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Setting up Google as SMTP server for your XenForo


Well-known member
Using Google instead of setting up your own SMTP server is an easy process and one less thing to worry about and maintain on your own server. and this is Uber Newbie how to

1st you need to setup your domain name MX records to point to your custom google email.
It's free :

Select Standard from the Apps Editions


Then click on get started,

you will be prompted with a field to enter your domain name :


Follow the instructions from there. Google covers every major Domain registrar on how to Edit your MX records.
once you verify your domain, Activate the Email service and add a new user. In this case will create support@mydomain.com So all of the administrative emails generated by xenforo will be sent from that email : support@mydomain.com

Then logon to your XenForo admin panel and select the option tab

Then select Email options :


Then finally setup your xenforo to use google SMTP Like this

Make sure you enter support@mydomain.com complete (the whole email string) your password you just setup with google apps.
The port is 465 or 587
Select SSL

Click save and happy emailing :D

This way you avoid having your emails flagged as spam on your users end.
Let me know if further help is needed.
Very good. Great!

However, doesn't google apps have a limit of outgoing queries per hour or month for this?
I remember a year ago I used this on vBulletin and after a burst of subscription emails everything stopped working with the error msg that a max has been reached. I mailed them; no response of course.
hmmm..No.... I think they only limit the number of users to 50. but no limit on the email traffic.
In that case an upgrade to premium is in order cost $50/year

But for an average Forum, or for newbies just starting out, nothing beats this option. I Think .. :)
Google limits emails for its free accounts. 500 per day, or 2000 per day if it is a "premier" box.


Unless you are using XenForo to send marketing emails, I do not see how you can reach 500 emails/day

Keep in mind that this is only to send notifications, approvals and the routine cron emails. If one have the need for more than that limit then I think one must invest in some Email solution...

But good point ...
You could also setup your server to use Postfix instead of Sendmail and chain several Google accounts to send out emails. Still, if you have to send out an email to your 100k users, you will need 200 email accounts. :)

I'm not even sure if Google will ban you when they see you are hammering their servers with a ton of emails...
Personally I use Postfix because is way easier to configure, MUCH faster and secure than Sendmail. For example, if you need to send a large number of emails, Postfix exponentially backs off as the load increases and always remains in control. Try to do this with Sendmail. :)
According to the link posted above, that's the workaround offered by Google :
  • Create multiple user accounts to send mail. For example, 'Admin1' and 'Admin2' can each send 500 messages to reach 1000 unique recipients. (On the Premier or Education Edition, two accounts can reach 4000 recipients.)
  • Stagger mass communications over the course of two days. For example, send messages to the allotted number of recipients on day one, wait for 24 hours, and send messages to another group of recipients on day two.
  • In all editions of Google Apps, an individual message can be sent to a maximum of 500 external recipients at one time.
  • If you use a POP or IMAP client (e.g., Microsoft Outlook or Apple Mail), you may only send a message to 100 people at a time
One quick side note:

We have had repeated problems with using port 465 for SSL. We prefer to run TLS on port 587, it has been far more consistent in successful connections.

If you have problems using SSL, try TLS.
From what I know, the only Google Apps settings for SMTP are:
smtp.gmail.com:587 with TLS encryption.
Unless you are using XenForo to send marketing emails, I do not see how you can reach 500 emails/day
Don't forget notifications for private conversations and threads. If you have a few active threads & users a limit of 500 is way to low ;)
Why could we not skip the step about changing our MX record? I did this and was still able to send mail from by board using google's smtp server (and the header showed it went through google's server). Then I could still receive mail from my hosts pop server.

It would seem to me, that this option allows me the best of both worlds. I can send 500 emails with google smtp, then turn around and send another 500 from my host, by setting it back to the default option temporarily.

Am I wrong on this?
I use gmail for mine. I found the best solution was to set up the MX records and tell my local local mail server (qmail) to stop believing that consoleforums.org was the same as localhost. This way I don't get copies of the outgoing e-mails sent through PHP (which I don't want anyway) and the server is doing the work so the cap doesn't apply.
Some carriers have blocked my server currently, as stating I'm sending spam.
This will be something I look into.
I think as a whole your wasting your time and will run into a lot of problems trying to use FREE email services with your forum for SMTP.
I think as a whole your wasting your time and will run into a lot of problems trying to use FREE email services with your forum for SMTP.
The solution I've been using (see above) has worked for over a year without issue.
I get over 300 registrations a day. Add on top of that email notifications, I'd be rate limited by google with a standard account. I'm actually looking into other solutions at this point in time or possibly even going premier and staggering as they mentioned if I need to.
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