G-mail vs G-suite

October 6, 2019

This is a quick recap why I chose to use G-Suite instead of free G-Mail account or other e-mail services.

First, I had to ask myself if I want to have professional e-mail address or not. Sure, I can setup G-Mail, Yahoo, Seznam e-mail in no time, but how does it look when the e-mail comes from free services that provide zero guarantee? Yes, you can lose any e-mail any time, nothing guaranteed. After all, it’s free right? So, having my own domain and proper e-mail address was a choice number one.

Once I had a domain name registered, I could opt-out for e-mail services from domain registrator (sometime host provider), but these usually run on Roundcube (PHP) web app using IMAP protocol. Although this app is using AJAX and can be reasonably user friendly, sometimes it lags a lot and still does not compare to G-Mail or Outlook experience. So I thought, I would be better off using my desktop client or mobile app, but I looked further. 

I looked at ProtonMail, which I helped translated in the past, a great service from Switzerland that provides built-in end-to-end encryption. (they provide VPN too). The pricing for e-mail services is however nearly the same as a complete G-Suite that provides additional services / apps. So, if I have to pay, I want to get as much as possible for my money and I looked furhter again.

I also considered Office 365, but since I work with it at most of the businesses, I decided to give Google a chance. Plus, it is nice to refresh the knowledge from the Google world too and stay up to date. 

When I first used G-Suite (in the past), it was branded Google Apps and it was free for business. However, these times are gone and they offer only paid opition. So, I knew I will go for the paid version (named G-Suite) unless there is a way to use Google services for free. 

Sure there is, but read before you try. To keep using only my personal free G-Mail account, I would setup all incoming e-mail redirect from my domain’s mailserver (@company.com) to my personal G-Mail address (@gmail.com). I would then add “send-mail-as” into my personal G-Mail account to allow me sending e-mails from my domain but directly from my personal G-Mail interface. This way I could use free G-Mail and Google Apps like I normally do, for free and with my professional e-mail address.

However, there is a catch. Since I send e-mails from my G-Mail account, the e-mail does not go back to my company domain mailserver (servered by Roundcube app), but it is sent directly from my personal G-Mail account (@gmail.com address) to the recipient. That creates two problems:

  1. My customers might see my personal G-Mail address instead of my professional one with the correct domain (this happens when they use Outlook clients, when you set OutOfOffice and other instances). Basically there is no guarantee they will see the correct e-mail address in the “from” section. They could see something like this:
    ‘From yourname@gmail.com on behalf of othername@otherdomain.com’.
    In other cases, these e-mails can easily fall into their spam folder. Gmail servers won’t be in DNS records as authorised sender and forget about newsletters and other e-mail marketing. 
  2. The sent e-mails are held only in my personal G-Mail account, but you won’t find them in the original mail server from where I redirected my mail address to my G-Mail. Roundcube web app will show only incoming (if I ticked “keep copy when redirect”) but not outgoing. This can become a problem if I need to share access to those e-mails, sell the business and also in case of ownership disputes. 

But, that’s not all. If I deside to use personal G-Mail accounts for my business and take advantage of other apps like Drive / Docs / Sheets, they all essentially reside in this personal account and any access has to be shared “publicly” with other users. This means that the ownership of data is not held in my business, but is distributed to other users/owners of those free G-Mail accounts. Getting access to those e-mails/files is left with their merci.

Not to mention the migration/permission mess when I would have multiple users with personal accounts and wanted to migrate them into one G-Suite. Each account has to be migrated manually/separately and permissions recreated. 

Therefore, it is better to “measure twice and cut once” and pay few dollars for G-Suite right from the beginning. 

What services do you like to use? Get in touch with me via LinkedIn or leave me a mail.