Before we get to the steps for setting up your external email accounts on Gmail to send and receive email, let’s quickly go over what is meant by external email accounts and the two different ways to access your external email on Gmail.
What are external email accounts?
With respect to Gmail, external email accounts are simply any email accounts or email addresses that you might have set up outside of Gmail.
Here are just a few examples of the types of email accounts that are external to Gmail:
Check with your employer first to make sure you’re allowed to use Gmail for your business email!
Two ways to access your external email via Gmail
How To access your external email via Gmail
There are two primary ways to work with your external email accounts in Gmail.
Forward your email from an external account to Gmail.
Link your external account in Gmail.
Why use Gmail for your external mail accounts?
So, let’s get to it. Follow the instructions below to set up your external email accounts.
PRO TIP: Once you set up your external accounts on your computer, you will also be able to use them on your mobile devices. However, if you’re looking for setup instructions directly from your mobile device, check out the Gmail support page.
From Your Computer
Here’s how you go about adding an external email account to Gmail from your browser on your computer.
Show the “Quick Settings” area by clicking the cog icon in the top-right of your screen.
At the top of the “Quick Settings” card that appears, click the “See all settings” button.
At the top of the Settings page, click the “Accounts and Import” tab.
PRO TIP: If you ever want to go directly to this Accounts page again in the future, you can bookmark the page or use this link: mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#settings/accounts
Follow the setup steps below, depending on if you want to receive and/or send emails for an account.
Setup to receive emails
To receive emails from an external account, follow these steps:
Scroll down to the “Check mail from other accounts” section.
This is where you will see a list of all of the external accounts you already have set up in Gmail.
The list will most likely be empty if this is the first account you are setting up.
Click the “Add a mail account” link.
This should pop up a new little window.
In the “Add a mail account” popup window, enter the email address for your external email account.
For example, your email might be
If Gmail recognizes that your email address supports Gmailify, then choose that option. Otherwise, leave the option selected that says “Import emails from my other account (POP3).” Click the “Next” button.
Enter your login and mail server information for your external account (NOT YOUR GMAIL USERNAME AND PASSWORD!). If you don’t already have this information, you can get it from your external email provider:
- Username: This is the username you chose when setting up your external email account. It’s often just the first part of your email address or your full email address. For example, your username might be
firstname.lastname@example.org, or simply
- Password: This is the password you chose when setting up your external email account.
- POP Server: This is the POP3 server domain where your external email account is hosted. For example, your POP server might be
- Port: Select the server port that your email provider requires for POP. You’ll most likely need to use port 995 for secure SSL/TLS connections, or port 110 if not using SSL/TLS.
- Other Options: Depending on your needs and preferences, check the boxes for the remaining options. I would highly recommend always using SSL!
Finally, click the “Add Account” button!
You should see a confirmation page in the popup window that indicates that your mail account has been added. Continue on to the next section to set up your Gmail account to send emails using your external email address.
Setup to send emails
Now let’s set up your Gmail account to be able to send emails as your external email address.
PRO TIP: If you skipped setting up receiving email from your external account, but still want to send email as your external email address, no worries. First, just go to the Settings page, click the “Add another email address” link in the “Send mail as” section, and then enter your external email address in the popup window. Then continue on with the next steps.
- SMTP Server: This is the SMTP server domain where your external email account is hosted. SMTP stands for “Simple Mail Transfer Protocol.” For example, your SMTP server might be
- Port: Select the server port that your email provider requires for SMTP.
- Username: This is the username you chose when setting up your external email account. It’s likely the same one you used for setting up Gmail to receive emails in the previous steps.
- Password: This is the password you chose when setting up your external email account. It’s likely the same one you used for setting up Gmail to receive emails in the previous steps.
For the last option about SSL/TLS, select the secure option recommended by Gmail based on your previous setting. Then, click the “Add Account” button.
To complete this step, don’t close the popup window! With the popup window still open, check your Gmail inbox for a confirmation email from Google. Copy the “Confirmation code” from the email and enter it in the box on the popup window that you still have open. Then, click the “Verify” button.
Congratulations! You’re now set up to both send and receive emails for your external email address! 😎
From now on, when you want to send a new email from your external account via Gmail, simply start a new email like normal, and then choose your external email address from the drop-down list next to the “From” setting.
BONUS: When replying to emails you receive through your external account, Gmail will automatically set the reply “From” address to be your same external email address, rather than your Gmail email address! Nice!
Requirements and Limitations
Here are some things you should be aware of:
The reason for this is that Gmail has to first check for new emails on your external accounts. Since Gmail cannot continuously check for new emails from your external accounts, they rate limit how often they do so.
For example, they might only check for new emails on your external accounts say every 10 minutes, or perhaps when you click the refresh button in Gmail. And they might put a limit on the number of times they will check an account per hour or per day.
PRO TIP: All is not lost! Did you know that Gmail provides some helpful debugging tools… AND that you can force Gmail to check for new messages on an external account, even when Gmail doesn’t do it automatically when you click the Refresh button?! 😍
On the Settings page, next to your external account listed in the “Check mail from other accounts” section, you should see some helpful information and tools:
- The “Last checked” information shows you the last time Gmail checked your external account for new messages. It also shows how many messages it got at that time.
- The “View history” link will show you a list of the recent attempts Gmail made to fetch your mail from your external account. It also shows the number of emails fetched each time and any errors it might have encountered.
- The “Check mail now” link can be used to force Gmail to fetch new email messages from your external account. When you click the link, the link should immediately change to a message that says “Checking mail…” Then, after a few moments, the “Last checked” data should refresh and show you the number of emails that were fetched. Super!!! ✨
Setting up external email accounts to use in Gmail is relatively simple to do, it’s FREE, and it’s a great way to continue using the program you are familiar with to carry on business across all of your email accounts.