Using External SMTP Servers for Forwarded Email with Google Apps Address

In the spirit of Documentation December at Reclaim Hosting, I’m following up on a tutorial I wrote about Sending Mail from a Forwarded Email Address through Gmail. I was having issues adding my jim@reclaimhosting.com email account to my Gmail account as a sender. I checked and double-checked my SMTP settings, but no luck. I kept recieving the error message “Authentication failed. Please check your username/password.” I was stuck in a weird authentication limbo, and according to this forum thread I was not alone.

What was worse, none of their suggested solutions worked for me. I then went to the oracle Tim Owens who noted Google requires the use of external SMTP servers for sending to additional addresses, and given we are using Google Apps servers for our Reclaim Hosting email accounts, they’re probably not be considered external. And if there is anything resembling a theme in my life these days, it is the following: Timmmmyboy was right!

I used the SMTP servers and credentials for our Mandrill email account and it worked perfectly, the credentials look something like the following.

SMTP Host: smtp.mandrillapp.com
Port: 587
Username: your@mandrill.email
Password: yourmandrillpassword

 

Reclaiming Your Addon Domains

Today’s entry in Reclaim Hosting’s #DocumentationDecember brings you a guide on how to set up and manage your addon domains! We’ll go over what an addon domain is, why it might make sense for you, and we’ll walk you through how to get an addon domain activated on your Reclaim Hosting account.

What is an addon domain?

In our documentation on how to set up and manage your subdomains, we make the analogy that owning a domain is sort of like having a piece of “territory” on the web, like a tract of “web land.” Using a subdomain (like docs.reclaimhosting.com or domains.reclaimhosting.com) is a great way to develop your land and put different kinds of property on it, but if you want more land for an entirely different purpose, an addon domain might be a better choice for you. Eventually if you have enough domains you can start building houses on them, and then if you have enough houses you can build a hotel.

Obtaining an addon domain

You can buy a new domain name directly from us through your client portal, or you can transfer a domain you have from another registrar to your Reclaim Hosting account. For this post, we’ll go over how to set up a new domain (purchased from us) first, and go over how to transfer in a domain from another registrar at the end.

Setting up your new domain

You don’t need a new Reclaim Hosting account to get another domain, and you can manage all of your domains from the same account portal. For example, let’s say you have an awesome blog that you’ve been posting to for 10 years, and you want to ride the success of your blog to new heights by opening Javatuesdays, a gourmet espresso shop. You decide you’d like to buy javatuesdays.com to commemorate the grand opening of your new shop.

To start, log-on to your Reclaim Hosting account, hover over “Domains,” and click “Register a New Domain.”

Reclaiming Your Addon Domains

Reclaiming Your Addon Domains

In this screen, simply type in the domain that you’d like to register and select a suffix (.com, .net, .org, etc) – our system will confirm that the domain is available (or not); in our case, javatuesdays.com is available, so I’ll click “continue.”

The next screen will give you a couple of options.  The first option is to purchase identity protection for your domain at a cost of $7.00. ICANN (basically the governing body of the Internet) requires you to identify yourself when you register a domain with your name, address, email, etc. Without identity protection, another Internet user can use a tool called whois to look up your information and contact you personally about products or services. Identity protection masks this information on your behalf, and if there is an issue with your domain, ICANN will contact the registrar (that’s us) and we will contact you on behalf of ICANN. Personally, I recommend the identity protection unless you are registering a domain for an Internet business and want your personally identifiable information to be “easily found.”

The second option asks if you’d like to change the nameservers for your domain. If you are hosting your website through Reclaim Hosting, you do not need to change these settings. You would only want to change your nameservers if you were hosting your website with another provider (like Squarespace) but wanted to keep your domain registered with Reclaim.

In our example, we’re hosting javatuesdays.com with Reclaim Hosting, and opted to purchase the Identity Protection. After clicking “Continue,” you can review your order and check out by putting your credit card information in the bottom right under “Payment Method.” When you’re all set, click the “Complete Order” button on the bottom. When your order is complete, you will see a link to return to your client area.

Starting up a site for your addon domain

As mentioned earlier, you don’t need a new hosting account for your new domain! Once you’re back in the Client Area, click on cpanel, and then click “addon domains.”

Reclaiming Your Addon Domains

In “addon domains,” fill in the “new domain name” field with the domain you just registered; the “subdomain” and “Document Root” fields will populate automatically. In our case, I am going to remove the “.com” from my “Document Root” folder, but that is only for my convenience, you do not need to do this.

