If you have your own domain, you probably have, or at least should have your own email address at your domain.
But as great as having your own “.com” is, if you prefer Gmail over a traditional email client or your host’s default webmail interface, there is no easy and elegant way to use your Gmail as your email client.
However, Google Apps solves this problem by actually having Google host your email, giving you the features and benefits of Gmail the same as if you were using any other Google Account, just one with your domain.
In addition to email, Google Apps has a wide range of services including Google Docs, Google Calendar and more. However, it is the email that really steals the show and is the reason most people set up a Google Apps account.
On that note, here’s six reasons why you should consider following suit and what you’re missing by not giving Google Apps a try.
1. It’s The Power of Gmail on Your .Com
If you like Gmail but want to use your domain with it, there are two options. First, you can have Gmail access and check your mail server, which it will only do hourly, or you can forward your mail from your server to Gmail. Either way, you have to set up an account with Gmail to send and then have to put up with either using “on behalf of” labels in your outgoing email or still use your existing SMTP server.
With Google Apps, you eliminate all of these middle man problems by simply editing your domain settings so that Gmail IS your email server, eliminating all of this mess while still using Gmail’s power on your domain.
2. It’s More Reliable
Not only does Google Apps offer greater reliability than alternatives for using your domain with Gmail, it almost certainly offers greater liability than your default setup. As great as your email server probably is, you can’t expect it to beat Google in terms of reliability.
Google simply has a larger network and better infrastructure for hosting email than even the largest Web host.
3. The Apps Marketplace
The Apps Marketplace is essential an app store for Google Apps (fans of the Yo Dawg meme will have a field day). It lets you integrate a wide variety of applications into your Google Apps including image editors, productivity apps and so forth.
These apps are not available to regular Gmail users or Google account holders. Instead, they are only for those using Google Apps, including the free version.
4. You Sacrifice Nothing
Prefer to access your email via IMAP or POP3? You can do that with Google Apps. If you never open your Web-based email, you’ll still have the same access you did previously, the only thing that will change is the login information.
In short, you can use your same email client and your same setup, just change your login information and enjoy greater reliability and additional features should you choose to use them.
5. It’s Free
Though Google Apps proudly touts its paid option, which is $50 per person per year for increased storage, the standard edition is still free and offers features and storage space comparable to what you would get with a regular Google Account.
In short, you get the same features you would expect from a regular Google Account, on your domain, for free.
6. It’s Easy
Setting up Google Apps email is extremely easy and Google offers step-by-step tutorials to help even the greatest novices work through it.
All you have to do is change a few settings on your domain and your part should be done in a few minutes.
Of course, nothing in this world is perfect and I have battled a few minor problems with the switch over to Google Apps. The biggest has been an issue where I now have two Google Docs accounts and it causes problems with permissions.
Also, when I made the move, some email was lost in the transition as the DNS changes were propagating out. However, once the move was complete, everything on the email side has gone extremely smoothly.
All in all, the minor problems are far outweighed by the benefits, making Google Apps one of the best choices I ever made.
If you have your own domain and send email from it or use Gmail to access it, you need to seriously consider Google Apps. It’s free, easy, adds features and is more reliable and secure.
There’s almost nothing to lose but a great deal to gain.
It’s one of the few services I recommend with almost no reservation and something I now can’t imagine living without.