Using Gmail to Fight SPAM
Nearly everyone who uses the Internet will have a Google Account.
Google+ is growing, Gmail is fabulous, and who doesn’t watch a YouTube video now and then?
What you may not have known is that if you’ve got a Google account, you’ve got a Gmail address, and if you’ve got a Gmail address, you can use that to fight SPAM you receive on other email addresses, even if they’re non-Goog in nature.
Getting Your Gmail Address
The first step in the process is to login to your Gmail account. Pretty simple stuff, just visit gmail.com and sign in or sign up.
Routing Other Email Addresses through Gmail
Now that you’re all logged in, you can make it so outside addresses like firstname.lastname@example.org can be accessed directly through Google. Once you’ve done this, you can then access these addresses via Gmail itself, one of their apps for your phone (iPhone or Android), or you can use any other email client you’d like (ie, Outlook, Thunderbird, Apple Mail, your iPhone’s built in Mail app, etc.)
Once you’re in your own email@example.com account though, here’s what to do:
- Look for the gear icon near the top right of the page, this is your “Settings” button. Give it a click.
- Choose the Settings item in the list that appears.
- Choose the Accounts and Import tab.
- Click Add another email address.
- An ugly yellow, “old school Google” window will popup. Try not to go blind with the lack of flare here. You may need to disable popups. Or rent a computer from 1997 that can handle tables. Anyway, moving forward is pretty self-explanatory. Type in your name if it’s not already filled in, and the email address you want to use (you need to already have created this address and have access to it via some other means).
- Click Next Step and Google will walk you through the process.
Bam! It’s as easy as those 6 steps plus the other few the big G will spell out for you.
Once you’ve done this, you can now send and receive email from this address via Gmail.com and their associated mobile apps.
Get Your Email in Another Email Client
Okay so first, why would you want to do this? Gmail’s interface is available anywhere there’s a computer, and is miles above and beyond Outlook, Apple Mail and Thunderbird as far as usability, so I’d urge you to give it a try…but if you don’t give a ratatouille about my opinions, or you’re just fixated on waiting for Outlook to load every day, I’ll give you a little insight on how you can get the various settings you need to get up and running.
Nearly every email client will need specific information to allow it to download your incoming messages and send new ones with your address. Back in the settings area of Gmail, click on Forwarding and POP/IMAP.
You can setup a forwarder if you’d like, but this has nothing to do with this little walk through, and if you want to be able to send email from this address, don’t enter the firstname.lastname@example.org address you’re working with here.
Skip over the POP section, that’s like driving a race car with wooden wagon wheels. What we want is IMAP. Click either of the two Configuration instructions if you want Google to explain to you why you want IMAP over POP.
In the IMAP area, just make sure IMAP is enabled.
And Auto-expunge on is ticked. This will keep your messages up to date on all of your devices.
And I can’t see any reason why you’d want to limit the size of IMAP folders, so make sure and tick Do not limit the number of messages in an IMAP folder.
All of that should actually be the default settings, so you’re in luck.
Setting Up Specific Email Clients
Google provides up to date instructions for various email clients here.
Note that unless you know you have Google Apps, don’t worry about that info. “Google Apps” does not refer to apps on your mobile phone, but rather their suite of apps aimed at businesses.
Why Would I Want to Do This?
No hosting provider (the guys who also typically manage your email) is going to be able to afford the same level of SPAM protection as Gmail. They’ve been at it a long time, and they’re absolutely amazing at it. You’ll immediately see a massive drop in SPAM, and though not everything can be caught, I maybe see one or two SPAM messages a month and I have several email addresses all routing to one account, all of which are written in plain text all over the web.