How to Setup Google Apps MX, CNAME and SPF records

Google Apps is one of the best (if not the best) email services out there, and this tutorial takes you through the steps on how you can setup your domain, which you have its DNS managed by Todhost, to point to Google.

This blog post presumes you’ve already setup your Google Apps account and that you are just now doing the finishing touches (ie. final DNS settings to have Google handle your emails). If you’ve setup your Google Apps account correctly, this final step will put the finishing touch and allow Google to handle all your emails needs.

For this to be done, you’ll need to setup three DNS records:

    MX records, thus telling the world, who handles email for your domain (ie. Google).
    CNAME record, so that if you type mail.yourdomain.com (replace yourdomain with your own domain name – like mail.shai-todhost.com), it points to Google Apps login page.
    SPF record to tell the world that Google is allowed to handle emails for your domain (this helps other mail servers know that Google is allowed and thus, help prevent filtering emails from you as spam).

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Edit DNS zone records:

    In your control panel, click on domain name in question

    Now click on Edit DNS zone records

   First, delete the mail A record and the default TXT record by clicking the Red X to the right on the respective row


MX Records:

    Click the pencil icon to the left of the first MX record to set the default record to a higher value (higher means lower priority), we don’t want to delete it, since we don’t want to interrupt current mail connectivity if such exists

    Change current value of 10 (ten) to 20 (twenty) and click Save

    Now go to Google’s MX Records page and begin entering new records, one at a time. Click Add record

    Pick MX from the drop-down box, enter the record in the Record Data field and enter the priority in the MX Priority field

    Repeat this step for all the MX records that Google provide in the aforementioned link.
    Note: Don’t enter the . (period) at the end of each record (as Google says, since our DNS doesn’t need it.

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CNAME Record:

    Now go to Google’s CNAME Records page and begin entering new records, one at a time. Click Add Record

    Pick CNAME from the drop-down box, type mail in the Record Name field and ghs.google.com in the Record Data field

    You can now also add docs, sites and calendar CNAMEs as well

SPF Record:

    Google recommends that you add the following SPF record to your DNS zone. Click Add record, pick TXT from the drop-down box, copy/paste the record into the Record Data field

    v=spf1 include:aspmx.googlemail.com ~all


End result (after MX, CNAME and SPF):

After all said and done, you can always ask Todhost's support to review your dns zone and make sure you did it correctly.

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How Google Apps Can Be Useful to Business

The Google Apps suite, which includes such popular trademarks such as Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Docs, can make the workflow among your employees more fluid, and even provide better methods of interacting with clients and customers. The following guide highlights the reasons and ways you can implement Google Apps to improve the operations of your business.

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One of the immediate benefits that Google Apps for businesses has over traditional desktop software, such as Microsoft Office, is cost-effectiveness. At just $50 per year, the Google Apps suite includes an unlimited number of user accounts, access to all of Google's applications, 25 GB of e-mail storage per employee, 24/7 customer support, and a 99.9 percent network uptime guarantee. (There's also a free version with a limited amount of network security and user accounts, as well as less apps and storage.) Compared to most business and IT software, which often come with a capped number of licenses per purchase (not to mention required external servers to host the system), Google Apps might just be the key to squeezing a couple of extra box from your budget.

Another benefit of Google Apps is each application's ability to integrate with one another – a feature that Ken Hayes, owner of a Toluca Lake, California-based Internet advertising company, says he's grateful for. "What's good about Google Apps is the fact that I can set up one main account for my business – and my e-mail, calendar and website are all tied together," he says. "Sure, there's better e-mail out there, but nobody has figured out how to tie it all together like Google."

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Streamlining Internal Communication with Gmail

When Gmail first arrived on the scene, the personal e-mail client was lauded for its seemingly bottomless storage capacity and lightning-fast inbox search capabilities. But with the integration of Google Apps, many of Gmail's functions work just as efficiently for businesses. Again, one of the most beneficial characteristics of Gmail is the cloud factor – since there's no cumbersome software to worry about, Gmail is accessible to your employees from anywhere, without having to download contacts or messages into devices.

Gmail's threaded conversations also helps to simplify messages among colleagues. Also, every office environment should have a method for sending quick, by-the-minute messages, and Gmail's answer is Google Chat, which is built directly into the interface of the inbox. "We've really reduced the need for our internal telephony system," says Wyrick about Raidious' use of the messenger. The chat feature also has a video conferencing component that can be useful when colleagues and employees need to correspond from remote locations.

While Gmail is a great e-mail client, Wyrick recommends assigning multiple account administrators for your shared business account. "Once you're signed up, you never want to have all your eggs in one basket," he says. "Some day you're going to need to do something when that administrator isn't available."

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Syncing Meetings and Events through Google Calendar

Depending on your type of business, scheduling appointments can be a real headache. A few employees (or, only one) are usually responsible for tracking and relaying dates and times, a method that is conducive to slip-ups and missed meetings. With Google Calendar, multiple employees can post events on a single calendar that the entire company can access and edit accordingly. Additionally, these calendars can be color-coded so that the viewer is made aware of changes to appointments. Administrators can also set permissions to calendars, so that only certain employees can see or edit items.

Another useful feature of Google Calendar is the ability to create events through Gmail. When you add an employee's e-mail address to an event on the calendar, the employee is sent an invitation to confirm his or her attendance. After confirming, each employee can view and add notes to the event.

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Improving Collaboration and Project Management with Google Docs

Google Docs is an application that allows multiple users to create and edit documents, presentations and spreadsheets – all on the Web. Usually, coworkers share documents by e-mailing attachments to one another, which often results in incorrect file versions and scattered, misplaced copies. With Google Docs, the file is edited in the cloud, where revisions are saved and recovered automatically.

Like most of the other Google Apps, administrators can set permissions in Google Docs so that only certain workers are allowed to view and share files. Another convenient feature is the ability to export the documents into different types of file extensions, which can be helpful in those times when a client or customer needs a PDF file ASAP.

As useful as Google Docs has been to many business owners, Wyrick of Raidious says that one thing to keep in mind is the fact that the people on your staff will have varying degrees of computer skills. So, if and when you do implement Google Docs for creating and editing your most important files, Wyrick says, it maybe helpful to designate a project champion who understands the application.

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Sharing Company Knowledge with Google Sites

Google Sites is a basic site-building tool that companies can use to create a private intranet hub of information for employees, or even a public domain that serves as the face of your business. Google Sites allows you to import information from other apps, such as your appointment calendar or standard client forms, and post it to your site for employees or customers to have easy access to.

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You can designate only certain employees to have administrative capabilities, i.e. editing and posting site information, or grant access to your entire team.
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