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Google has announced a big change to Google Apps for Business. From now, the Google Apps for Business is no longer available for free for new customers. That means existing Business customers can still continue using the service without paying any fee whereas new customers will have to pay $50 per user each year.

There will be no change to other products like Google Apps for Education and Google Apps for Government. Google Apps for Education will still be offered for free to schools and universities while the pricing for Government is $50 per user each year. Personal Google Account will not be affected and you still can use Gmail, Google Drive and other apps for free.

Therefore, this change has impacts on Google Apps for Business only. Google explained reasons behind this decision, that they want to simplify offerings for Business and improve user experience, including 24/7 phone support, 25GB inbox and a 99.9% uptime guarantee.

When we launched the premium business version we kept our free, basic version as well. Both businesses and individuals signed up for this version, but time has shown that in practice, the experience isn’t quite right for either group. Businesses quickly outgrow the basic version and want things like 24/7 customer support and larger inboxes. Similarly, consumers often have to wait to get new features while we make them business-ready. (Google)

This change makes sense to me because the price is reasonable and if you have a business, you can’t rely on an unsupported service. Greg D’Alesandre, Senior Product Manager of Google App Engine, brought us good news as the Google Apps Standard is still available for free through the App Engine Admin Console. However, it has the limit to only 1 user per account. The free version of Google Apps has become more limited by time. Google allowed the number of users at 100 when it is first launched, then it started dropping to 50, 10 and now only 1 single user. Anyways, a free Google Apps Standard account is still good enough for a lot of users as they just want to create a Gmail account with custom domains.

Following is the step-by-step guide on how to get your free Google Apps account for single user.

1. Login to your personal Google account at http://appengine.google.com/

google-app-engine

2. Verify your account with phone number.

verify-google-apps-standard-free
Verify your Google account

3. After verification, you will see the screen to create an application. Just get any name and fill in the textbox.

create an application
Create an application

4. Then you will see your application registered successfully. Go to Dashboard -> Application Settings, find the Domain Setup section like the screenshot below, choose Add Domain.

domain setup
Domain Setup

5. On the next step, don’t care about the left side. Read the Note and you will see the link to Sign up for Google Apps Standard.

Sign up for Google Apps Standard
Sign up for Google Apps Standard

6. Now, you will see the page to setup your account. Just fill in appropriate information to create a Google Apps account for free.

Google Apps Standard for free
Google Apps Standard for free

All done. If you are wondering why I didn’t post just the link to this Setup Page, it is because it will not work. You have to follow exact steps like mentioned above.

Let me know if you have any issue registering for a free Google Apps account. If you have another solution, share with us.

Update 1: Some comments below confirmed that there is a workaround to get more users for your Google Apps account. You can follow the guide above, upgrade to trial, add more users and finally cancel the subscription. Then, you will have a free account with up to 10 users. It’s worth trying.

Update 2: It seems like the workaround is no longer working and both Google and Microsoft ended the free service. If you need a free domain email, you can use other email hosting services like Zoho. Check out my guide to set up custom email for your domain with Zoho Mail here.

180 COMMENTS

    • Forgive me for a noob question, I followed all steps until I got to the add domain, I didnt do the right side and instead added my domain. Now it says I have a free account, but that I must upload a app first before using google apps. I know NOTHING about dev or making a app. I just wanted a way in apps to download my personal email. Would anyone let me know how to either get around this or how to upload a app. Sorry, just need help. Thank you

    • It also works if you obtain a domain through blogger.com. If you buy a domain through google, they will setup a google apps account. 1 user limit.

  1. Nicely done. My heart sunk when I heard this news. Now I’ll either have to raise prices for clients or take a pretty significant hit considering my web services target the low-end range. Dropping Google is almost a non-option at this point as so many people expect the easy-to-use interface and custom domain. This should save me the pain for any new one-user clients! What I’ll do for the rest, I just don’t know. Thank you!

