1: Gmail address
Getting a Gmail address was easy as I already had a number of existing accounts. I’ve decided to forward everything from everywhere to a single Gmail account and gradually stop using old email addresses.
If you don’t already have a Gmail account, just hop over to gmail.com and sign up – you’re late to the party so you won’t great choice of available names. This doesn’t matter as nobody has to see your Gmail address.
2: Domain name
Again this was straightforward, I chose a .co.nz name because New Zealand is a small country with an uncrowded domain name register which made it easy to get the domain name I wanted. It cost NZ$40 to own billbennett.co.nz, but New Zealand names are renewed annually which is a pain.
My existing web host was good enough. There’s a minor technical problem which causes problems elsewhere, but the one I use isn’t expensive and the company is easy to deal with.
I pay NZ$130 a year for 100MB of storage and plenty of bandwidth. You don’t need much of either to handle an email account, so opt for the smallest possible hosting plan unless you aim to use the service for something else.
4: Set-up mail account
My host uses a program called Cpanel. It allows me to manage the site through a web browser. I opened Cpanel and clicked on the Mail icon. A list displayed with a number of options, I chose Add/ Remove/ Manage Accounts. From here I added the email account firstname.lastname@example.org.
You need to set up a password and a quota at this point – which is an amount of storage space to set aside for email. I’m not planning to keep email on the server, but during the testing stage I set aside 2MB of storage. This was a good move, because I hit a minor snag.
I struggled finding out how to redirect email traffic from my host using Cpanel. That’s because I used the Email Domain Forwarding option. While this looks like the right tool – it isn’t.
I then tried, incorrectly, setting up forwarding from Cpanel’s built-in Horde web mail program. The correct tool to use at this point is cryptically listed in the Cpanel/Mail menu as Forwarders.
Here you need to click on Add Forwarder and then enter the new email address followed by the Gmail account where you plan to receive your mail.
6: Tell Gmail about your new address
I did this by logging on to Gmail, clicking the Settings link at the top right of the window and then on the Accounts tab. Here I added the new address, verified it, then made it the default.
It’s a good idea to test your new email address at this point. When I did this I had some problems with the redirecting and found my emails sitting in the Horde web mail inbox on the server at my host.
Now, my next job is to make sure the new address appears everywhere online. This will take some time to fix. I made a good start by Googling my old addresses, but there are hundreds of instances so it’s not going to happen overnight.