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How To Use Self-Hosted Email Accounts With Gmail For Free

How To Use Self-Hosted Email Accounts With Gmail For Free

Gmail is great, we all love using it. It’s simple, powerful and most importantly easy to use.

In order to maintain professional business communication for your business/blog, you simply can’t afford to communicate as [email protected]

That is why most people opt to use a custom domain which often looks more like [email protected]

These types of custom domain emails are necessary for a professional and business setting.

Custom emails are often offered free with your hosting plan.

The challenge with most custom domain email addresses (especially if you have more than one) is you’re forced to switch between email logins.

That means you have no way of managing all your custom emails from one account.

Google offers businesses a way to host their custom emails under their Gsuite Google Cloud but you’ll need to spend a minimum of $5 every month just to use their Gmail service.

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Screenshot of Gsuite Pricing

So what happens if you’re on a shoestring budget?

You’re probably thinking $5/month for the Gmail service is way out of your budget, besides it’s just emailing right?

So now what?

In this article, I will take you through how to configure and set up your custom domain email ([email protected]) with Gmail for free.


  • Access to your existing email hosting account
  • An existing Gmail ID.

Why Gmail?

But before we get into that, you might be wondering why we chose Gmail, well here a couple of reasons:

  • Gmail is awesome: Let’s be honest almost all who are reading this already have an existing Gmail account may be business or personal. I mean realistically you might have tried other email providers but you probably always go back to Gmail.
  • Your hosting plans email software kinda sucks: Most webmail /web host emails have a terrible user interface and are really hard to navigate. They also don’t give you a lot of options like Gmail where you can add well-designed email signatures or access email filters.
  • Gmail allows you to manage all your email accounts from one single account. What this means is you can check all your custom domain email addresses from one single account. For example, you can send/receive emails as [email protected], [email protected],  [email protected], all from one single email account.

And yes, it’s all free.

Here’s how to use your custom domain email address with Gmail. (*No technical skills required)

Step 1: Login to your Email Hosting Cpanel

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I personally use Bluehost and my Cpanel looks as shown in the screenshot above but most dashboards look similar.

Click on the mail accounts option.

Create your email address + password.

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Once you have created your email address proceed to check your configuration settings (IMAP / Incoming server and SMTP / outgoing server)

You may need to write these down we’ll be using that information next.

For this tutorial, we will use my custom domain [email protected] as an example.

Step 2: Open your Gmail Account.

Open the Gmail account you would like to host your custom domain email address.

Go to Settings > Accounts and Import

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Step 3: Add an Email Account

Go to Settings > Accounts and Import > Send Mail as > Add another email address

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Next, Click on the “Accounts and Import Tab”

Click on “Add A Mail Account”

You will be directed to a pop-up similar to this:

You will be required to enter your custom email address at this point.

The name section can also be changed to be how you want it to appear when people receive your emails.

Next, Click “Next Step”

Next >>

At this point you will the following on hand:

  • Your username: For your username, you’re required to write out your custom domain details in full as shown above. 
  • Your email password

In my case, my SMTP server details were already auto populated.

Next >>

Next >>

Next, Click “Add Account”

And that’s it!

An email will be sent to your custom email hosting account which will look similar to this:


Next, click on the link to verify your email address

The following pop up will appear

You’re now ready to send and receive emails with your new custom email address.

Step 4: Choose how you want to use this email address.

Go to Settings > Accounts and Import > Send Mail As

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You can choose which email account to respond.  I use my personal Gmail account, I have set it up so that I automatically reply from whichever email address the email was sent to.

Gmail also gives you an option to manually switch between email addresses as you compose an email.

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Additional Security Tips

The security if your email is extremely important.

For security reasons I would highly recommend that you enable 2-Step verification in your Gmail Account.

You are also advised to update your mobile number and sign out of third party applications that are not in use anymore.

Over To You

If you want to enjoy full access to Google service over the custom email address, then you should go for Google Apps for Work.

Otherwise, if you’re only interested in the Gmail service only you can opt for our method.

It’s a cheap and convenient way to help you manage all your emails from one inbox.

Important To Note: Our method is only limited to sending and receiving emails.

About The Author


Catherine is the Founder and CEO of E-Technology Africa, a digital marketing agency based in Nairobi, Kenya offering social media, S.E.O, website, and app development services. She works closely with B2C and B2B businesses providing digital marketing content that gains social media attention and increases your search visibility.


  1. Mato

    Hi Catherine. Will the emails I receive come straight to gmail or they will be stored in my hosting account? I have a domain which has 10mb domain hosting (for managing the domain of course) but I do not want the emails stored in the 10mb coz It will fill up pretty quickly.

    • Catherine Mong'ina

      Hi Mato,

      Yes, all your emails will go straight into your Gmail inbox. Gmail offers up to 15GB free storage so you shouldn’t have to worry about space.

      Hope that answers your question.

      Thank for sharing! 🙂