A G Suite administrator may choose to add a domain as an alias, a secondary domain, or a separate account entirely.
A name change, a distinctly branded program or company, or an acquisition could cause the need to associate more than a single domain with G Suite. Organization-wide access to G Suite’s collaborative tools can streamline collaboration both within and across domains.
Fortunately, G Suite gives administrators at least three distinct ways to handle multiple domains: As an alias, as an additional domain, or as an entirely distinct account. The first two domain options let a G Suite administrator add one or more domains within the context of an existing G Suite setup. The third option—a separate G Suite account for a different domain—may also make sense in certain circumstances. See the details below as you choose among these three options.
In every case, you’ll need G Suite administrator access to the admin console for your domain. You’ll also need administrative access to the domain name system (DNS) settings for each domain. Often, you configure DNS settings at the same service where you registered your domain. For example, Google Domains allows you to register domains and manage DNS details for those domains.
Author’s note: After you complete the steps in your selected G Suite domain setup alternative, continue to the “Complete your configuration” section below.
SEE: G Suite: Tips and tricks for business professionals (TechRepublic download)
How to add a domain alias in G Suite
When you add a domain or subdomain as a domain alias in G Suite, you give every account the ability to send or receive email with either the organization’s primary domain or the added alias domain. This is most helpful when you want email sent to people at either address to deliver to the same account.
For example, to my main domain of wolberworks.com, I could add exampleorganization.com as a domain alias. This would let everyone in the wolberworks.com domain also send and receive email with an exampleorganization.com address (e.g., email to either firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com would arrive in my G Suite account).
To add a domain alias:
1. Sign in as a G Suite administrator.
2. Select Domains, choose Manage Domains, then select Add A Domain Or A Domain Alias (Figure A).
3. Make sure the Add A Domain Alias Of [yourdomain] button is selected.
4. In the Enter A Domain Alias box, enter the domain or subdomain you want to enter as an alias, then select the Continue And Verify Domain Ownership button (Figure B).
How to add an additional or secondary domain in G Suite
When you add a domain as an additional or secondary domain, you gain the ability to add a new G Suite account with an address at either your organization’s primary domain or the secondary domain. A secondary domain may be helpful when you wish to manage accounts with distinct domains, but within the same G Suite administrative setting.
For example, to my main domain of wolberworks.com, I could add exampleorganization.com as a secondary domain. When I added a new G Suite account, I could choose whether that account would receive an email address of either firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. As the G Suite administrator, I would choose the domain to use when I created the new account.
Note: G Suite settings for your domain apply to all accounts, regardless of the different domains. If you want to manage settings for groups of accounts, you’ll need to create organizational units. For more details, see the”How to create and manage an organizational unit” section in How to manage intern accounts with G Suite.
To add an additional (secondary domain):
1. Sign in as a G Suite administrator.
2. Select Domains, choose Manage Domains, then select Add A Domain Or A Domain Alias (Figure C).
3. Make sure the Add Another Domain button is selected.
4. In the Enter A Domain Name box, enter the domain or subdomain you want to enter as an alias, then select the Continue And Verify Domain Ownership button.
How to create a different account in G Suite
For the greatest separation of data, an administrator could choose to sign up for a new G Suite account with a different domain. This would include setting up new payment methods as well. This approach may make sense when you need clear delineation between one organization and another for legal, operational, political, or security reasons, among others.
As with the examples above, this would mean you could sign out of one G Suite account (e.g., my wolberworks.com account), then go to gsuite.google.com and select Get Started to configure a trial account. Another way to do this would be from within Google Domains, as show in (Figure D). Select Manage next to a domain, then scroll down the page and select Get G Suite.
How to complete your configuration: Verify ownership and configure mail routing
You’ll need to verify ownership and modify mail exchange (MX) records for any domain you choose to use with G Suite, regardless of whether you added a domain alias, a secondary domain, or an entirely separate G Suite setup. Google provides detailed instructions to help you verify your domain for many domain hosts, as well as general domain verification instructions.
Verification proves you have administrative control over the domain’s DNS records. Following verification, you may then modify your domain’s MX records to point to Google’s servers. This step allows email to route properly to your domain via Google’s systems. After all these steps are completed, you may still need to wait a bit (up to 24-48 hours) for mail to flow to your domain.
What’s your experience?
If you use multiple domains in G Suite, what prompted you to configure your domains as either an added alias or a secondary domain? Or, if you chose to set up an entirely different G Suite account, why did you do so? Let me know how your organization chooses to manage multiple G Suite domains, either in the comments below or on Twitter (@awolber).
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