Reclaiming Your Addon Domains

You also have the option of creating a new FTP account that has access to the content on your domain. You also do not need to do this, but you may want to if you’d like to give someone else FTP access to your site, so I am going to go ahead and set that up. Your existing FTP credentials will allow you to get access to all of your Reclaim sites, and a refresher on how to use FTP can be found here.

Once you’re done setting up your domain options, click “Continue” and wait a few seconds for your changes to process. That’s pretty much it!

Installing applications on your new domain

Once your domain is set-up, back in cpanel, you can select a featured application and install it to your new domain. For javatuesdays.com, I’d like to install WordPress, so I’ll click “WordPress” and then click “Install this application.”

On the install page, click on the drop-down menu at the top and select your new domain, then enjoy your new site!

Reclaiming Your Addon Domains

Transferring a domain from another registrar

Transferring a domain you already own is not too much different from registering a new domain, except the transfer process requires an EPP code, which is basically an agreement code obtained from your registrar that allows the registrar to release your domain. Basically, to start the process, click on “domains” in the client portal, but instead of clicking “register a new domain,” click “transfer domains to us.” You will be prompted to enter your EPP code on the same screen where we ask if you’d like to buy the identity protection. The process is pretty standard across registrars, but there are a couple of “gotchas” (these are the rules set by ICANN) to be aware of no matter what, and it’s worth noting that these rules also apply if you would like to transfer out of Reclaim Hosting (but we know it won’t come to that!):

  • If you have whois protection enabled through your registrar, you must disable it (temporarily) before you initiate the transfer. This is because we will send a confirmation of authorization email to the email address on your domain that you provided to the original registrar. (think of it like a “are you really sure you want to transfer? message)
  • You must click the confirmation link in the email we send, or you will have to start the process over!
  • Your domain must not be less than 60 days old, and you must not have previously transferred your domain in the last 60 days.
  • The domain transfer process can take up to 5 days.

Here are the transfer/EPP code instructions for some popular registrars:

Namecheap (they provide some of the most comprehensive info on this process, if you’re interested)

GoDaddy

Network Solutions

Hover

If your domain registrar doesn’t appear here, you can do a Google search for “epp code” and then the name of your registrar, and remember, if it’s helpful to you, it’s probably helpful for others, so send us a support note and we’ll feature your suggestion here!

We will confirm once your domain is transferred, and then you can follow the same directions (starting with cpanel) to set it up as an addon domain. Happy Reclaiming!

Reclaim the Portfolio

A university contacted me earlier this week to see if we had anything their faculty might be able to play with in terms of portfolio solutions. Tim Owens created the amazing State University as a demo site for anyone interested experiencing what a Domain of One’s Own package would be like. I took the opportunity to create a couple of quick tutorials and borrow a couple more to showcase how one might imagine web hosting in terms of a portfolio—Documentation December in action!. Below are the first wave of resources I created on the Reclaim Hosting site here. I plan on regularly updating this page with more focused resources given this quick quide is focused specifically on customizing WordPress after it takes you through the minute and a half it required to get an account and install WordPress. Damn we are good!
______________________

appboxKeep in mind that Reclaim Hosting is first and foremost a web hosting platform that allows students, staff, and faculty to build their digital presence online. In this regard it is by no means limited to portfolios, you can use it to create anything from course hubs to research sites to personal blogs and much more. At the same time, it provides several applications commonly used for portfolios in higher education, such as WordPress, Omeka, and Mahara to name just a few. What you get in a portfolio from Reclaim Hosting versus specific portfolio tools like Digication, Chalk & Wire, etc., is choice and possibility. You are not limited to a specific, proprietary system; you can customize your portfolio with thousands of freely available themes and plugins; and, finally, you have access to software that is popular, portable, and affordable.

In order to get a sense of how Reclaim Hosting could provide a portfolio solution for your university, we have created State University. StateU provides the opportunity to experience how getting access to a domain and web hosting would work at your school.

Screenshot 2015-12-17 14.51.19

Signing-Up at StateU

The following video will demonstrate how easy it is to get up and running with a domain and web hosting on StateU.


Continue reading “Reclaim the Portfolio”

Sending Mail from a Forwarded Email Address (Gmail)

Immediately after my last post for “Documentation December” on Forwarding Email in CPanel, I got a question about whether you can reply to messages sent to that email from the forwarded address. This is possible, and I will try and document the process with several email providers, but I’ll start with Gmail because that’s the one I use.

_______________________
In order to send email from the forwarded address mail@jimgroom.com, I need to create an email account. This is not the case if you simply want to forward that email address to another account, but if you also want to send or reply to mail with this address you need to create an account. Click on the Email Accounts link in the Email section of CPanel.

