To Google Apps and Back

I’m just in the process of migrating my Gmail back to the free service from the paid Google Apps service. Why did I setup Google Apps to begin with?
Answer:

  • To see what features it has
  • To see how easy it is to setup
  • To see what advantages it has over standard Gmail
  • To indulge my curiosity

I have my own domain for my email “gavowen.com” for sites that don’t allow “@gmail.com” addresses (mostly e-commerce sites – strange I know!) When I upgraded my iPhone to a 5S, I saw that I could no-longer get the push email using the Exchange client in the iPhone. This had been grandfathered and would no longer be supported for the free Gmail service (even though Apple iCloud does push – the competition has one-upped Google on this now).

I wanted to keep this functionality, and I also believed (at the time) that I needed to setup Google Apps in order to send from a @gavowen.com address. After I setup Google Apps I realised this was not the case (and really was my primary reason for setting it up!)

 

DNS Changes

This is what I had to do to setup Google Apps with my gavowen.com zone:

CNAMES

calendar ghs.googlehosted.com 14400
docs ghs.googlehosted.com 14400
sites ghs.googlehosted.com 14400
mail ghs.googlehosted.com 14400

Although not strictly necessary, they make for nice logins for email which would now be customised as “mail.gavowen.com”. Likewise for the other features of docs, calendar and sites.

MX

1 @ aspmx.l.google.com 14400
5 @ alt1.aspmx.l.google.com 14400
5 @ alt2.aspmx.l.google.com 14400
10 @ aspmx2.googlemail.com 14400
10 @ aspmx3.googlemail.com 14400

This gives the primary and backup mail exchanges for Google Apps

TXT

_domainkey o=~ 14400
@ google-site-verification=FX4zlpoBR3ZTOPH6GLnNoPx3skkPuuvDT0kKD21QJqg 14400
@ v=spf1 include:_spf.google.com ~all 14400

The above is for email security

SRV

_xmpp-server _tcp 5 0 5269 xmpp-server.l.google.com 14400
_xmpp-server _tcp 20 0 5269 alt1.xmpp-server.l.google.com 14400
_xmpp-server _tcp 20 0 5269 alt2.xmpp-server.l.google.com 14400
_xmpp-server _tcp 20 0 5269 alt3.xmpp-server.l.google.com 14400
_xmpp-server _tcp 20 0 5269 alt4.xmpp-server.l.google.com 14400

These are to aid Google Chat that uses XMPP protocol.

 

Chat Client

Speaking of chat client, Pigeon didn’t work for me until I set “Require encryption” and set the Connect server to the following:

talk.google.com     on port 5222

 

Migrating Email

I used the very convoluted Google method for migrating all my Gmail email to Google Apps.  This doesn’t do contacts and calendars – you have to do those manually yourself!

If you are struggling with the csv file format for the migration the see here:
userlist.csv
<gmail address>#<old password>, <google apps email address>

It’s just one line per account. Don’t inclue the ‘<‘ and ‘>’

In future I think I’ll pay money and use this service: https://www.migrationapp.com/ which I used that to migrate back to Gmail and it was very hassle free, and did calendaring and contacts as well!

 

Why leave Google Apps?

Well besides the money factor, I ran into a snag – I wanted to set up youtube but couldn’t. After many hours of frustration I logged a tech support ticket.  Here’s what I got back:

Thank you for your message. I understand that you are trying to enable the Youtube service on your domain gavowen.com.I have investigated this for you and have found that the Youtube for Business service is currently not available on your Google Apps for Business account. The reason that it is not available is because your default country was selected as Angola when you initially set up your account. The Youtube for Business service has not yet been released in Angola and as a result is not available to enable on your Admin console.

There is currently no way in which you can change your default country in your Admin console. To do this you would need to delete your Google Apps for Business account and set it up again using a different Default country. If you do follow this method you will also need to migrate the data you require away from your Apps account as once you delete this your data will be completely removed from the system.

Yes – when I set up my Google Apps I chose the Angola and Not Australia. Hmmm don’t know what happened there! Must have been a PEBKAC issue! Still it’s a paid they couldn’t change it – so had to back out.I don’t think I’ll re-register Google Apps. I’ve had a poke around. Besides 30gigs instead of 15 and push email, I didn’t see any other benefits. I’ll stick with the free Gmail. I use the great “Mailbox” iphone app now to manage my mobile email anyways.

Still it was fun.

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