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How to remove Sender header ("on behalf of") when sending from Gmail?
February 14, 2008 8:14 AM   Subscribe

How can I remove the Sender header ("on behalf of") when sending from a different address in Gmail? Will Google Apps help me do what I want?

I am the administrator for the domain example.com. One of my users wants to use their existing Gmail account johndoe@gmail.com for email. They want to be able to send mail as johndoe@example.com. They can do this with the "Send Mail As" feature of Gmail. So far so good.

But Gmail unfortunately adds "Sender: johndoe@gmail.com" in the headers (revealing their Gmail address, which is bad) and Outlook displays "johndoe@gmail.com on behalf of johndoe@example.com" on their messages (which is confusing and unprofessional). See this Google help page at the bottom.

My primary question is: how can I eliminate that Sender header/"on behalf of"?

I read the previous AskMe question that says Google Apps is the solution, but when I set up the example.com domain with Google Apps, it creates an entirely separate Gmail account for johndoe@example.com. My user does not want to have to login to a separate account. The user wants one Gmail account that can send as either johndoe@example.com or johndoe@gmail.com, without the Sender header appearing.

Is this possible with Google Apps, and what do I need to do to enable it? I know I can set up forwarding from johndoe@example.com to johndoe@gmail.com, but when the user sends mail, will he have to login to his johndoe@example.com Gmail account to avoid the Sender header?

How do people use Gmail and get around this Sender/on behalf of nonsense? Is the only solution to have two separate Gmail accounts?
posted by drew3d to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
 
you need to use pop3 access built into gmail to send from your server. So when you employee logs into gmail it check mail at your server and sends through that rather than gmails server. You can have gmail set up to check and use google apps messages thats what i do. mefi message me if you need more help.
posted by DJWeezy at 9:34 AM on February 14, 2008


I'm pretty sure you can't get around that without a separate account.

Even if you're pulling mail into gmail through pop3 rather than forwarding it there, as long as your user is sending through gmail's interface, gmail is going to add that Sender: header.

Does your user want to use gmail for the web interface, or would using a desktop mail client work? Because if they can use a desktop client, they can use a different smtp server, which would solve the problem.
posted by hades at 9:42 AM on February 14, 2008


It's not universal, it seems to depend on the mail client receiving mail from you. I use an alternate address with my Gmail account. Sometimes I see that Gmail header in emails replies back to me, sometimes I don't. The downside of using an alternate SMTP server is that you lose that consolidated archive of email at GMail, since none of your sent mail will be there.
posted by COD at 10:36 AM on February 14, 2008


I've seen that too and wished it could be eliminated. I've also done some tests and Gmail is not adding that header. It's being added by the recipient's client email application. I've seen it when the recipient is using Outlook.

If I send from Gmail (with the different address) to another email system where I can see the raw message then that header is not there.

There is a difference between the "sender" address and the "from" address. "Sender" is used in the initial part of the invisible conversation that happens between mail servers at the beginning of the message transfer sequence. It also often gets written into the header in a line beginning with Sender:

When you use that feature in Gmail, it only changes the "from" address. "Sender" stays as the original Gmail address. That's probably the correct thing to do because it's still being sent by Gmail. If the "sender" was changed too, it might increase the likelihood of the message being caught in spam filters. I think "sender" is also where bounces go back to.

Outlook recognizes that 'from" and "sender" are different and thinks it's being helpful with that "On behalf of" message. I've noticed that if the recipient is using Mozilla Thunderbird then you still see "From" and "Sender" in the normal brief header but at least it doesn't "On behalf of" when you hit reply. If I receive on my GroupWise system at work then there is no sign of the Gmail address unless I go digging into the full header looking for "Sender:".

Sorry, after all that I don't have a solution if he wants to stay with Gmail other than Google apps.
posted by tetranz at 10:53 AM on February 14, 2008


You have to send with a non-Google SMTP server, because they are adding the "Sender" header, which is the root of the problem.

To keep the Gmail archive in sync, you'll have to arrange for a bcc: header to be added to the sending GMail account. GMail's smart enough to know that this is Sent Mail.
posted by bonaldi at 11:09 AM on February 14, 2008


hades, my user would like to use the Gmail web interface.

I think Gmail is adding the Sender header. It is true that the Sender header is not displayed in all clients. However, it is displayed in Outlook, which is one of the most popular email clients. Also, having the @gmail address in the header at all is privacy risk, because most email clients will let you view the raw headers even if they don't explicitly display them.

tetranz writes: If I send from Gmail (with the different address) to another email system where I can see the raw message then that header is not there.

That's exactly what I want, but my experience is that the Sender header is always present when I choose a different From address in Gmail. I have viewed the raw headers in several clients and it's always there (unless I use the Google Apps solution; but then that's a whole separate Gmail account).

bonaldi, how can I setup the Gmail web interface to send with a non-Google SMTP server? That's the first thing I wanted to try when this problem came up but I don't think it is possible with the Gmail web interface?
posted by drew3d at 11:23 AM on February 14, 2008


drew3d, sorry, I now see that I didn't read your first message well at all. I thought you were implying that Gmail was adding the "On behalf of" words. You're correct, the Sender: header is always there. I don't think there is a solution if he wants to send from the Gmail web interface. You have no control of the Sender header and no control of what the recipient's Outlook does.
posted by tetranz at 11:35 AM on February 14, 2008


Your user is out of luck, then. Using the gmail web interface (and their smtp server) means accepting the restrictions they apply, one of which is that they add a Sender: header with the account of the logged-in user. And you can't, as far as I know, make Gmail the web app use a non-gmail smtp server. Your user will either need to have a separate google apps account that he uses for his @example.com address, or he'll need to use a desktop client which can send through example.com's smtp server.
posted by hades at 11:43 AM on February 14, 2008


Holy cow. It looks like this is finally going to get resolved!
posted by CaptApollo at 11:25 AM on February 6, 2009


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