Paper Lantern theme, it looks like this…
Create an Email Account Forwarder in Gmail
Create an Email Account Forwarder in cPanel

In the Address to Forward field, put whatever username you would like to utilize, such as contact or crunchbar. You can be as creative or obtuse as you’d like.

In the Forward to Email Address field, you should put your Gmail address. Your screen should look like this:

Add a New Forwarder in cPanel
Add a New Forwarder in cPanel

If you host a few add-on domains in your cPanel, remember to choose the correct domain. If you only have one domain hosted in your cPanel, you won’t see a drop-down menu.

To confirm your options, select Add Forwarder.

I recommend you generate an app password on your Google Account before you go any further.

You will need to go to your Google Account > Security > Signing into Google > App passwords.

Name it whatever. You don’t need to remember the password; you only need it for the initial setup. This is what the screen will look like:

The App passwords page in your Google Account
The App passwords page in your Google Account

There are discussions that say you should not utilize app passwords as it may compromise your account. I believe it goes without saying, but here’s a gentle reminder:

You should practice constant vigilance with your online security at all times.

Google gives you the option to refresh your security privileges at any time, providing a handy walkthrough whenever you wish to make changes to your Account, or want to review your current settings.

You should make it a habit to change your passwords on a regular basis. I know it’s a pain, but I would trade my peace of mind for a minor inconvenience anytime the opportunity presents itself.

Now that you’ve created the email forwarder and generated your app password, you’re ready to set everything up in Gmail.

Bringing It All Together in Gmail

  1. Login to Gmail. Click the gear in the right-hand corner near your Google Account photo, which will bring up a drop-down menu.
  2. Choose Settings > Accounts and Import > Send mail as > Add another email address.
  3. A popup window will open.
  4. Change no settings in this separate window, beyond entering the email forwarder you set up earlier in cPanel and perhaps personalizing the Name field.
Add another email address you own in Gmail
Add another email address you own in Gmail

Click Next Step. On the next screen, change no settings beyond the following:

  • On the “Send mail through your SMTP server” screen, use smtp.gmail.com.
  • Input your complete Gmail address in the username field.
  • Input your previously created app password in the password field.
Send mail through your SMTP server
Send mail through your SMTP server

Select Add Account. Gmail needs to verify your settings, so wait for the verification email. It’s usually instantaneous, but give the server some time to process your request. The email forwarder you set up in cPanel will send it to your Gmail inbox. Verify using the link, or manually enter the code provided.

Voilà! You’re set to send and receive emails to and from crunchbar@yourdomain.com in Gmail.

Protip: Maximum Productivity

Remember how I said I filter my messages to specific folders so that I know what needs to be addressed? Here are the ones I use. I named my folders in French because I can. Acheter et vendre means buy and sell in English, so all the emails from the place where I buy things get filtered there. Emploi means work so all my work related emails, LinkedIn updates, and so on get sent there.

Spoiler alert: my Gmail filters!
Spoiler alert: my Gmail filters!

If maximizing your time is important to you, I would filter the email sent to crunchbar@yourdomain.com to go to a folder in your Gmail.

If you’re new to using this side of Gmail, then look to the left. There’s a navigation pane on the left side, listing Inbox, Sent Mail, All Mail, Spam, and Trash. The labels you wish to track will show up below them.

Below Trash in the Gmail navigation pane, choose Create new label. Let’s continue with the Crunchbar theme and call it as such. You’ll see the following dialog box:

Create a new label in Gmail
Create a new label in Gmail

How do you use it?

Under Settings > Filters and Blocked Addresses > Create a new filter. It should be all the way at the bottom. The following dialog box will pop up on your screen:

Create a new filter in Gmail
Create a new filter in Gmail

In the To: box, put crunchbar@mydomain.com or *@yourdomain.com.

Then, select Create filter at the bottom of the dialog box.

  • Select Skip the Inbox (Archive It)
  • Select the label you created in the first step from the drop-down menu for Apply the label:
  • Select the blue Create Filter button to confirm.

It should look like this before you do:

Confirming your filter in Gmail
Confirming your filter in Gmail

Whenever someone emails crunchbar@yourdomain.com, it will go to your Crunchbar folder in Gmail, which lets you know that someone visited your domain and emailed you from there! It’s been immensely useful to me over the years.

This is a barebones tutorial, but I tried to be as thorough as possible. Gmail allows for a lot of customization.

Protip: Further Customizing Gmail

If you have a lot of labels set up, Gmail gives you the option to Show, Hide, or Show if Unread. For the purposes of keeping my own self sane, I keep everything on Show if Unread. So when I do get an email filtered there, I know it’s important and should prioritize it.

I recommend setting up different signatures for each email: Settings > General > Signature. You can personalize each signature to match your domain branded email address.

I like to customize the When replying to a message setting. You’ll find it under Settings > Accounts and Import > Send mail as. It’s at the bottom of that subsection, and it should look like this:

When replying to a message in Gmail
When replying to a message in Gmail

I would make sure the Reply from the same address the message was sent to is ticked. That way, the emails stay branded with the appropriate domain.

Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns by commenting below.

love, peace, and adobo grease, Guilliean
love, peace, and adobo grease, Guilliean

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