I use Namecheap for domain name registrations and managing DNS settings. It’s easy to use and has a one-click Google Apps setup (MX records only, not subdomains, DKIM, SPF, or SRV settings for Google Apps). Following are the quick-and-dirty advanced settings to really get the most out of your Google Apps setup. Screenshots are from each linked Google help pages or Namecheap’s DNS records manager screen.
Setup your MX records to start using GMail at your domain name
MX records for Google Apps instructions are available here. This is THE most important part of your settings.
Authenticate emails with DKIM and SPF records
Generate a DKIM (DomainKey Identified Mail) record by following these instructions. Don’t forget to click the Start authentication button after your DNS records resolve.
Create an SPF record by following these instructions.
Test your Email settings
Once you enable GMail, add DKIM and SPF records, and click the “Start authentication” button under the DKIM settings (you’ll then see a green check mark), you’ll want to test that your settings are working properly by using the Mail-Tester.com website. You send an email to the unique email address they provide, click to check your score, and, if you’ve setup everything properly, you’ll get a score of 10 out of 10.
Enable GChat with users outside your domain
Unrelated to email settings, you need to setup your DNS SRV records if you want to enable chatting with other Google Chat users with email addresses outside of your Google Apps domain (like @gmail.com, @yourfriendsbusiness.com, etc.). Enable chat outside Google Apps by following these instructions.
Each DNS Manager might need slightly different settings (e.g. do or do not include the domain name, like Google shows to do). For example, at Namecheap, SRV records should NOT include the domain name in the PROTOCOL column.
Once setup, you can verify SRV record settings at Olark (even if you don’t want to use Olark’s products). You’ll notice their tool checks for additional SRV records that are available but unnecessary (e.g. _xmpp-client and _jabber) but might be needed for additional integrations (like setting up Olark).
Do it for me
If you don’t want to mess with these settings or can’t seem to figure out how to get a 10 out of 10 from Mail-Tester.com, feel free to Contact Us, and we’ll be able to help you perfect your Google Apps DNS settings.