Use A Google Apps Account To Authenticate Outgoing Mail From Your Regular Gmail Account

Use A Google Apps Account To Authenticate Outgoing Mail From Your Regular Gmail Account

Gmail’s been able to send emails from other email addresses you own for a long time, but it was never perfect. Here’s a simple step-by-step for getting rid of the all-too-annoying “on behalf of” message.

Here was the problem: Hidden in the header information of outgoing mail was the true sender’s identity — your address. It’s a way to ensure that your messages don’t get marked as spam. But in some email clients like Outlook, the recipient would see a confusing “sent on behalf of” disclaimer in the from field:


Google came up with a partial fix when they gave you the option to set up Gmail to use your own outgoing mail server instead of theirs:


The Problem

The problem is, you need to get hold of an outgoing mail server (authenticated SMTP server). You can get one from your domain host, but it’ll probably cost you extra.

One solution: Send your emails from a Google Apps account. Unfortunately that’s not ideal, because you really don’t want to be switching between inboxes. You could migrate your entire Google account to Apps, but it’s time-consuming and only worth doing if you want your domain email address to be your primary one.

The Better Solution

Fortunately, it’s possible to set up Google Apps for your domain then use it for your outgoing mail server in your regular Gmail account. Here’s how:

The first thing you need to do is sign up to Google apps. Start here and follow these instructions.

You don’t need to go through everything there. In particular we’re not concerned about setting up new users, as that’s not relevant to our needs. But there are a couple of extra steps for our setup.

First, set up a catch all so that [email protected] comes to the administrator account. That’s done in the control panel under Service settings > Email :


(If you had different aliases before moving to Apps, you’ll want to recreate those as well.)

Then go to the administrator’s inbox:


…and set up forwarding to your regular Gmail address:


The final stage is to go back to your Gmail account and set up Google Apps as your outgoing mail server for that domain. You’ll either be adding a new address or editing an existing one:


You’ll be taken through the process step by step. When you get to the “Send mail” step, this is what you want to put in:


…but instead of [email protected] you want the email address of your Google Apps admin account (where you set up the forwarding earlier).

Now when you send emails from Gmail using your own domain it’ll be the real deal. Even you’re Outlook using friends won’t be able to tell.

Steve blogs regularly about science, maths and technology over at


  • Good idea for those that need it. Makes you wonder why google don’t offer a third option as well as the existing ‘send through gmail’ and ‘send through external smtp’. That is to give a new option to ‘Create sending user on Gmail SMTP server’ as that’s all you using the whole Google apps setup to do.

    Of course there’s then the issue of how to validate the email address is yours but that could be done by a simple email verification as usual.

  • This is a terrific tip! Thank you so much. For some reason, I’d missed the ability to do this for all these years and it removes one of the huge annoyances I had with Gmail. Well done, Lifehacker!

  • You say “You can get one [outgoing SMTP server] from your domain host, but it’ll probably cost you extra.”

    From my reading of Google Apps info that costs you too. About $50 per year per user account.

    Steve, is there a free version of Apps you know about that achieves this same outcome?

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