Screenshot 2015-12-16 14.49.07

At that point you need to add an email account, and below is an example of how you can fill out the fields and then create the account. Keep the email quota low because you don’t want this to be storage, you will simply be using the email settings for this account to send them through Gmail.

Screenshot 2015-12-16 14.48.43

Once the account is created you will see it listed under Email Accounts.

Screenshot 2015-12-16 14.48.16

Click on the Configure Mail Client link to get the settings you will need to add to Gmail. The settings you will need are your username, password, incoming server and SMTP port. Once you have those you are ready to head over to the Gmail account you’re forwarding this email to and go to Settings.

Screenshot 2015-12-16 14.49.30

Once in settings, go to Accounts and Import and look for the Send mail as option. Then click on Add another email address you own.

Screenshot 2015-12-16 14.50.16

At that point you will see the following pop-up window, and you can add your name and the email address you are forwarding to Gmail. This should be the same email as the account you just created.

Screenshot 2015-12-16 14.50.33

After that, add the incoming mail server/port info, your username and password. Also, be sure you choose the SSL connection.

Screenshot 2015-12-16 14.51.08

You will then be sent an email with a code that will verify the addition of this email account.

Screenshot 2015-12-16 14.51.20

After that, you will see the additional email address in the Accounts and Import tab. I recommend selecting the “Reply from the same address the message was sent to”  if you don’t want to worry about manually selecting the From field for each email you get. It’s a lot less mental overhead that way.

Screenshot 2015-12-17 09.36.10

After that, you will see the additional address available in the From: field of your Gmail account. Screenshot 2015-12-16 14.53.06

And that’s all she wrote.

Reclaim Your Email Namespace

I’ve been working on some tutorials for “Documentation December” at Reclaim Hosting. One of the simpler, albeit powerful, tools available through CPanel is Email Forwarding. This enables you to create an email address using you domain, such as mail@jimgroom.com or support@jimgroom.com, etc. You can create just about any email address you want off of your domain. What’s more, you can forward any and all mail to that address to your Gmail, Hotmail, AOL, Yahoo, etc.

Why forward mail? Shouldn’t we RECLAIM THE EMAIL!  In an ideal world, absolutely. But in reality managing your own email via CPanel is a royal pain in the culo. It’s a lot of overhead, and the spam management can take over your life. There may be a better solution in the near future, but in the meantime at least you can reclaim an email namespace like mail@jimgroom.com. And if even if there isn’t a solution in the near future to hosting email more easily, you should still be able to carry you email address seamlessly from service to service.

Anyway, here’s how….

Forwarding Your Email

Under the email section click on the Forwarders icon.

Screenshot 2015-12-15 17.11.04

Once there, click on the “Add Forwarder” button.

Screenshot 2015-12-15 17.11.32

Now you can choose your email prefix, such as mail, support, help, etc. and then add the email address you want this email to be forwarded to. The click “Add Forwarder.”
Screenshot 2015-12-15 17.12.17 After you added the Forwarder, you should double check your addresses, and you should be all set.

Screenshot 2015-12-15 17.12.49

Domain Mapping on Squarespace

Building on the domain mapping documentation I am putting together for Reclaim Hosting (my last post took you through Domain Mapping on GitHub), this post will take you through how to point your domain to Squarespace. After you connect your domain over at Squarespace (they provide a good tutorial for that process), a new panel will open providing you the records you need to enter into the Advanced DNS Editor at Reclaim Hosting so your domain can be pointed correctly to Squarespace.

Screenshot 2015-12-02 12.24.20
Advanced Zone Editor in CPanel

For Squrespace you need to create two CNAME Records and four A Records. The CNAME records appear to be used as a way to verify your account. You can see an example of the two I created below. Keep in mind the Name field for the verify.squarespace.com CNAME will be have a unique code in front of your domain. What I have listed below for the Name field will be a value Squarespace will provide.

Screenshot 2015-12-11 14.41.26
CNAME required for mapping to Squarespace

The second CNAME you create will have www.yourdomain.com in your Name field.

Screenshot 2015-12-11 14.38.15
CNAME required for mapping to Squarespace

You will then need to add four A Records pointing to four different IP address that Squarespace provides you.

Screenshot 2015-12-11 14.43.08
1 of 4 A Records required for mapping to Squarespace

Below is a look at the four A Records I created for this domain.