    • You are welcome.
      Majority of our clients just require 1-user account, so the change won’t affect much. Hopefully you and your client will save some money as well. :)

      • I’m pretty surprised to hear people talking about 1-user accounts for their clients. Why would anyone do that? Is this just for organizations that have a domain with no hosting account?

  2. […] A clever author at TechWalls has figured out How to Get Free Google Apps for a single […]

  3. Thanks for the heads-up on Google Apps Standard – that should still suffice for many of my clients. Is there a simple upgrade path from the Apps Standard version to the now-paid Apps for Business?

    • Yes, Alastair,
      You can upgrade to Google Apps for Business seamlessly by going to your Dashboard->Domain Settings -> Account Information and choose Upgrade to Google Apps for Business.
      Hope it helps. :)

      • Hi Tuan Do,

        This has helped so far and I have been able to create a basic App account against my domain. Many thanks for the tips.

        If I upgrade to Google Apps for Business, will 1 account still remain free or it will convert into 30 days trial and get billed after that?

        Regards,
        Salman

      • hi tuan,
        thanks alot.plz i need ur help. i need this but plz i want to do it for free. i have paid about twice or so now and i was forced by google when i sign up that i must have 3 accounts and pay 12.5USD monthly. plz how do i get this free successful account without having to pay at all. am due to pay on 4th sept again but ur helping me out could stop it. i just need a single account.thanks.plz reply me via my email soon i will be very grateful!

  4. Thank you for the information. Are you able to create more Google Apps single-user accounts for another domains? i.e. can you repeat from step #5 to register more than 1 domain with google apps? or.. you need another google account to register one more domain?

  5. I tried this on two different accounts with two domains I own (one of them was created minutes before following these steps), both of them gave me the same error on the last step: “This domain has already been signed up for a Google Apps edition or Postini product. Check out our Signup Troubleshooter to help guide in troubleshooting this issue.” Google is such a PITA.

      • well its looks like I did the google apps on one of them, but the other one was used/registered in 2008 but never renewed.

        Googles own documentation tells me to do something called ‘Reset your administrator password by domain verification’ but I was only able to find the link on a third party website (tnx for making things difficult and convoluted Google). After I did that I guessed the username as ‘admin’ and was able to access the account of the guy who created it in 2008 and never went back to use it. So it looks like I lucked out and got a google apps account from 2008 which I think was a 100 user limit back then (99 more then I need).

        While the second domain: im still waiting for the google apps deletion which will happen on the 12th. Then ill re-try what you posted here.

        • Chris, did deleting the original version of google apps allow you to access the free version per the method above?

  6. Is it possible to still have Group E-mail addresses that can be forwarded to external e-mail addresses with this Single User setup?

    • No, you must see the screen “Get started with Google Apps for free” like I posted above. Are you sure you follow the guide correctly? Most people have created the account successfully.

      • Yes I saw it, but it still took me to the 30 day trial. But it may be my ingornace. Because i see 30 day trial in the top right, but when I click on it, it says upgrade for the 30 day trial. I also have 1 user. So Im guessing I do have it, if you sign up for a trial and you have 10 users?

    • Hi Rederick,
      Have you registered your domain in the last step above? If you did, you shouldn’t upgrade to the 30 day trial because Google will charge $50/user/year later. You can have unlimited users as long as you pay the fee.

    • No problem. If you have already added the domain, you can start using Google Apps now. After logging in to your Google Apps panel, you still can see the link “Free 30 day Google Apps for Business trial” on the top right corner. You need to upgrade if you have more than 1 user, otherwise you can use it for free.

  7. Is it just me or we can´t forward ours emails from this G-Apps account to other email anymore? Option seems to have dissapeared from “POP/IMAP Download”, even with those options enabled?

  8. I registered my domain with Google Apps for Business after the Dec 6th cutoff date, but there is no option to downgrade to the free one user version. When following your steps above, I get the same error as another poster listed: “This domain has already been signed up for a Google Apps edition…”. Do you know if there is a way to route an already created account to this version? Will fully deleting my old version of Google Apps for Business allow me access to this free version? Thanks in advance.

