While it’s very easy to set up an email address using a service like Yahoo, Gmail or Hotmail, creating an email address with your school’s website (such as firstname.lastname@example.org) takes a few extra steps. Thankfully it isn’t too difficult. In this article, I’m going to outline the steps. I’m also going to use Gmail as my interface because I think it is by far the best email service for schools.
If you haven’t already got a domain name, you’re going to have to buy one. Domain names are basically website addresses. For example, our domain name is anseo.net. When you buy a domain, it most often comes with the ability to use email. I use Blacknight and find them very reliable. To buy a domain, you’ll need to go to their website and search for the domain you like. My school’s domain is carloweducatetogether.ie. I find this a little long (carlowetns.ie would have been better) but it’s very important to choose something that is associated with your school. If your school is called Scoil Naomh Padraig, naomhpadraig.ie, snpadraig.ie or even scoilnaomhpadraig.ie will be good options. The problem is that there are loads of schools with the same name so you may have to be a little creative. However, don’t go too abstract or you won’t be found! Once you’ve setup your domain, you’ll need to set up an email address at this domain.
Set up a Gmail address or better yet set up G Suite for Education. For the latter, Google gives a lovely step by step guide to setting up all your email addresses. This goes beyond the scope of this article but you can start here. If you only want one email address @yourschoolname.ie, then there’s probably no need to set up G Suite. You will have to set up an email address in the Dashboard of your domain host. With Blacknight, this will involve going into the control panel and selecting email and then adding an email address, let’s say you have the domain snpadraig.ie, you might choose: email@example.com.
Now, set up a normal Gmail account with any username, e.g. scoilnaomhpadraigbanagher. You’ll be lucky to get something short or even matching your domain name. You’ll have to pick something unique. Once you’re signed in, (this should only take a couple of minutes), you’ll be faced with a screen similar to this one.
Now, to make sure your new email address comes into this interface, you need to get Google to import whatever email comes into this email address. In this example, we’re going to go with firstname.lastname@example.org
1. Click on the settings cog on the top right of the screen and select settings. This will bring you to Google’s Gmail Settings and there are several options here. We’re going to focus on Accounts and Import, which you should find on the horizontal menu near the top:
General | Labels | Inbox | Accounts and Import
Once you are in this section, there are two things you need to do. Both of these will require a little bit of technology knowhow but your hosting service will be able to help you out with much of this.
I have 4 email accounts associated with my personal gmail account – my original gmail username, my old Eircom email address from the 1990s, an old school email address and my email@example.com email address. When I first signed up for gmail, I was using my Eircom address so the first thing I needed to do was import all my email from that account. The following section is where to begin:
When you click on Import mail and contacts, you will be able to import all your email from a previous email address. This is a step by step procedure. You may need to find something called POP3 settings, but this is not too difficult. Generally a quick google will do the job.
For example, I googled Eir’s POP3 details and found them quickly:
ports incoming: 110
SMTP ports outgoing:25
Once I’ve done that, I need to now set up Gmail to get messages from my new email address firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the section above, I need to click Add an email account. This is almost the same process as above and again is a step by step process. If you used Blacknight as your email provider when buying your domain, their POP3 details are as follows:
As you can see, I can 3 email addresses that I can choose to send email from. I have set email@example.com as my default email. For the purposes of this article, you probably only need to do this once. Again it is a step by step process starting with clicking on Add another email address. Make sure also to have the radio button Always reply from default address checked.
Once you’ve done all that, you are all set to go! Personally, I think you are much better off setting up G Suite for Education than going through all this as you can set up lots of email addresses. I do this for my own school and every staff member has their own email address. However, if you’re just starting off or have a tiny school, this option might suit you.