Ask LH: How Can I Score A Free Email Alias For Gmail?

Ask LH: How Can I Score A Free Email Alias For Gmail?

Hey Lifehacker, I’m trying to figure out how to get a free email alias that I can automatically forward to my personal Gmail. I love Gmail and its integration with other Google services, but for business purposes my Gmail handle is a little unprofessional.

I created my email handle when I was a teenager (I’m now 28), and it’s not really appropriate for putting on resumes. I have previously used the bundled email addresses from my ISP before, but these have changed over the years and lack continuity, especially as I am about to move overseas!

I looked into getting a domain name and email, but can’t justify the cost just for a business-friendly email address (I’m an engineer working for a large multinational – it’s not like I need my own website or online presence). Creating another Gmail handle seems impossible without a strange option with weird numbers at the end — again, not ideal for business purposes. Can you recommend a free option for a business-friendly email alias?

Thanks Need A Name

Office picture from Shutterstock

Dear NAN,

Our basic take on this is short and blunt: cough up a few dollars and pay for your own domain already. You’re an adult working as an engineer. You might not need a domain for your own web site right now, but who knows where your career will take you in the future?

Here’s a simple option: a Google Apps for Business account costs $50 a year. You can easily register a domain for $10 or less and use that with the Google Apps account, giving you the full range of Gmail services when you need them. If you’re worried about looking professional, $5 a month isn’t actually a lot. Think of it as a medium-priced business shirt once a year.

The basic problem with any free option is that as you’re not paying for it, you have no grounds for complaint if it doesn’t work. You also have no guarantee that it’s going to continue operating in the future. Not being able to reply to your mail looks much less professional than anything you’re worried about right now. So does having your email automatically peppered with ads, which happens with some free services.

If you absolutely refuse to spend the money, then creating a second Google account for use in business contexts is the best way to go. Yes, most of the “good” names are gone and you may end up with a sequence of numbers on the end. However, if you’re not prepared to invest in your own domain, that’s the price you’ll pay — and realistically, most business contacts aren’t going to spend a lot of time contemplating your email address. The content of the email matters more. Tech entrepreneur Ruslan Kogan says that he favours candidates with Gmail addresses or their own domain, but even he doesn’t seem too worried about what the address is.

Cheers Lifehacker

Got your own question you want to put to Lifehacker? Send it using our [contact text=”contact form”].


    • But no longer takes new alias’ without the paid options for onedrive/O365. Older, free alias’ are grandfathered in.

  • I have google apps with my own domain. I got it when it was free, so that’s even more reason for me to keep it. But aside from that, it’s awesome. It does everything I need.

    I tried with my own domain, but google offers much more flexibility and options.

  • Zoho is a great free option with no ads. You only get 5GB of storage (which has been more than enough for me) but it allows you to create email addresses on your own domain. Therefore, your costs are limited to the $10/year you’re paying for the domain.

  • Pray tell, is there a Lifehacker step-by-step guide about how to “easily register a domain”, and then what one does with it (aside from using it with the Google Apps account)?

    • — Any provider there lets you… search for available domains, create an account, and register. It’s a damned simple process.

      What one does with it? Host a website, store content, put SVN up, setup remote access to at-home systems without a no-ip service… anything that the internet can do, really.

      • Sorry, I should have been clearer. I was enquiring about a Lifehacker step-by-step guide to registering a domain because my I don’t know the actual steps involved, and Google was only returning Lifehacker articles like “Five best domain name registrars”.

  • Agree entirely with the advice, but what’s with the Americanism in the writing, Angus? (He said, taking the discussion into other Lifehacker areas…)

    “…pay for your own domain already. ” Why not just “…pay for your own domain” ? #betterplainenglishforall

  • Geez, what a tight arse, even the most poorly paid engineer can afford a domain and a Google Apps account.

    However, I would also strongly recommend keeping work stuff in a work account rather than fowarding it all to your personal account. Google makes it pretty easy to switch between Google accounts in most of their products.

  • I never understood why people felt the need to make stupid email names like xOBooBzzOx or DrunkPartySlut, I signed up for gmail when it first launched and you needed an invite to it and used the most logical email account name I could think of, my own name. Looks better on a resume than [email protected]

  • I don’t agree with the advice. As a consultant I often need to share my gmail address with customers for things like Google Docs etc. so I think it’s worth having a somewhat professional username.

  • Here is an idea, Hotmail/Outlook allows you to have multiple alias. Create a hotmail/outlook account and forward all your email to gmail. If you need to send an email then use outlook/hotmail to send an email. Done…

Show more comments

Comments are closed.

Log in to comment on this story!