  9. We are a family -4 persons. I want the family to use the family domain name. Will it work with the free 1-user account -i.e. can we make 4 1-user accounts and share the domain or ..?

    • Hi Ulrik,
      No you can’t share the same domain with different accounts. I recommend you to try Outlook then, it can meet your family needs and you can create a few hundred users for free. Check out the guide on my previous post here.

    • Ulrik,

      If you have a hosting account with your email, you can also sign each family member up for a free google account & then use the mail fetching and “send as” features of Gmail. This is the norm for lots of groups! :)

  10. Thanks, I have successfully created account. but the issue is i am getting this error:-

    “You have reached the 1 user limit for this organization. To add more users, please purchase Google Apps for Business.”

  11. Hi
    Just been trying to follow your guide.
    I have an error message, so a couple of questions.

    Do I log in to App engine using my existing (personal) google login or need to create a new one?

    I log in, I’m not asked for verification of phone number.

    When I click to create application I see the below:

    Server Error
    A server error has occurred.

  12. Like “Harsh” above, I am confused about the “you have reached the 1 user limit” message. In the article, Tuan reports that you’re allowed 1 user, but in the Google Apps documentation differentiating the free version from standard, it says you’re allowed 10 uers. I’m referring to those of us grandfathered from prior to 12/6.

    • Hi Dan,
      I suppose the standard version is the free account created before December and Google still allows up to 10 users. The free Google Apps is the one created with above solution and they allow only 1 user now.

      • I understand that they only allow 1 user now using the above solution. I was commenting that MY account (created before December and downgraded at 29 days in mid-December) will also not let me create any more users and is reporting that I have “reached the 1 user limit”. Just thought that was strange – means grandfathered isn’t _really_ grandfathered.

    • Yeah that’s right. That workaround doesn’t work. Someone tried registering the trial Business account and then downgraded to Standard account but they also have the limit of 1 user only. :)

      • I just succesfully created the 1 user version. Then upgraded to trial, created 9 more accounts and cancelled the trial.
        I now have 10 accounts in my google app.

        So it can be done ;-)

  13. Hi there Tuan

    Thanks for your really great post.

    To confirm the above comments then, it’s possible to create a 1-user account for free, and then a bunch of aliases. And it is possible to send from those aliases too?

    The main thing is that it is all under the 1 user account it seems. I believe gmail allows 20 aliases, is that correct do you happen to know?

    Thanks again for your awesome post.

  14. I am confused about the single account…
    Does this mean for 1 domain that I can only have 1 user?
    I am trying to set up google apps for a client. I have done this several times in the past but just found out about these changes. The client has abuot 5 different email addresses that I need to set up.. Can I just repeat this process 5 times? or will I have to pay 5/user?

    • Hi Jeremy,
      Do you mean 5 different email addresses under the same domain? If so, probably you still can get 5 users for your account by following the guide above. Then try upgrading to the trial, adding more users and then cancel the trial. Let me know if the workaround still works.
      Of course it will be easier if your client can pay money. :)

  15. I followed the directions in the comments thread and it seemed to work.
    Created the single apps account. Upgraded to the trial.
    Added a couple other accounts then canceled my trial.
    Now my limit is higher.
    Thanks!

  16. Excellent tutorial! I just wanted to let everyone know that I also tested the 30 trial workaround and it was successful. Once you have the 1-user account setup, upgrade to the trial, add as many users as you like, then cancel your subscription. Once you cancel, your account will maintain however many users you created, free. You can even create placeholder users that can later be deleted to make space for real users. I’m sure Google will fix this loophole at some point.

    • Thanks a lot Tuan!

