Creating Email Aliases (Nicknames) with Google Apps Custom Domains

In my ongoing mission to rid my life of Apple’s MobileMe service, one feature I must have from MobileMe is email aliases. I don’t like to give my primary email address out to anyone but actual real-world friends and family, so have employed various aliases for different purposes. For example, I may want an alias for purchases: my.purchases@domain.com for example. While MobileMe has a simple web-based section for aliases, it is a bit more involved when using your own domain with Google Apps.

From: DLS Tip: Google Apps does Gmail aliases right

Savvy Gmail users have known for a while that adding +anything to an address will create an instant, though dirty, email alias/nickname (example: downloadsquad+spam@gmail). Email sent to these addresses still arrives in your main inbox, but this method allows for all sorts of organization tricks that make email easier to manage (such as applying a label and/or archiving all of these messages). While this works decently enough, it isn’t a true alias in the sense that spam bots and alert individuals can easily spot this trick and still scrape out your real email address. Google’s hosted Apps for Your Domain service, however, handles this whole alias issue in a much more efficient and useful way.

Under each user in Google Apps’s management panel (in both Standard and Premium versions), is a section for creating what is referred to as a Nickname. Why Google chose to call these by a different name, however, is beyond us, and even their own documentation on the matter uses conflicting terminology. Nevertheless, as you can see, this system allows Google Apps users to create true-blue nicknames at which each user can receive email, and Google’s standard instructions for sending email from a different address work perfectly for setting up full sending and receiving with these nicknames from your primary email address.

Right. So there are two steps to be accomplished here. Only the first is required to receive as an alias, but the second step is necessary for sending as the alias.

Step 1: Create an Alias/Nickname to Receive As

You must be a domain administrator in order to complete this step. Once you are in the domain controls, navigate to the “Users and groups” section. Click the account you wish to add aliases/nicknames for, scroll to the “Nicknames” section and add away. You can now receive as the nicknames you supplied.

Step 2: Create an Alias/Nickname to Send As

You can send mail from a domain alias by creating a ‘custom from:’ address in your individual email account. This is a personal account setting and not a domain-wide setting. You can’t currently enable a ‘custom from:’ address from your control panel.

To display another email address in the ‘From:’ field, follow these instructions in your email account:

1. Click Settings at top of any page in your email account, and then select the Accounts tab.
2. Click Add another email address in the Send mail as: section.
3. Enter your full name in the Name: field, and the email address you’d like to send messages from in the Email address: field.
4. Click Next Step >>, and then click Send Verification to continue the process.

Google will send you a verification message to your email account to confirm that you’d like to add the address as an option in the ‘From;’ field. Click the link in that message, or enter the confirmation code in the ‘Accounts’ section of your email account, to complete the process. Once you’ve verified that you’d like to add the address to your account, you can start sending messages using your ‘custom from:’ address.

Note: Your primary address will still be included in the full headers to help prevent your mail from being marked as spam. Most email clients do not display the sender field, though some versions of Microsoft Outlook may display ‘From custom address on behalf of username@mydomain.com.’

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