How to Set up a Custom Domain Email on Gmail for Free 2023

Last Updated: 1 Jan, 2023

Despite having custom domains, many small businesses, medium-sized companies, or independent professionals often resort to Gmail or other free email services for client communication. The aim is primarily to cut costs, but this approach can compromise their professional image.

In fact, you can use a custom domain email address even with a free Gmail account. For example, with a custom domain of, my website has been configured to send and receive emails through the custom domain email at no cost.

I set up this custom domain email in 2020 and reconfigured it in Gmail in 2023. The entire process is simple and can be accomplished within minutes.

Before getting started with Gmail’s custom domain email setup, ensure you have the following in place:

  1. Your own registered domain.
  2. A registered free Gmail account.
  3. Two-step verification enabled on Gmail.

Step 1: Configure Automatic Email Forwarding

Many domain providers offer services for automatic email forwarding. You can set up an email address like “XXX@yourdomainname” and forward all incoming emails to your Gmail account. For instance, with Namecheap (the service I use), the setup interface looks like this:

namecheap forward email How to Set up a Custom Domain Email on Gmail for Free 2023
Many established domain service providers typically offer free email forwarding capabilities.。Image:namecheap

Once you’ve completed these steps, you’ll be able to receive emails using your newly set up custom domain email address. However, at this stage, you won’t be able to send emails from it.

Step 2: Add the New Email Address to Gmail

Next, integrate the custom domain email into your free Gmail account. Firstly, you’ll need to generate App Passwords, a feature available only to Google accounts with enabled two-step verification.

  1. Navigate to your Google account settings and click on “Security.”
  2. Under the “Signing in to Google” section, select “App Passwords.”
  3. Generate a password and keep a secure backup.

App Passwords are temporary passwords that authorize third-party programs to access your Google account. It’s unrelated to the regular login credentials of your Google account. With your App Password, you can proceed to the next setup step.

2020 10 01 上午1.13.33 How to Set up a Custom Domain Email on Gmail for Free 2023
App Passwords可用作授權程式連結Gmail賬戶,日常情況並不常用。圖:Google
  1. Access the Gmail settings page.
  2. Under the “Account and Import” section, select “Add another email address.”
  3. Set up the name and email address for outgoing mail, making sure to deselect “Treat as an alias.”
  4. Configure the SMTP Server as; your Username is your Gmail email address, and the Password is the App Password you just obtained.
  5. You’ll then receive a verification email from Gmail. Follow the instructions in the email to confirm the link.
Gmail add another account How to Set up a Custom Domain Email on Gmail for Free 2023
Gmail add another account2 How to Set up a Custom Domain Email on Gmail for Free 2023

After this setup, you’ll be able to send and receive emails using the custom domain email address within the Gmail interface.

Whenever you compose an email, you can select the sender’s identity. If needed, you can set your custom domain email address as the default email for the account in Gmail’s settings. Don’t forget to add a DMARC record to your email domain so that your emails look more credible.

However, the free version of Gmail only provides 15GB of storage space. If this proves insufficient, you might eventually need to upgrade to Google One cloud storage or Google Workspace.

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