Gmail at DreamHost

Gmail at DreamHost

DreamHost has just enabled an option to use Google’s Gmail for email on domains hosted with DreamHost. The new option is available in the Control Panel under Mail – Custom MX / Gmail.

If you move your email to Gmail you will get:

  • Gmail’s renowned interface as your webmail, but at
  • POP3/IMAP/SMTP access (as before), but now using Google’s servers
  • Awesome performance, reliability and spam filtering
  • The option to add your own logo to the Gmail web interface

You can also chose to setup subdomains for Google’s calendar, docs, sites and start.

You will normally still use DreamHost for everything besides email, but you can even change your domain to use for its main website, which would actually imply that you no longer would be using DreamHost for any services.

I would love to hear some feedback in the comments, if you already have switched your mail to Gmail.

22 Responses to “Gmail at DreamHost”

  1. Sean says:

    I moved my mail for my main domain (which is hosted by Dreamhost) to Google Apps late last year, after one too many DH mail outages. I’ve been extremely happy with it, and sorry that I didn’t do it sooner. I didn’t use the new feature (obviously) — I just manually entered the MX records, and set up a convenience redirect for a hostname in the domain to point to the Gmail URL.

    In the interests of full disclosure, I am a Google employee. However, the reason I moved over was that I wanted more reliability for my mail than I was getting with Dreamhost, and I’ve been satisfied on that count. Of course, if Dreamhost’s DNS gets hosed (which has happened at least once that I can remember), mail will still be broken, so it’s not a perfect solution…

  2. Paul says:

    I have one domain doing that at the moment, and am considering it for a few others. Has anybody upgraded from a manual switch to using this automated version? If I don’t hear soonish I’ll let you know how it goes :)

  3. Tristan says:

    I also moved one of my domains in August of last year. I manually did it via MX records, but that was pretty simple. Google had instructions for getting everything switched correctly. The change has been great and I don’t really see reasons not to do other (unless you’re afraid of Google reading your mail).

  4. levhita says:

    I always host the mail at Google, mainly because of the GUI. But also because of the spam filter.

    Plus I got email on blackberrys, mobile phones, palms, pockets, etc..that I can’t have as simply(point to gmail mobile in the web browser is pretty simple) with dreamhost.

    Anyway the mixed techine of mail there and wordpresses here works just great. Best of two worlds!!

  5. Ian Neubert says:

    I’ve been forwarding my mail at my domain to gmail for years. After I saw that I could move the whole thing to gmail I started the processes immedieatly.

    Unfortunately I found that you can’t import all of your current email in from another gmail account. So this doesn’t work if you are already using gmail on your account. :( Doh!

  6. Nico says:

    So far, so good. I just switched using the new feature after reading this post. I can’t access it through yet (dns hasn’t propagated yet), but the MX records have been updated.

    I guess now I’d like to consolidate my dreamhost mail with my other gmail account. Does anyone have a best practice advice to that regard?

  7. acedanger says:

    This is awesome. I’ve been doing this for a long time now. I wish this auto-setup would have been around when I set all this up. :D I would highly recommend this just for the spam filter alone!

  8. Daniel Drucker says:

    I’ve actually refrained from doing this because I have a custom spamassassin setup at Dreamhost that catches *far* more spam than my gmail account (which I use for work-related mail) does. At Dreamhost, I get ~600 spams a day, of which spamassassin catches 598 or so. At gmail, I get ~200 spams a day, and 20 of them end up in my inbox!

  9. Nico says:

    Uh-oh, I just noticed that I now seem to have lost my old mail. I should’ve thought about this earlier. Does anyone know if the old mail is still available somehow?

  10. Tim says:

    Questions …

    1. How do Dreamhost “Forwarding-Only Addresses” work. I have email address like that are “deleted without bounce”. Will those email accounts also be migrated, created?

    2. What happens to my old email on Dreamhost once I switch over to Gmail. Does it get imported into Gmail?

    3. I have a PHP application on my dreamhost domain, now when I send an email from my PHP application – will it be flagged as spam since it will be sent from a non-Gmail (Dreamhost) SMTP server?

