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Did you know that Gmail also offers a free SMTP server? Well, it is true, and it is a very little-known feature of Gmail, which allows you to integrate Google’s SMTP server settings with your web application(s) and server(s) you want to send outgoing emails from without having to manage your outgoing email server. Those outgoing emails are maybe part of the email marketing campaigns or transactional emails such as password reset emails, order confirmation emails, user registration emails, etc. These external SMTP services like Gmail, Elastic Email, SendGrid, and Mailgun maximize email deliverability and are considered more reliable than the emails dispatching from your cloud server.
In this article, you will learn about the procedure of integrating the Gmail SMTP Add-on on your Cloudways server using the Cloudways Platform, so follow the steps written below for quick and easy integration.
Why Use a Free Gmail SMTP Server?
Let’s delve into this question to see why one should use a free Gmail SMTP server. If you are a small business or an individual with minimal email volume, then free Gmail SMTP can be considered a good option as a daily driver for your outgoing emails. It offers several other benefits that you might want to consider:
Google infrastructure is extremely reliable, and also Gmail SMTP does not utilize port 25, which prevents spam flagging and limits your emails to get blocked from ISP.
It is also secure as it needs two-factor authentication.
It also offers the option of having Google save and index the emails you send via the Gmail SMTP server. Hence, your sent emails are backed up on Google’s servers, which means you also get detailed and searchable logs.
Please note that you can send up to 100 emails/day as per Google’s policy of sending limits if you are relaying the emails via its portable SMTP server. It also sums up to 3000 emails/month for free.
If your email volume is greater and you are looking for a reliable email gateway provider, you may also consider using an Elastic Email add-on at Cloudways, starting from as low as $0.10 for 1000 emails.
How to Configure Gmail SMTP
First of all, you need to get your Gmail SMTP credentials to be used while integrating Gmail SMTP with your Cloudways server.
Please be advised that you need a Gmail account or paid Google Apps Account to integrate SMTP. If you do not have an account and you are choosing to use Gmail as your email gateway provider, then you may create an account first before proceeding with this guide.
Step #1 — Accessing Google Account
Log in to your Google account with your login credentials. First, enter your email address and click Next.
2. Now, input your login password and click Next.
Step #2 — Enabling 2-Step Verification
Now, you need to make sure that your Google account is well protected to avoid any intervention when using the SMTP service; therefore, we recommend enabling the 2-step verification offered by Google. If you have already enabled the 2-step verification, then you may jump to Step# 3.
You may get an invalid password error in further steps when validating your email if you do not enable the 2-step verification.
How to Enable 2-Step Verification
Log in to your Google account with your login credentials.
Select Security from the left navigation bar.
3. Now, click the 2-Step Verification option from the given choices and complete the further setup.
Step #3 — Generating App Password
2. Then, select the app from the drop-down choice and choose Other (Custom name).
3. Give any name of your choice to your App password and hit Generate. In this example, we are naming this app password as Business email.
4. Once the app password is generated, you need to save it for later.
Step #4 —Configuring SMTP Service On the Server
Log in to your Cloudways Platform using your email address and password.
From the top menu bar, navigate to the Servers tab.
Then, choose your target server.
3. Next, click on the SMTP option from the left menu bar.
Step #5 — Configuring SMTP Service On Server
Now, click on this drop-down box, which prompts you to Select SMTP, so choose an option called Your Own SMTP.
Now, you will see a few more fields down after choosing the Your Own SMTP option.
Choose Other where it prompts you to choose your email gateway provider.
Enter smtp.gmail.com as your host.
Input 465 (SSL) or 587 (TLS) as SMTP port. Postfix (mail transfer agent) on the server prefers STARTTLS (port submission/587) over port 465; hence, it is recommended to use port 587.
Enter your Gmail account’s email (e.g., [email protected]) in the username field.
Enter your App password in the password field.
Finally, hit Save.
Step #5 — Verifying SMTP Configuration
Cloudways offers you the on-site functionality of testing your SMTP settings immediately after configuring the SMTP service on the server. You can verify if emails are properly dispatching from the server by sending a test email to yourself.
First, click Send Test Email.
2. Next, enter the Sender’s email address (From address).
3. Enter your email address as the recipient (To address).
4. Finally, click Send Test Email.
The sender’s email address (From address) should be that verified email for which DNS records are properly pointed. Sender’s email with no DNS authentication will mostly land in spam.
You will also get notified there once the test email is successfully sent.
Your Gmail email service has been successfully configured on your server for outgoing transactional emails.