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Setting Up Free Business Emails, for Nontechies

free business email

Usually, to get free business email, you need to sign up with a website hosting service. Some packages include an unlimited number of @YourDomain emails while others come with a handful. Alternatively, you can also pay a small fee to email hosting providers and get your business email that way.

But, if you bought your domain from Google Domains, you can have up to 100 @YourDomain business emails for free. You’ll have to send and receive the emails from a Gmail account. You’ll also have to follow directions and manually enter a few things. Google takes care of the techie parts of the setup in the background.

Here’s how.

This Free Business Email Only Works with Google Domains Paired with Gmail

Before we move further, you should know that this free business email method only works if Google Domains is your registrar. We know that some folks have philosophical differences with Google and refuse to use their services. Hopefully, this is not you.

Typically, when you buy a domain from a domain registrar, you can set up @YourDomain email addresses and forward them for free. However, these emails don’t have a return path, so you can’t send emails with the @YourDomain address. When you reply to a forwarded email, the From line will show that the email came from the forwarded-to address.

Like many email clients these days, Gmail allows you to set up aliases. You can forward your other emails like Yahoo, Outlook, work, school, etc. to Gmail and then reply from Gmail using the Yahoo, Outlook, school, etc. address. You’d need to enter both a login name and a password for the email you’re connecting to Gmail.

With emails forwarded from your domain registrar, you don’t have a login or password because you don’t need them to forward emails. This is why you typically can’t set up a Gmail alias for emails forwarded from domain registrars—you don’t have all the information you need.

But if your domain is registered with Google Domains, Google has control over both the domain side and the email side. As far as we can tell, they do mysterious techie things in the background to make the login and password issue work. You’ll have to generate a password (see directions below), but you’ll be able to connect Gmail with Google Domains.

Step 1: Buy a Domain Name from Google Domains

As already stated earlier, setting up your free business email this way only works if your domain is registered with Google Domains. Since this website recommends Google Domains as a registrar, it’s just an added benefit that you’ll able to set up your @YourDomain emails for free.

Step 2: Set up a Business Gmail Account

After you’ve bought the domain name, and if you haven’t already, go to Google and set up a free business account. As far as we can tell, the free Google business account is the same as a personal account.

You can set up a Google business account without linking it to Gmail. But, since the whole point of this article is to link your @YourDomain email to Gmail, you should link the business account to a Gmail address.

Most people set up their business Gmail with You don’t have to use your business name, of course.

Step 3: Forward your @YourDomain Emails to Your Business Gmail

Once you set up your business Gmail account, go back to Google Domains and set up your business emails (e.g., and forward them to your business Gmail account:  

  • Go to Google Domains and click My Domains from the left side menu. You should see a list of your domains.
  • Find the domain you want to set up your email and click Manage to the very right side of that domain.
  • You’ll be taken to a new screen with a new menu to the left of your screen. Find Email and click that.
  • Skip the custom email with Google Workspace (it’s a paid service and you won’t need it).
  • Scroll down to Email Forwarding. Click Add Email Alias. Follow directions on what you need to enter. In the Alias email box, you can use something like info or [name]. In the Existing recipient email box, enter that business Gmail address you just set up (e.g.
  • Click Add, and you’re done setting up email forwarding.
  • You can forward up to 100 @YourDomain email addresses this way.

Here are Google’s directions on how to forward your free custom email address from Google Domains.

Step 4: Set Up Gmail Aliases

Next, you’ll need to set up your free custom email address—i.e. your alias—in your main business Gmail. This way, you can send or reply to emails from Gmail but look like you’ve sent them from an @YourDomain address.

Note that if you have employees or co-business owners who want their own free business email, they can do so by setting up their own Gmail account and following the alias setup directions. The key is that you have to set up their email forwarding from Google Domains first.  

The process takes several steps. Here are Google’s directions. We recommend you keep Google’s direction open in a separate tab at all times, so you can easily flip back and forth between Gmail settings and Google’s directions.

Below are some tips about the process.

Generate the App Password

The idea is that you’ll go to the Security section of your Google account and set up a password for each free custom email address you’re going to link to your Gmail account. You can set up several aliases for one Gmail account, so you’ll need the same number of passwords.

For example, from your business Gmail account, you can set up a password for and another password for

Each forwarded email address will have its own password. At one point, you’ll be asked to give a name to the password that was auto-generated before Google saves it. We recommend you use the @YourDomain email associated with the password, so you can keep track more easily.

If an employee or business co-owner wants their own @YourDomain email, they must generate the password from their own Gmail account.

Set Up the Alias

When setting up your alias, you’ll at some point see a pop-up box with some empty fields for you to manually enter various information. We were a little confused by some of the fields, so here’s our added explanation for each:

Name: this is the name you want to be displayed when you send emails. For instance, you might want to show [Your Business Name] when you reply to emails sent to If this is the case, you enter [Your Business Name] here.

Email Address: this is the @YourDomain email you want people to see. For example, it could be

SMTP Server: don’t forget to change this to

Username: This is the Gmail address. So, enter or however you called this business Gmail when you set it up. For your employee or co-owner, it would be their Gmail account, so maybe [name]

Password: This is the app password you generated from the step earlier. Again, this password is generated from the Gmail account that is setting up the alias. If an employee is trying to set the alias up so they can send and receive emails as, then this is a password they have to generate. You can’t generate it for them.

Set Up Default Way to Reply to Emails Sent to Your Free Custom Email Address

After you set up the alias but while you’re still in Gmail Settings, look below the list of aliases you just set up, and you’ll see the subheading When replying to a message. Here, you can pick how you’d want to automatically reply to the forwarded email.

You can reply as the alias (e.g. emails sent to will be replied as You can also reply as your main Gmail account.

Either way, when you actually write the email, you’ll have a pull-down menu in the From line to pick from your various aliases. For example, if someone sent a business inquiry to and you want to reply as, just select in the pull-down menu of the From line.

You Can Have Your Free @YourDomain Business Email for as Long as You Use Google Domains as Your Registrar

Being able to set up free custom email addresses for your business is a nice perk that comes with using Google Domains. If, in the future, you buy web hosting space with free email hosting, you can move your business emails there and access the emails by connecting to a client like Outlook or through webmail directly. This way, Google bots don’t get to sniff through your emails.

But, before you have time to set up the privately hosted emails, going through Gmail is a quick, cheap solution. Or you might choose to stay with this setup forever. It will completely be your choice, and having this choice is nice.

Interested in starting and running a small business? Here’s the beginning of our step-by-step guide: What to do right after getting that great business idea.

Questions? Comments?