      Hi Zorka, Jeremy, Jones and Patrik, can you guys confirm if your additional users are still available without any problems after ending the 30-day free trial. Also, roughly when did you cancel the 30 day trial – has it been more than a month already? I mean did Google come back and take the extra ones away? I was going to try this trick as well but before I give people their individual email addresses, it might help to know if they are here to stay. Thanks a lot for your help.

  17. I am impressed with your knowledge so much so I will try this, but before I do, is Sites available and Drive once all set up? (Your method+adding say another 9 users then canceling the trial)… Thank you in advance all the way from New Zealand.

  18. Hello,

    Thanks for the information, we can create only one e-mail account for domain through above mentioned procedure. Because every small company also will use at least 4 to 5 E-mail account. And some times one admin E-mail id we have to create.

    Thanks,
    shiva

    • Hi Reddy,
      There is actually a workaround to create more users with a Google account. Check it out in the comment section. :)

  19. Followed all instructions. When I cancelled the trial it says my account will be deleted in 4 days with all users and settings. Hopefully that does not happen and I am left with my 10 users.

  20. This was touched on above in the comments section, but was hoping for more clarity.

    For someone who purchased a domain thru Google, they’d like a free custom domain email to go along with my domain.

    Am I right this person would need to cancel their current account with Google, the one they got when purchasing the domain, create a whole new account through the App Engine page, and then they’d get the free custom domain email?

  21. While I try the workaround for more users, after the cancellation of the subscription of the trail, the system actually now prompt you a warning that the account is suspended and will be deleted after 4 working days.

    Does this mean the workaround has been hotfixed?

  22. Can anyone report back if deleting your current Google Apps account works? How long does it take? And will this trick work? Thanks in advance!

  23. Thanks you I got a Google Apps account successfully, courtesy of your good tutorial.

    Now I’m taking note of update in the article, though nobody knows it still works fine. I’ve also followed it – upgraded to Google Apps for Business trial, added some users, and cancelled the subscription. Finally Google will delete my Google Apps domain 4 days later.

    Because I added some users, it seems my Google Apps can’t downgrade and can only be deleted. But, you know, I just want more users. Is there step what I missed? Or the postscript doesn’t work now?

    • Hi,
      I am not sure if the workaround is still working. That’s great if you can can report back what happen after 4 days. That will be helpful for all readers here. :)

    • thanks for the great feedback from you all, can I ask what will happen after the 30 days is over? will the extra accounts get suspended? or what happen if you cancel the business version, will the whole account get cancel or you’ll go back to 1 user standard version? any help is highly appreciated…

    • Finally, Google killed my Apps services and domain. Yay!
      Now the workaround doesn’t work and I decide to consider Microsoft.

  24. It would be very helpful if this blog shows the date of comments. I’m posting this on 2013-03-26.
    Can anyone confirm if it is still possible to have 1 account for free?

  25. Hi,

    Thanks for the help : now the email is set up and I can send emails.

    but got some new questions:

    a) how about all the emails on the old mailserver, are their anyway to get those “into” gmail now, so everything is organized same place?

    b) i also have set up my old account in Mail App on my mac, and i just tried to send a email through this, which works still, but the email does not appear in my gmail sent folder, and when answer was sent back it did neither appear in gmail – how is that?

    c) i just tried to send a empty email through another email to my mail adress, and it just seems to appear in my standard old mail, and not in gmail. – so untill now the result is that all mails actually are just appearing in my old setup, and the gmail system is just for sending out mails?

  26. Hello I have tried this guide and it works fine (4/21/2013).

    THIS IS IN CASE YOU HAVE UPGRADED TO GOOGLE APPS FOR BUSINESS AND YOU WANT TO RETURN TO THE FREE EDITION (Note this will work just if you have created the account with Appengine or with Blogger.)

    – If you upgrade to Google Apps for Business you can still downgrade but something very important its that you must have just 1 user and you must still be in the trial, if the trial ended you will no longer have the option to downgrade to the Google Apps Standard edition.

