Forwarding email addresses in your domain

Once you have purchased a domain, you probably want to set up at least a catch-all account so that email sent to addresses at that domain come to you.

Step 1: Choosing email addresses

Even if you want individual email addresses on your domain, you probably want to set up role-based email addresses that can be forwarded to one or more people, and can change over time as different people step into and out of the roles.  Some examples I’ve found to be useful: info@, accounting@, billing@, and the long-standing catch-all account postmaster@ (this is where email software will send bounced email and other things).  As a best practice, you should also add an address for abuse@.  One important reason to have a catch-all account (where email goes when there is not a specific address match) is to catch mis-spellings of valid email addresses.  When you get them as postmaster, you can then set up an alias with the mis-spelling that forwards to the correct spelling, or just send a reply telling the sender to correct the spelling.

You can also set up individual email addresses for people who are affiliated with the project.  You may want to pick a standard scheme, such as firstname.lastname@organization (russell.taylor@reliasolve.com).  This will let people figure out where to send things if they know one person’s email address.  You can also add additional forwards for whatever you’d like (russ@reliasolve.com) that forward to the standard email address.  Note: It can be helpful to have only one of the addresses for each person actually forward outside the organization, so that you only have one thing to change if they want email forwarded to a different address.

Step 2: Setting up forwards

How you set up forwards depends on which domain-name service provider you are using.  Many providers make it easy to set up simple email forwards, and they often include some number of free forwards as part of your domain package.  This document will describe how to set up forwards for domains purchased through Google Domains, because that was the one described in the post on setting up domains.

First, sign on to your Google Domains account using the login and password you created when you purchased the domain.

  • Click on the name of the domain in the table that shows up under the My domains menu item (which is probably the default).
  • Click on the email icon along the top, which will turn into Add email when you hover over it.
  • Add a new entry into the table of forwards at the bottom of the page, starting with one with the name * (for the wild-card address, which will forward all mail that goes to an address not specified in any other rule).  I used this to forward all email to anything@hack4missions.net to one of my existing email addresses.  Then click the Add button.  This may send a verification email to the address.

Go ahead and have someone else send a test email to that address to make sure it works (Google sometimes squashes emails sent by you to another alias that points back to you, which is a feature that drives me crazy and cannot be turned off.  When this happens, I think I’ve mis-configured email forwards when in fact they are working normally.)