How to Setup a Gmail Custom Domain for Free
Learn how to set up a custom, professional email through Gmail


Dale McManus

Co-Founder & Web Developer

Jul. 2, 2018


Hey, my name is Dale! My partner Alex and I have helped tens of thousands of people build beautiful websites around the world. In this simple, step-by-step guide, I’ll show you exactly how to set up your professional custom email address through Gmail. Let’s dive in!

  • Level of Expertise:
  • Time To Complete:
    20 Minutes
  • What You Get:
    A Custom Email Address

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So you want to make your email address look professional right?

But you also want to use your Gmail account because boy those people at Google make things stupidly simple to use…

If that’s the case – you’re in the right spot!

I’m going to show you exactly how to get a professional email address for your website and set up Gmail to use your custom domain, for free!

As always, we have a video guide for this making a professional email address available on our YouTube Channel and below:

If you liked the video and want more tutorials on creating a professional website you can also subscribe to my YouTube channel!

Moving on…

Custom email addresses help you build and promote your brand (people see your website/business name in your emails, not “Gmail” – and they definitely don’t need the extra promotion).

This way, instead of sending email from “[yourname plus some random numbers]” you’ll be able to send and receive emails from “[yourname]@[].”

This way, you can still use the free Gmail

And while a lot of posts and videos out there will tell you to pay for Google G Suite or use other tools like Mailgun – we’re going to show you a super simple way to use a custom domain with Gmail 100% free!

Check out our video for a quick overview, then read on if you want to learn more:

Why Use a Custom Domain for My Email Address?

A custom domain email address is one of the more important parts of building a brand for your pro website.

We’ve seen plenty of bloggers and new businesses using generic Gmail addresses and that’s easy enough to understand – Gmail is free, easy to use, and everyone already has one.

But if you’re in the process of creating your pro website, it’s really easy to get a professional email address using your website’s domain name from your web hosting provider at no extra cost to you.

Why use a custom domain/professional email address instead of a generic Gmail?

Three reasons:

  1. A custom email address from your business’ domain makes you look more credible and professional.
  2. Custom email addresses help you build and promote your brand (people see your website/business name in your emails, not “Gmail” – and they definitely don’t need the extra promotion).
  3. You can create multiple custom domain email addresses for things like “[yourname]@[],” “info@[],” or “customer-support@[]” and with the process we’re going to show you in this post, you’ll be able to have all those emails go to one Gmail inbox.

Why use Gmail instead of your hosting provider’s email client?

When you sign up for website hosting, you’re almost guaranteed to also get access to professional email addresses through them (especially if you use our favorite hosting company, Hostgator).

If you haven’t tried this already let us save you some time: their email clients (the web interfaces that let you access those email addresses) suck – most look like they stopped updating their user interface in 2003.

Gmail, on the other hand, is fantastic – it looks great, it works great, you already have one and know how to use it.

Why not just use Google’s G Suite?

In case you haven’t heard, G Suite is Google’s business version of its free apps.

For people like you looking to create their first pro website, the most important benefits of G Suite are additional Google Drive storage and support for custom domain email addresses.

But, that’ll cost you $5 per month – nothing crazy but that’s an extra $60 a year you can spend on other cool tools to grow your website.

And, as it turns out, if you already have a custom domain name and a professional email address from your hosting company, there’s actually a way to use your website’s custom domain with Gmail for free!

So let’s go over how to make a professional email address and connect it to Gmail in 4 easy steps.

1. Get Your Custom Domain Name and Website

The first thing you’ll need to do is get a custom domain and website hosting.

If you haven’t done that yet, here are a few beginner’s guides we’ve put together to help you out:

With your domain name and web hosting set up (your website can still be a work in progress), you’re ready to move on to step 2.

2. Setup Your Professional Email Address (HostGator)

As far as web hosting goes, we’re huge fans of HostGator – it’s what we’ve built Create a Pro Website with!

So here are the steps to set up a professional email address with your website’s custom domain using HostGator’s portal – but the steps should be similar for other hosting companies.

  1. Log in to the HostGator Customer Portal
  2. Click on the “Hosting” Tab
  3. Scroll Down to Email Management
  4. Fill Out the Form with Your Professional Email Address and Password
  5. Choose the Unlimited Option to Keep All the Emails You Get
  6. Click Create Account – You’re Done!

3. Use Your Custom Domain with Gmail for Free

Now that you’ve set up your professional email address, let’s make Gmail your mail client so you can send and receive emails using their awesome interface.

  1. Log in to your Gmail account
  2. Click gear icon at the top right and then the “Settings” option in the drop-down menu
  3. Click the Accounts and Import tab
  4. Scroll down to the “Check Mail from Other Accounts” section
  5. Click “Add a Mail Account”
  6. Enter your professional email address in the pop-up and click Next
  7. The next screen will ask if you want to use Gmailify, we want the “Import Emails from My Other Account (POP3)” option then click Next
  8. Enter the full professional email address you created with HostGator in the “username” box, then your password in the “password” box.
  9. In the  “POP server” box, make sure it says “mail.[].”
  10. For the other options:
    • Check “Leave a Copy…” If you want to be able to access your emails with another client (besides Gmail).
    • We recommend SSL for security, but you’ll need a bit more setup. For HostGator, you’ll need to update the POP server name and port number, see here for details.
    • You’ll want to check “label incoming messages” so you can tell when emails are coming from your professional email address.
    • Don’t check the archive/skip inbox option – you want to be able to see when new emails come in!
  11. With all those options set, click “Add Account.” On the next screen, you’ll be asked if you want to be able to send email from your new professional email address – select “Yes” and hit “Next”!
    • This creates an “alias” which basically means people see that they’re sending email to your custom domain email address but really you’re using your Gmail. When it shows up in their inbox it’ll say your new professional email name.
  12. On this screen, fill in the name you want to have displayed when people receive emails from your professional address (eg “[Your Name]”).
  13. Click Next Step and you’ll be taken to the page to send email through your custom domain’s SMTP server. Enter that same username and password as before, leave the security option at the default, and click Add Account.

4. Verify and Test Your Gmail Custom Domain Setup

Once you’ve gone through all that, the last thing you’ll need to do is verify your new professional email with Gmail and test to make sure everything is working.

  1. Once you click that last “Add Account,” a window will pop up asking for the code.
  2. Head back to your Gmail inbox and within a couple of minutes, you should see a verification email with a code inside.
  3. Copy and paste that code from the email into the verification box in the pop-up and you’re done verifying!
  4. Now you’ll want to test to make sure your custom domain email address works with your Gmail. If you have a separate email address (from the Gmail you’re using with your custom domain), log in to that email and try sending an email to your professional email address.
    • If you don’t have another email address, you can just send an email from your current Gmail to your professional email, it should still work.
  5. If your test email shows up in the Gmail inbox you set up with your custom domain, and it’s labeled with your professional email address, then you’re good to go!
  6. One final tip: once you’ve set up your custom domain, be sure to head back to the “Accounts and Imports: tab in your Gmail settings and select the “Reply from the same address the email was sent to” option.

This way, whenever someone sends an email to your professional email address, your replies will show they’re from that address too (instead of your Gmail address).

Professional Email Address + Gmail, Free

So there you have it, that’s how to get a custom domain and use it with Gmail for free to get a professional looking email while getting to use the awesomeness that is Gmail.

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