Setting Up Google Apps (Gmail) For Your Domain

The other day, I was talking with my friend Aaron (@riddlebrothers) about all of the various e-mail addresses we have and how we use them. At one point, after discussing the virtues of using Yahoo! Mail, I mentioned that the e-mail addresses I have hosted on my own servers are often unreliable. I told him that I rarely give out anything but my Yahoo! e-mail address, because a lot of messages get lost in cyberspace with my other accounts.

He asked me if I had looked into using Google Apps for my domain-based e-mail services. I honestly hadn’t thought about it before (in fact, I made a post a while back about how strange it was that everyone was moving to Gmail). However, his suggestion made sense. Following are some of the advantages I see in moving your e-mail over to Google Apps:

How CSS is Implemented in E-mail Clients

The other day, Smashing Magazine tweeted about an updated guide to CSS implementation in e-mail clients. The guide is extremely helpful, as it shows you exactly what CSS techniques and features you can use within your HTML e-mail messages and which e-mail clients will display them correctly.

The chart displayed in the original blog post shows over 50 different CSS techniques and elements are evaluated for 11 different e-mail/Webmail clients. Apparently the PDF and Excel versions of the chart that are linked from the post include more than 23 different mail clients. Unfortunately, looking at the chart, it appears that the safest way to create an attractive e-mail message that looks the way you intend in multiple e-mail clients is to code with tables and inline styles.

Is the whole world moving to Gmail?

I’m noticing more and more that everyone seems to be abandoning the traditional e-mail server in favor of Google’s Gmail. My Internet Service Provider switched over a while ago. Recently, I also joined a consulting group, working on managing and maintaining their Web site (and doing side Web work for them), and found that their e-mail is completely managed through Gmail. That Web site is hosted by GoDaddy. After a bit of research, it seems that Google and GoDaddy have (and have had for a few years) some sort of agreement that allows users to sign up for Google Apps and GoDaddy hosting all rolled into one.

In addition, I have heard that many colleges are now switching their student e-mail servers over to use Gmail rather than the services they have used in the past. In fact, the entire state system under which I work has moved over to Gmail for the student e-mail system. While our support staff e-mail is still hosted locally on an Exchange server, all student e-mail now runs through Gmail.

Is the whole world switching over to Gmail? Is anyone still using their own mail servers to handle sending and receiving correspondence? Does it even make sense to use your own server anymore? Will the world come to a grinding halt if Google’s e-mail servers ever shut down for any reason?

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