I don’t like Google very much. However when my grandmother had a request for something to be added to her website, I realized Google’s email would actually be much easier for them, especially since her domain, taffys.org, is mapped to this server as a part of my Multisite network. Oh, it’s not terribly hard to make emails for her, but she wanted someone local to do that.
There’s a minor story behind that, but the shortest version is she’s doing some totally awesome not-for-profit work with Parkinsons patients. One of the things she wants is an email, used by many people, to ‘collect’ messages like ‘I’ll be there.’ While I could do this on my site, it’s actually easier to get this up on Google, where I can tell people login to go to http://mail.google.com/a/taffys.org or http://mail.taffys.org and it’s something they know.
I chose to do this by command line, for the experience. If I wanted to do it via cpanel and WHM, you’d go in to edit the DNS zone for the server and add in the mx records.
dig mx taffys.org tells me what I have right now, which I knew was self referential.
; <<>> DiG 9.3.6-P1-RedHat-9.3.6-20.P1.el5_8.5 <<>> mx taffys.org ;; global options: printcmd ;; Got answer: ;; ->>HEADER<<- opcode: QUERY, status: NOERROR, id: 20605 ;; flags: qr rd ra; QUERY: 1, ANSWER: 1, AUTHORITY: 2, ADDITIONAL: 1 ;; QUESTION SECTION: ;taffys.org. IN MX ;; ANSWER SECTION: taffys.org. 14010 IN MX 0 taffys.org. ;; AUTHORITY SECTION: taffys.org. 78943 IN NS ns1.ipstenu.org. taffys.org. 78943 IN NS ns2.ipstenu.org. ;; ADDITIONAL SECTION: taffys.org. 6943 IN A 126.96.36.199 ;; Query time: 11 msec ;; SERVER: 188.8.131.52#53(184.108.40.206) ;; WHEN: Tue Nov 13 08:09:06 2012 ;; MSG SIZE rcvd: 104
Looks like that for all my stuff. Okay, no problem, I go in and edit
/var/named/taffys.org.db and find this:
taffys.org. IN MX 0 taffys.org.
Change it to this:
; Original ; taffys.org. IN MX 0 taffys.org. ; Gmail taffys.org. 14400 IN MX 10 ASPMX.L.GOOGLE.COM. taffys.org. 14400 IN MX 30 ASPMX2.GOOGLEMAIL.COM. taffys.org. 14400 IN MX 20 ALT1.ASPMX.L.GOOGLE.COM. taffys.org. 14400 IN MX 30 ASPMX4.GOOGLEMAIL.COM. taffys.org. 14400 IN MX 30 ASPMX5.GOOGLEMAIL.COM. taffys.org. 14400 IN MX 20 ALT2.ASPMX.L.GOOGLE.COM. taffys.org. 14400 IN MX 30 ASPMX3.GOOGLEMAIL.COM.
And then I ran
/usr/sbin/rndc reload taffys.org to refresh it. But ... wait. Why does it still say I'm on taffys.org? Per usual, I didn't bother to change my TTL. As everyone always reminds me, if you make a change to DNS without lowering your TTL values, you're gonna have a bad time. Since I'm (rarely) in a rush for this stuff, meh. Besides, it takes 24-48 hours from changing TTL for it to be usable, and then I can make my change. Followed by waiting again, and then changing it back? DNS is pretty zippy these days. 72 hours max, and usually less, so I just don't.
While I waited on that, I went ahead and made a Google Apps account for taffys.org. When you go to Google Apps they only show you business and education. I'm neither (though I suppose what I'm doing for Taffy would be non-profit). Really they're trying to sell, which makes sense. If you go to their pricing model, you'll see the free option. Unless you're running a business, click that.
The rest of the directions are really straight forward, and Google shows you what to do. It's really just set up the account stuff from there out. The directions to make mail.yourdomain.com are under Create a custom web address.
If you want to do it with a GUI, it's even easier. I went into my DNS management setup on cpanel and did this:
Will I do this for other domains? Maybe. I think I'll be doing this for hosting going forward, since the people I host rarely (ever?) use cPanel. Congrats, Taffy! You're the first! Liv's the second.
Now I have to fix up Taffy's site.