Best Spam Blocker For Your Business Email: Google (Gmail)
What is the best way to block spam? The answer is certainly Google/Gmail! If you already have a gmail account you know how good
the spam blocking is. But what if you have a business email account such as firstname.lastname@example.org and you start getting lots of
spam? There are plenty of advanced and complicated spam-blocking technologies out there; some hardware, some software, and some a
combination of both. Most of them are too complicated and too expensive for small and medium-sized companies, and they're not as
good as Google in any case. But what if you
could use Google's world-class spam blocking abilities for your business email accounts? Good news: you can!
First, let me explore the "free" gmail option for a moment, and tell you why it's not that great. If you have a gmail account you can go into your settings and set it up to pull in emails from your business account. Or you can set up your business email to forward to your gmail account. These approaches will work, but they have a tragic flaw: it's not a seamless REPLY experience. If somone emails your business email account and you hit reply, you're either going to end up replying from your Gmail account, or jump through hoops to make it appear as though you had replied from the actual business email. I'm sure you'd agree it looks a little unprofessional if you were to send an email to email@example.com, and when the reply comes back it's from firstname.lastname@example.org. Right? When I see something like this I assume the business isn't a real business, but some lady making my order in her kitchen while the kids are watching cartoons. So you really don't want to jeopardize the professional facade of your business by mixing in personal email accounts.
WARNING: Setting all this up requires tweaking MX records on your business email's control panel. If you're an IT expert the steps below should be pretty easy, but otherwise you're going to become terrified in just a moment. To avoid terror, we'll set it all up for you for $200. If you're comfortable with the techie stuff below, by all means do it yourself. Here's how:
The solution I found to this problem is Google Apps For Work. I run a custom software shop and experimented with different spam blocking approaches, but gave up on all but this. With GAFW you can use your custom business email account, but route all emails through Google's spam blocking engine. At the time of this writing (2015-JAN-12) their price is $5 per month. For me that is well worth it. I have been doing this for awhile now and haven't received a single spam, yet legit emails are coming through just fine. It's really awesome. Here's how it's done:
First, sign up for Google Apps For Work. Create your account, enter your business email address, etc. Note: You can only do 1 business email address per Google Apps account, as far as I know. Now log in to your email control panel. Mine is BlueHost. Yours may be Godaddy, or whatever. Screenshots below should be applicable to any cPanel host. Locate your DNS Zone Editor (or similar):
Click that option. I have multiple domains linked to my BlueHost account, so at this point I'm required to choose the domain of my business email. In my fictitious example of email@example.com, the domain is yummycookies.com. So choose it.
Once in there, scroll down to the section with your MX Records. If you don't have any, that's ok. Add (or modify) MX Records to EXACTLY match the following screenshot:
After hitting SAVE, you're all done with the cPanel updates. At this point it's time to modify your email client/program. I like to use Windows Live Mail, but the steps will be similar for Outlook, other mail clients, web mail, etc. Set up your settings as follows:
Note: In the Email username box above you should simply enter your business email address. The password will be the same password you created for your Google Apps account.
After you have saved all your settings, you're all done. Test your new email setup, make sure you can both send and receive emails. And say goodbye to spam forever.
Zero Gravity Programming