How to Set Up Custom Domain Email and Route it to Gmail
Hi, friends! Today’s topic is a common frustration people have when they’ve purchased a domain and web hosting and need to set up email boxes for their custom domain and pipe the mail into Gmail. In this article, we’ll explore how to set up the custom email in cPanel and how to set up Gmail to retrieve the mail that comes into the account and how to authorize Gmail to send mail using the new email address.
When people ask me whether they should pay extra to purchase custom email addresses with their domain name, I say, unequivocally, no. This is just another upsell that web hosts use to make more money. You can create as many custom email accounts as you wish for your new web domain. Are you ready? Let’s dive in!
Note: The examples in this article are shown using my cPanel on TMD Hosting. TMD is my web host and the only hosting platform that I recommend because I have been a thrilled customer for years and they have earned my repeat business and recommendation. I take quality seriously, so I don’t recommend any products or services unless I use them myself and would give them a five-star review anywhere. For those who are looking for a web host, using this TMD Hosting affiliate link would give me a small commission and also help me to bring you more free training.
1. Create the Custom Domain Email Address in cPanel
Setting up Custom Domain Email Addresses
The first step is to log into cPanel. If TMD is your host, go to the Email section and click Email Accounts.
You’ll create your new email address on the following screen.
- Type the username in the top field.
- Choose the desired domain from the drop-down menu on the second line.
- I recommend generating secure passwords and using an app like LastPass to manage them securely.
- Copy and paste the generated password into the second password field (and save it securely elsewhere).
- I typically use the “unlimited” radio button for the mailbox quota, although in the next steps we’ll make sure that mail doesn’t pile up on your hosting server because Gmail will collect it.
- The checkbox below the button should be ticked; if not, check it. This will send the login credentials to the email box.
- Click the Create Account button.
Scroll down on the page to see the email account you created listed. Use the drop-down menu on the right to click Access webmail.
The first time you access webmail, TMD makes you click this “Got it” button.
There are three applications to choose from for checking webmail. They will all get the job done. You can make one of them the default if you wish. After you complete these steps, you won’t need to use this again, because your mail will only be in the box on the server long enough for Gmail to collect it, so it really doesn’t matter. I won’t screenshot the following for the sake of brevity: Send an email to another email account you control (one that is not the default email address for this domain) and send a reply to it from that email address. This ensures that the email address can receive and send mail. If both tests work, great! If there’s a problem with the test emails, check your Spam/Junk folder first, and if the mail isn’t there, contact support for help. The help at my host, TMD Hosting, usually replies to every ticket within minutes and resolves issues like this swiftly.
Back on the screen that shows the email addresses you’ve created, use the Set Up Mail Client link to access the information you’ll need to set up POP3 and SMTP over on Gmail.
This is the info you’ll need. Always use the SSL (secure) version! I’ve blurred my server. We’ll need those port numbers in a moment. Keep this tab open for reference.
We’re done creating the email address! Now hop on over to Gmail for the next steps.
2. Set up Gmail to Retrieve Custom Email (POP3)
I recommend setting up a fresh Gmail account for your site that is separate from your personal email. The reasons for this are many, but here’s a few: You can generate a Google Voice phone number to use for your business in places like your email footers, business cards or right on your website, places where you wouldn’t necessarily want to post your cell phone number; this email can be used to control all the business’ Google logins (analytics, search console and so forth), and you can have the account receive mail for multiple custom email accounts for the same domain. It’s also good to keep business and personal emails separated!
Here’s where to start. Login to your Gmail account and click the gear icon in the upper right, then choose Settings from the menu.
Setting up POP3 email with Gmail (collecting email)
Click Accounts and Import at the top of the resulting screen, then Add a Mail Account.
You’ll get this popup window. Type in the full email address you just created. Click Next.
Refer to your Mail Client Manual Settings for the POP3 port number. Mine is 995, so I chose that from the drop-down menu. Use the full email address as the username and enter the password you created. Type in the POP Server exactly as it appears in the settings. Uncheck the first box – we don’t want mail collecting on your hosting server and taking up space there. It should pass through and be saved in Gmail. Check the box to always use a secure connection. Check the box to label incoming messages with a label for the email address, since you may end up having more than one email routed to the Gmail account. Uncheck the archive box. Click Add Account.
Gmail can now receive email sent to the custom email address you created using POP3. Gmail then asks if you would also like to send mail from your custom email. Leave the Yes radio button selected and click Next.
3. Set up Gmail to Send Custom Email (SMTP)
This step can be initiated from Gmail, Settings, Accounts and Import, and then next to “Send mail as” click the link Add another email address. Those who have continued from the previous step won’t see this.
Enter your name as you would like it to appear when emails are sent. This can also be changed to reflect your business name. I typically uncheck the “Treat as an alias” box – decide for yourself using the “Learn more” link depending on your needs. The “Specify a different reply-to address” will route replies to a certain email address of your choice. For this example, we’re not using that. Click Next Step.
Refer to your Mail Client Manual Settings and enter the SMTP (outgoing) server exactly as shown. The username must be the complete email adderss. Use the port listed in the settings. Mine is 465, but yours could differ depending on your web host. As far as SSL or TLS, they’re both encryption and encryption is awesome. I’m going with the recommended option, SSL. Click Add Account.
Gmail now needs to verify that you own the address you’re connecting to. Go check your email. If Gmail hasn’t already collected the email, it’ll be in the webmail box, though if you wait long enough, you’ll find this email in the Gmail box (if you’ve set up POP3 prior to this). Click the confirmation link in the email or copy and paste the numeric code back in the field on this screen and click Verify. If you click the link, you can simply click Close window.
Click Confirm on the following screen.
Finally, back on the Accounts and Import settings page in Gmail, you can now choose whether you would like replies to come from your Gmail address or whether you would like them to come from your custom email address. You can also click the make default link to always send mail from your custom email address.
4. Send All Unrouted Domain Email to Gmail
This step will save you a lot of time and hassle in the future because you’ll be able to have people send email to accounts that don’t even exist and they’ll arrive in the business’ email box. For example, “Hey, just send that proposal over to advertising@… and I’ll take a look at it.” You can set Gmail filters to apply labels to email addressed to certain email addresses. Don’t neglect this step, because you could lose potential business if someone misspells an email address (or, worse yet, if you give out an incorrect email address).
In cPanel, go to the Email section and then Default Address.
- Select your custom domain from the drop-down menu.
- Click the radio button to route the mail to an address of your choice. Never discard unrouted mail!
- Fill in the forwarding address. I use the custom Gmail account I created for the website to be direct since it’s headed there anyway.
Congratulations, you have set up professional custom email for your website without paying a monthly hostage fee to your web host!