So you have multiple Gmail or Google App accounts and you want to combine them all into one. There are a two main parts to doing this — getting and sending email — and, we believe, there is a “bad way” and a “good way” to do each part.
The issue is this. You have 1 primary email, we’re going to call that “firstname.lastname@example.org”, that you want to use all the time. You also have “email@example.com” and “firstname.lastname@example.org” as well. You don’t want to have to login to those accounts, but you want to 1) get emails instantly from those accounts and 2) send as if you’re sending from those accounts.
Getting email from other accounts…
The Bad Way
Go enable “POP” email on the account you want to get email from. To do it that way you go into “Forwarding and POP/IMAP” section of settings on the “email@example.com” and “firstname.lastname@example.org” emails and enable “POP” email. Then you go into the “Accounts” section of settings on the “email@example.com” email and click the “Add a POP3 mail account you own”.
The problem with this is that Gmail has a set time that they run their POP3 mail checking scripts. So it can be over an hour before you get an email. You can go into the “Accounts” section of settings of your “firstname.lastname@example.org” address and click “Check mail now.” But that’s annoying. And there is no way to change how often Gmail checks the POP3 account.
The Good Way
Go to the “Forwarding and POP/IMAP” section of settings on the “email@example.com” and “firstname.lastname@example.org” emails and click “Add a forwarding address” button. Add your “email@example.com” account as the address… get the confirmation code (this is easier with two browsers open at once, btw)… input it… and then set your “firstname.lastname@example.org” and “email@example.com” emails to forward to your “firstname.lastname@example.org” email. We suggest going so far as to setting the “email@example.com” and “firstname.lastname@example.org” emails to delete their copy once it’s forwarded. This truly keeps you from ever having to “get in there” again.
Now when someone sends you an email you get it as quickly as you normally would. No more waiting on the POP3 script to run.
Sending email from other accounts…
First off, if you’ve set up a POP3 account on your “email@example.com” email then you’ll already have a new “Send mail as” email added to that account as well. If not you’ll need to add one under the “Accounts” section of settings. The “default” way Gmail sets this up is for this email to be treated as an alias. Gmail’s description of what an alias is and does can be a bit confusing. Basically if you want to send email as “someone else” that is NOT you then you want to uncheck that box. If you want it to be sent as you then leave it checked.
The Bad Way
The next part (after you click the “Next Step” button) you’re given the option to send through the “firstname.lastname@example.org” account, or to send through the other account. The default is to send it through the “email@example.com” email account. The problem with this is that people who get the email will see a “via gmail.com” (where “gmail” is your domain is you’re using Google Apps).
The Good Way
Some people don’t mind “the bad way” but if you want it to truly send AS your “firstname.lastname@example.org” or “email@example.com” emails you want to check the the other option. If your other emails are something other than Gmail or Google Apps then you’ll need to check with your email host to find out what the outgoing SMTP settings are. Otherwise, if you are using Gmail or Google Apps for your “secondary” and “tertiary” emails then you can use the following settings.
You’re all set!
That’s it! Now when someone sends an email to either your “firstname.lastname@example.org” or “email@example.com” you’ll get it on your “firstname.lastname@example.org” account right away… and, when you reply, you’ll be replying as that account and actually sending as that account. The great thing is that you only have to login to one account.
If you have a lot of emails on your “email@example.com” or “firstname.lastname@example.org” emails that you want to actually move to your “email@example.com” account then you should first set up the POP3 for past emails and set up the POP3 account to check them. It will download them all to your “primary” account. The one issue with this is that it can take a very long time depending on how many emails you have.