Late last week Google announced that it would no longer offer it's free Google Apps accounts. If you already had one then there is no reason to worry -- you are grandfathered in. However, those who want to sign up for a new account will now have to pay a fee. Prices begin at $5 per user per month and go up from there, although a free trial is available. Why is this important? Well, if you are setting up a new domain then you are likely to want a custom email address such as "[email protected]".
There are alternatives such as Microsoft's Live Domains, but nothing works quite as well as Google Apps in my opinion. Thankfully, it isn't too late to grab that free account. There is, in fact, a way to work around these new restrictions.
Before you get started you will need a Gmail account, which is free. Once that minor detail is taken care of then you can head over to AppEngine to set up your Google Apps account.
You will have to verify by entering a code that Google will send to you via a text message. Now, open the "Dashboard" and on the next screen click on the link that says "Application Settings". Scroll down and choose "Add Domain" to associate your domain with the AppEngine application you have created.
Following these steps will allow you to get access to a special link that still allows for a free account with Google Apps. This will supposedly add access for one user, but there are reports floating around that additional users can be added.
It's not clear how long this will remain available so I would recommend signing up sooner rather than later. Hopefully Google will keep this available for the foreseeable future. If not, then it may be time to move on to Microsoft.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.