Help me test the waters with Google Apps
October 13, 2007 8:31 PM   Subscribe

I'm trying to set up Google Apps Email Premiere for just a few users for testing. I'm following the instructions on the Pilot program help page, and I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong.

The help page says to "Add another destination". My domain is currently being hosted by Bluehost if that makes any difference. The POP server address is mail.domain.com and when I try to add that as the additional destination, it states that the setting is saved, but then it doesn't show up. I e-mailed Google Apps support, and got this back, which doesn't seem to make sense.

"I've investigated your report and found that your CNAME record isn't configured properly.

Here's the current CNAME record:

Non-authoritative answer: mail.domain.com canonical name = domain.com.

To fix this issue, please modify your CNAME record as follows: mail.domain.com points to ghs.google.com"

I'm not a DNS expert, so I may be wrong, but this is what I'm afraid of:
1. change CNAME record to ghs.google.com
2. doh...all the e-mail sent to the rest of our accounts *not* on the Pilot program don't get delivered
3. once the ghs.google.com CNAME record gets propogated, then I do the "Add another destination"
4. add the MX records for Google mail
5. doh...while the MX records propogate, the people *on* the Pilot program don't get their email

What am I missing? Can someone help me with a more detailed step-by- step of what I need to do to make this work?
posted by edjusted to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Why don't you email the apps people with this information? Ask what they think about your situation. Chances are they've run into this kind of situation before.
posted by kdar at 8:34 PM on October 13, 2007


If you're testing, do NOT change the MX record or the destination (if it's a CNAME) for your domain until you're ready to switch. You will have problems with your mail if you do that.

Have a look at this page: How can I test the email service before changing my MX records?. And furthermore 5-step Test & Switch Guide. Hope those links work, but good luck and post back if you have any other problems!
posted by puddpunk at 9:03 PM on October 13, 2007


Also, if you're adding a CNAME record to point to ghs.google.com that is only for adding aliases in your own domain to point to the different services. e.g. docs.domain.com, calendar.domain.com, docs.domain.com etc... So it's for making mail.domain.com take the user to the gmail mail interface for your domain.

This does not affect mail handling, the MX records are for that but just make sure you don't CNAME the target for the MX or you might have trouble.
posted by puddpunk at 9:08 PM on October 13, 2007


Ok.. So I am using Dreamhost as my host, but I am pretty sure I know what you need to do to get mail setup.

On Dreamhost, the domain you setup automatically gets the mail.domain.com and this cannot be modified.

The steps I took are:

In the Google Apps Dashboard go to 'Email' and under 'Web address' you should see a 'Change URL' link.

Select the custom URL option and enter a sub-domain (which cannot be MAIL). I used 'm' so that mail users can type m.domain.com to get to their mailboxes.

Leave this page up and go to your web host's panel and create a new CNAME, with the value of 'm' (or whatever you chose) that points to ghs.google.com.

Once you have that done go back to the Google page, click continue, and then there is a link that says something like, 'I have completed these steps.'

Now give it a couple hours and you should be able to reach your mail via m.domain.com (which actually redirects you to https://mail.google.com/a/domain.com/.

The good thing about not being able to use mail.domain.com is that old mail users can still get to mail.domain.com to get their old emails.
posted by B(oYo)BIES at 10:12 PM on October 13, 2007


Thanks for the replies so far. I did ask Google's tech support *forum*, and have gotten either no response so far (forum), or responses that don't quite answer my concerns.

Ok, here's the thing. I guess Google's "pilot" program is still kind of new and people are still learning how it works. In a nutshell, it allows people to test Google Apps by routing only *some* e-mail to Google, while leaving everything else with the current host. e.g. I'm on Bluehost and they're hosting my e-mail. I want to switch to Google, but want to test it out first. Google Apps now allows me to set up "pilot accounts" e.g. guineapig1, guineapig2. So ONLY e-mail to those two accounts will go to Google's POP server. Everyone else on my domain will still be getting their e-mail via Bluehost's POP server.

The problem with pointing the CNAME record for mail.mydomain.com to Google is that once I do that, the people who should still be getting their e-mail from Bluehost's POP server now error out when they check e-mail from Outlook (since Outlook is looking for e-mail on mail.mydomain.com, being directed to Google, and NOT finding the appropriate account).

In *theory*, I should *only* change the MX record to Google. Then (in theory), what Google does when it gets e-mail for mydomain.com is deliver to Google's POP server for the "pilot" accounts, and *redirect* everything else to the original Bluehost POP server. Problem is, I'm having trouble setting that part up.

I guess at this point the best thing to do is to go back to Google and get them fix the setup so I can do this.

Thanks all!
posted by edjusted at 11:07 AM on October 16, 2007


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