Screenshot 2015-12-11 16.13.53
The 4 A Records your need for mapping to Squarespace

That should be all you need to get your domain mapped to Squarespace. I have never seen a service use both CNAME and A Records (not to mention 6 all told) for one domain, I imagine  they are building in a lot of redundancy, which is not necessarily a bad thing, just a bit more work at the point of setup.

Domain Mapping on GitHub

Over the last couple of weeks a number of requests have come in at Reclaim Hosting from folks who what to map their domain (or a subdomain) on another service. I’ve been writing about domain mapping for years on the bava, and I never get tired of the magical idea of pointing your domain (or a subdomain) to another service in order to maintain your identity in relationship to a URL rather than a service. Two sites I have done this for  recently are GitHub and Squarespace, so I’ll document the process for these two and then transfer it over to Reclaim Hosting’s documentation. There are many more services you can map your domain  to including Tumblr, WordPress.com, Blogger, Wix, Google Sites, etc., but I’ll start with GitHub in this post, SquareSpace in the next, and then try and build out the rest over the next few weeks.

But first a bit about A Records vs. CNAME Records

When you are mapping aa domain on GitHub pages (or on any site really) an important concept you want to try and wrap your head around is the difference between A Records and CNAME Records. I’m getting closer to full comprehension, but a little help never hurts so I took the following definition from DNS Simple:

The A record points a name to a specific IP. For example, if you want blog.dnsimple.com to point to the server 185.31.17.133 you will configure

blog.dnsimple.com. A 185.31.17.133

The CNAME record points a name to another name, instead of an IP. The CNAME source represents an alias for the target name and inherits its entire resolution chain. Let’s take our blog as example.

blog.dnsimple.com.      CNAME	aetrion.github.io.

To summarize, an A record points a name to an IP. CNAME record can point a name to another CNAME...

It’s good practice to point domains using CNAME Records when possible because IP addresses can change, and when they do an A Record will break because it is hardcoded. You might think of CNAME Records as relative hostnames, hence the IP address can change regularly but the mapped domain will not break.

One issue is that root domains (sometimes called “zone apex” or “naked domain”) have to be setup as an A Record, not a CNAME. This means that with most DNS providers you can setup a subdomain CNAME  (blog.jimgroom.me) to point to a service like GitHub, but you cannot setup your root domain (jimgroom.me) as a CNAME. That root domain would have to be an A Record. Make sense? Good.

Mapping your Domain on GitHub

As you might have guessed from the above definitions, there are two methods for mapping a custom domain on GitHub: CNAME and A Records. You can get a good overview of how Custom Domains work on GitHub here. Mapping a subdomain using a CNAME is recommended so the domain doesn’t break if the server IP changes, which may very well happen. That said, we understand sometimes you just need that root domain mapped, so an A Record is nice and will suffice.

Mapping your Root Domain with A Records

For this example I’ll be mapping the root domain jimgroom.me onto a Github page. In terms of getting your Github pages setup for this see GitHub’s “Setting Up a Custom Domain with GitHub Pages.”

First you need to find the Advanced Zone Editor under the Domains section in CPanel.

Screenshot 2015-12-02 12.24.20

After that you need to choose the root domain you will be mapping. In the example screenshot below you’ll see I have several, but you may only have one which would be the default.
Screenshot 2015-12-02 12.24.30

Once you select the domain you need to create two A Records for it using the below screenshot as a template, through the Name will obviously be different depending on the root domain you are mapping. The two a Records will point to the following IP addresses on GitHub: 192.30.252.153 and 192.30.252.154.  You need to create a separate A Record for each of these IPs.

Screenshot 2015-12-02 12.26.31

Once you have created both A Records in the Advanced DNS Zone Editor you should be all set. GitHub has their own documentation with “Tips for Configuring an A Record with Your DNS Provider” that might also be useful. If you are having any issue see GitHub’s “My Custom Domain Isn’t Working” or contact us.

Mapping your Subdomain with CNAME Records

For this example I’ll be mapping the subdomain blog.jimgroom.com onto a GitHub Pages Repository using a CNAME Record. Head to Advanced DNS Settings.

Screenshot 2015-12-02 12.24.20

Once there, select the domain you will be mapping to if you have more than one.

Screenshot 2015-12-10 01.35.15

Now you name to add a CNAME Record with the subdomain you are mapping in the Name field and the URL of your GitHub account in the CNAME field.Screenshot 2015-12-10 01.35.08

After that you should be set. I found even if your repository is jimgroom.github.io/blog like mine is in this instance, you only need jimgroom.githib.io in the CNAME field.

GitHub provides a page with “Tips for configuring a CNAME record with your DNS provider” if you need more help, or feel free to contact us at Reclaim Hosting.