Page.ly has changed more than its hosting panel lately: they have a new policy on e-mail, which is to say, they no longer provide email service to their clients. This makes things considerably more confusing for the non-technical, so I’m providing a tutorial for my MediaBistro students and anyone else interested on how to get things set up.
Domain Registrar Instructions
I register all my domains with Namecheap, and this is the registrar I use in my examples for the MediaBistro videos. The downside to using Namecheap is that they don’t provide any free e-mail accounts along with your domain, whereas GoDaddy will give you a free e-mail account. It’s not enough to persuade me to switch back to GoDaddy, but it does mean one has to go through some extra steps to get e-mail if your host doesn’t provide it. I’m already familiar with these steps, however, as the host I use for my main WordPress Multisite setup only provides e-mail for your main domain, not for add-on domains.
Since I had one of the older Page.ly accounts, I had pointed my DNS servers to atomic1.hostedclientservice.com. In order to set things up according to the new rules, I have to transfer DNS back to Namecheap. If you are setting up your nameservers for the first time, this step will not be necessary.
- Transferring DNS back to Namecheap from Page.ly
During the transfer, the domain will not be accessible. If your site is new, that probably won’t be an issue. My EastBayWP.com site has existed for years, but it doesn’t get a ton of traffic, so the outage is inconvenient, but survivable.
Once your DNS is back at Namecheap, choose “All Host Records” under the “Host Management” menu. Enter the Page.ly IP address next to the “@” and “www” entries and select “A Record” from the dropdown menu.
- Select “All Host Records” to get to the correct screen for setting up A records and MX servers.
- Use the Page.ly IP address to set up your A records.
Save your settings so that your site will work. Then move down the page to “Mail Settings” and select “User” and “Automatically set MX records necessary for Google Apps E-mail.” Save the settings again.
- Namecheap can automatically configure MX records for Google Apps mail. If you don’t need an e-mail account, you can just use the free forwarding service.
After you select “Automatically set MX records necessary for Google Apps Email,” click “Save changes.” Namecheap will automatically fill in the MX records, which should look like this:
You’re all set as far as Namecheap goes. You can log out and move on to the next step.
Page.ly Atomic Hosting Setup
Log in to your Page.ly Atomic Hosting panel and click the “Manage” button next to your site.
- If your site is already set up, just click the “manage” link in your Atomic Hosting Panel at Page.ly.
Then select the “Domain Aliases” tab. If your domain is listed already, as mine is, you’re all set. If not, click the “Add Alias” button. Click the link to your alias just to make sure it works. You should see your website.
- Add or edit domain aliases here. Remember which one is the primary domain: you’ll need it for Google verification.
Once Page.ly is configured properly, you can move on to your Google Apps setup for mail.
Set Up Google Apps for Email
The next thing to do is head over to Google Apps for Business and set up your free account. As long as your business has 10 or fewer users, this is free forever, though it doesn’t have quite as many features as the paid service. Editorial Note: Google started charging for apps (now GSuite) within a year of the time I wrote this article, but those who set up free accounts earlier still get to use them for free.
- Sign up for the free account on Google Apps.
Enter your domain name in the box. Google is insanely literal about making sure you have an exact domain match, so be sure you use the same version of the domain that Page.ly has set as “primary,” either with or without the www.
- Enter your domain in this box. If your primary domain at Page.ly uses “www,” then include the “www.” Otherwise, leave it off.
Choose your Google Apps email and password. Google will complain if you already use this email address for a Google account, so you might need to set up a special email account to manage your Apps with. (I had to use “fangirl [at] wpfangirl.com” instead of “sallie [at] wpfangirl.com,” for instance, because I already used Google Docs as “sallie [at] wpfangirl.com.”) If you are creating this email account for the first time, you can use whatever you want. Be sure to use a strong password.
- Create your e-mail address, which is also your Google Apps login. Note that this cannot be an e-mail address that you already use for another Google account.
Fill in the rest of the information about your organization. After that you’ll see the fairly extensive terms of service. If you aren’t familiar with Google’s TOS, you should read this just to ensure you won’t be surprised by anything.
- Read the terms of service before accepting them. Google now has one TOS for all its services, but there are a few extras for Google Apps.
Unless you have a reason not to want new Google services as they become available, leave the box above the accept button checked.
Since we just want to get our mail set up right now, click “Go Express” when the prompt comes up:
I’m normally a custom setup sort of person, but since this is a long enough process, let’s go express.
Now comes the occasionally-tricky bit: verifying that you own the domain. You can watch this video to see how.
If you have FTP access to your Page.ly site (this has to be purchased separately), you can download an HTML file and upload it to your web server. Right-click on the “HTML verification file” link and save the file to your computer.
- Download the verification HTML file by right-clicking on the link and selecting “Save target as.”
Start up your FTP client and connect to Page.ly’s FTP server with the username and password provided. (You can reset this in your Atomic Hosting panel if you need to.) Follow these instructions for using FTP with Page.ly.
- Your FileZilla account for Page.ly should look like this, except with your username and password. The FTP username and password are not the same as the WordPress username and password. You can reset FTP login info from your Atomic Hosting panel.
Once you are connected, copy the Google verification file into your root directory.
- Drag the Google verification file into your root directory to upload it.
Once you are verified, you need to set up your apps.
- Use the Google Apps setup wizard to configure your mail.
For now we’ll just concentrate on the Gmail settings. If you want to check your mail from an email client (like Outlook or Mac Mail), be sure to check the “additional settings” box and select the options you need:
- If you want to use an offline mail client, be sure to check the appropriate box.
First, choose your mail servers. Since we’ve already set Namecheap up to use Google’s servers, you should select that option.
- Use Google’s servers for your Google Apps mail.
Choose the mail client you want to use and follow the directions for setup. You can ignore the prompt about Google Apps Sync. It’s not necessary, and it costs money.
- Select the mail client you want to use with your Google Apps account.
You can also set up a POP account if you prefer. (I find that when I use POP to access Google Apps, it keeps the spam out; when I use IMAP, it downloads all the spam.)
- If you prefer POP to IMAP for your offline mail, use these settings.
You should now be able to retrieve mail sent to your new [email protected] address. To add more email accounts, log into your Google Apps control panel and add users.
Whew! That’s a bit of a marathon, isn’t it? You might prefer just to pay Namecheap their fairly modest fee for email hosting. Google Apps is a useful tool, however, and Gmail has more features than the webmail clients provided by most hosting companies or domain registrars, so it’s worth persisting.