  11. Life Tester says:

    long time ago I made the switch, Gmail works like a charm :-)

    @tim: 3. you can create a custom SPF for your domain allowing dreamhost to send emails in your behalf (= less chance to be flagged as spam)

  12. denitu says:

    I made the switch from regular Gmail to using Google Apps with my domain hosted by Dreamhost late in 2007. It’s worked great since moving across.

    Google’s instructions for setting up with Dreamhost were easy to follow. It’s worth doing, in my view. Being able to use IMAP with Thunderbird – and the Gmail mobile interface – has been a good timesaver.

  13. TorbenGB says:

    Some answers:


    You can transfer mails semi-manually from Dreamhost or from Gmail to the new Google Apps Gmail like this:

    1) set up Outlook (or Outlook Express, or any other local IMAP mail software) to read IMAP mail from your old mail account. Both Gmail and DH allows this, but you have to turn it on for Gmail yourself (Gmail:Settings).

    2) Set up Outlook to read IMAP mail on your now Google Apps Gmail account.

    3) In Outlook, drag-and-drop folders from the old account to your new account.

    Result: Each folder you drop into Gmail will become a new label if it does not already exist. Speical folders like “Sent items” are stored in the IMAP subfolder “[Gmail\]“.

    Like Levhita, I also switched from DH to Gmail years ago because of the better interface and the MUCH better spamfilter. Since then I have migrated my old mail into Gmail, and then my Gmail mails into the new Google Apps Gmail.

    Google Apps Gmail is truly excellent, because you get a solid interface, available from anywhere, and a solid spam filter.

    @Daniel Drucker:
    I’m surprised your Gmail spam filter is so poor. I also tried several approaches with custom spam-assasin at DH, but nothing worked as well as Gmail.

    I have set up my Gmail manually, not with the now MX settings, on “gmail.–”. That way, I still have access to my old DH mail at “mail.–” and “webmail.–”

  14. Matt says:

    I was initially excited by this, but was turned off by having to manually re-create 40 users’ email accounts on the Gmail side – it’s not as automated as I originally hoped.

  15. Lyndon says:

    I am using Google Apps for my mail and calendar. I also manually applied the necessary changes to have GTalk use my domain effectively. I am not sure how that might interfere with anyone hosting their own Jabber server, but it might be another short cut you provide.

  16. Unofficial DreamHost Blog says:

    I’m overwhelmed with the response to this post. It Seems that almost everybody is very satisfied with using Gmail for your email.

    @Daniel Drucker:
    I’m very interested in hearing more about your custom SpamAssassin setup. I’m using the default setup and I’m still seeing about 50% of my spam. Maybe I could convince you to write a guest article?

    Did you get your problem solved? I guess you can’t access your old email account because you changed the DNS. You can probably use [randy] instead of to access your email.

  17. Guy says:

    I enabled this on a client’s new domain and it worked fine. However be warned that the DH Formmail no longer works with the GMail addresses as the email address is not hosted at DH- so I had to switch it back to the normal DH email.

  18. sdayman says:

    I set one of my domains to use the full automated Gmail hosting setup, but when I go to, it’s redirected to

    Is this how it’s working for the rest of you? It’s sure disappointing that it’s not retaining my domain in the URL, like a CNAME.

  19. Tim says:


    Yes, that’s correct. I assume Google does that so that you don’t have to purchase an SSL certificate to run Gmail over https

  20. Doug says:

    Does anyone else find it strange that the default setting now for new user accounts is to use Gmail for email at Dreamhost.

  21. Unofficial DreamHost Blog says:

    Doug – I was very surprised too.

    As Aaron Wall ( puts it:

    Not only are dumb companies buying into the everything Google strategy, but even some semi-intelligent ones are. After logging into Dreamhost recently I was shocked to see them integrating Google apps and email on all customer domains. What happens if/when Google buys GoDaddy? How does Dreamhost compete when Google gives away hosting as a loss leader?

  22. M. Lurig says:

    Mail is a MASSIVE drain on their resources at dreamhost. Moving email to google not only improves the overall mail service, but reduces load on dreamhost clusters, improving the service in the way we most care about: hosting and serving webpages.
    I’m thrilled the option is there.