Step 1 – Simulating an email alias using a Google Group
The last couple of days, I’ve been involved in setting up a new non-profit entity and email addresses for the people involved. I used my hosting service to create a new domain, and set up email addresses that forward to their existing email addresses.
What I realized was that I didn’t have an easy way to set up a email aliases, and I needed a way to forward email to the entire group.
Naturally I thought of Google Groups, which lets you set up a sort of discussion board and file sharing area. My team has been using groups for other purposes, and one of the things we learned was that if you keep the group private, it can become confusing as people add their email aliases to the member list so that they can post from their various accounts.
So for this new group, I decided to set it up to only use the email addresses from the new entity, and allow posting to the group by any email address. By doing this, anybody can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and it will get sent to the group, effectively creating an alias.
This also keeps the group relatively clean, since the only addresses that show up in the members list are the ones that are connected to the new domain. On other groups I’ve managed, I end up with people with lots of different entries because they have multiple email addresses which can be confusing.
Without signing in, the group can now send email to “all” with a single email address. Of course that doesn’t take advantage of the file sharing and other group features, so what follows are instructions on how to create a login for a new email address which will allow logging into the group.
First, if you already have a Google login, you want to make sure you are logged out. Go to a Google page like If you are logged in, you will see your login information at the top right corner of the page.
If you are not logged in, or after you click on the “Sign out” link, you will see just the “Help” and “Sign in” links like this:
Now you are ready to create the account. Start by clicking the “Sign in” link, which will take you to a sign-in form that looks like this:
Since we are creating a new account, we click on the “Create an account now”. Note that if you have an existing account, this won’t do anything to that account, you are simply creating a new account separate from the original. You will now see the account creation form:
The form is self explanatory, all you have to do is fill in the fields, type the distorted word on the page, and agree to the terms of service, then submit.
Next you’ll see the account creation verification screen, which will tell you that the account was created and must be verified. You need to check your email for the message, which has a link that validates the email goes to you.
Once you validate, you should once again be able to log in, and see your new login name in the upper right corner of the page:
So for the people in my group, once they create a new Google account with the correct email, they will have access to the Google group that I created, and be able to share files, etc. By setting up the group to allow anybody to post, they can post from their other email addresses, and receive the email on their new address.
You can also delete the account (or any other) should you decide you no longer want or need it, but that is for another day.