I would like to create an email alias for a domain associated with my Google Apps domain that points to a domain that's not associated with Google Apps.

domain1.com is associated with GA, domain2.com is not.

I'm moving from SmarterMail. In SM, I could create an alias, guy@domain1.com, that points to guy@domain2.com. I didn't have to create an account in SM for guy@domain1.com, just an entry in the alias table.

In Google Apps, it seems that I have to create a guy@domian1.com user, then forward that mail to guy@domain2.com.

My two problems are: 1) Setting up the forwarding is more work than just creating an alias. 2) When I switch to the premium service, I have to pay by account. That will be prohibitive as I have tons of aliases.

Is the way SmarterMail does it the normal way and Google is different, or the other way around? Or am I just missing something?


One way you might get it to work is by creating a catch-all email account on Google Apps (domain1.com) and have all of its email forward to a single account on domain2.com. Hopefully domain2.com has something similar to SmarterMail's easy solution for creating aliases.

If you are going to use Google Apps to forward your emails, there is a limit of 20 forwarding filters per account. So you should factor that in to decide how many accounts you need.

It seems that Google didn't plan for this kind of feature, at least not as well as SmartMail has.

  • Works like a peach. A little more setup than I like, but what can you do. Thanks. Jul 13 '10 at 19:39
  • I think Adam Batkin's answer using Routig is better
    – Steren
    Jan 16 '13 at 0:52

Open the "Settings" tab at the top, select "Email" under "Services" from the menu at the left, then select the "Default routing" tab. Click "Add Setting".

You can now decide between "Single recipient" or "Pattern match" if you have more than one. I chose to use a pattern. My pattern looks something like:


Make sure that "Modify message" is selected, and check "Change envelope recipient". Now you can use "Replace recipient" and enter a new address like something@otherdomain.com (or, depending on how things are set up, "Existing-username@" might work for you)

Note: This is a paid Business Apps account, and I don't know if all of these settings exist for free accounts. YMMV.

  • I also had make sure to check "Perform this action on non-recognized and recognized addresses"
    – Steren
    Jan 16 '13 at 0:50
  • Be careful, your regexp is wrong and not only matching alias1@mydomain.com but everything that ends with "alias1@mydomain.com"
    – Steren
    Jan 17 '13 at 13:50
  • 3
    +1. This should be the accepted answer, it is the preferred way to achieve this and doesn't force purchasing a 'dead' account used solely for purposes of forwarding email.
    – Mark
    Feb 25 '13 at 14:53
  • 4
    The setting has been moved to Google Apps / Gmail / Default Routing.
    – Sire
    Jan 8 '14 at 9:13
  • 1
    This feature is unfortunately not available in the legacy free version. Oct 11 '14 at 15:25

One more way to do this in Google Apps is to use a "group". A group is like a mailing list. Here are the steps you can follow:

  1. "Manage This Domain" (for domain1.com)
  2. "Email Settings"
  3. "Users and Groups"
  4. "Create a New Group". Fill-in your details. In your case, the group email address will be "guy". Make sure you choose "Team" and "Also allow anyone on the Internet to post messages""
  5. "Add new members". Here, you should add "guy@domain2.com"

From now on, whenever anybody sends email to "guy@domain1.com" it will automatically go to guy@domain2.com .

Another way to achieve something similar (but not exactly what you are asking for) is to choose "Manage This Domain" (for domain1.com) --> "Domain Settings" --> "Domain names" --> "Add a domain alias" and then add domain2.com as a domain alias.

  • Thanks. I'm going to use this for aliases that I need to go to multiple addresses. I have an accountspayable@domain1.com that needs to go to two people, and this seems to work well for that. Jul 13 '10 at 19:40
  • I think that may be the safest and simplest way to do the job.
    – Steren
    Jan 17 '13 at 17:51
  • This requires a lot of setup and by default it seems to record all emails in the group - hence the privacy settings are quite important. Better to use Gmail default routing rules - these also work for routing to multiple addresses.
    – RichVel
    Aug 17 '13 at 16:01

You could create 1 account, attach the aliases to it (not sure what the alias limit is), and then set rules in that specific accounts Gmail filters to forward the email accordingly.

  • There's a limit of 20 forwarding filters per account.
    – Senseful
    Jul 13 '10 at 18:25
  • @Senseful thanks. So I guess set up 1 account per every 20 aliases Jul 13 '10 at 18:31

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