    – If you have upgraded to Google Apps for Business and you have created a few users while in the trial, if you decide to downgrade to Google Apps you will have just the option to cancel the account, the steps to be able to downgrade to Google Apps standard are the following:

    – Delete all the users just leave the administrator account.
    – Go to Domain settings then go to Subscriptions and billing.
    – When you select cancel the account it will display the message to downgrade to Standard edition or to cancel completely the account.
    – Select the option ‘Downgrade to Standard edition.’

    in a few seconds you will be back to Google Apps Standard edition.

    I have tried these steps and works fine the date is 4/21/2013

  27. I tried following your suggestions and although it allows odd names in domain name choice it however does not allow last name entries as choices. Maybe in is cross referencing the name selections with some database but if I add a 1 at the end of a desired domain name it shows available BUT if I just put a last name as the desired domain name it does not take.

    Since this is all for the purpose of regaining exchange active synch, I will maybe chance to a odd domain name but I wish Google would have just offered the cost of a google apps for business account license to continue using the exchange server active synch option, (m.google.com)

    Nothing else out there short of icloud comes close and if you have YEARS of emails and data, changing permanently to icloud is not a great option.

    Anyone have suggestions?

  28. I have registered for paid version of google apps few days back. I removed all services and deleted my account too.
    Now I am trying to sign up for standard edition of google apps it is saying that the domain is already registered for paid version.
    What should I do.
    Pls Help.
    Thanks,
    Regards,

    • When you delete your Google Apps account it takes like 7 days to be completely deleted, after that time you will be able to add the domain again.

  29. Wow, glad I found this thread. Here’s the deal…about an hour before finding this end-around, I signed up for Google Apps not knowing the free accounts are no longer an option. So, I immediately canceled my account. They say it may take up to 4 days to actually cancel. Anyway, I went thru the steps of the end-around and am trying to verify ownership of my domain (which may take up for 48 hours) using the CNAME method. How long does it take normally? Think I will have to wait and try again after my 4 day cancellation window with Google?

  30. My eyes have opened wide after reading this as I have been rejected 5 times by google adsense and now I think that I have gain another life. Thanks for the review. I just want to ask one question that will this account be a hosted account or a full approved account with no google shares? Please I will be glad if you clear this confusion. Thanks

  31. If someone is interested i am selling one account of Google Apps standard edition you can create up to 200 users :)

  32. Sweet, worked great for me. Sucked to hear that they shut down the free portion of apps, but this workaround will work great for most of my projects. Thanks

  33. Worked perfectly! I have just registered an email address with my domain name via google apps :-). Just wish, it would allow me to create a few more email accounts.

  34. I had started using Zoho Mail for my clients and was about to make one for my own domain when as a last chance I searched for the term “any chance of getting Google Apps free again” and zoooom I found this post and am so happy that I found it. I was able to create my own very easily and will be using this technique for my clients also (those who need only 1 account). Thanks buddy for this superb technique.

  35. I successfully used the workaround listed above so I could create a custom email for my website. Like others have mentioned, I get the message stating it’s a 30-day trial. Do I need to cancel the trial while its active or can I let it expire with no action taken? Again, I’m only using this for the custom email address used with my website domain. Thanks for the help guys!

      • Hi Tuan Do,
        I thought it would give me sync for calendar + task in one app plus it is for free.
        Everything still works, exept the domain thing.
        I just need to get sync working between outlook and Google. Thats why I thought give it a shot.

  36. Hi,
    it seems it does not work to register for Google Apps Standard

    After I create apps and follow your steps appears:

    ” Note: You must sign up for Google Apps to register this domain or prove that you already own it.
    Sign up for Google Apps » “

  37. I had created around 25 google apps using this – but now its leading to business account… Hope there is a workaround. If somebody can share, pls.

  38. I was using this method ever since Google took the free account away, but it seems it’s not working now. I think Google disabled it!! :(

    BTW, it would be nice if we could see these comments with a date attached so we know how recent they are!

  39. this loop hole does not work anymore. looks like it stopped working sometime in the end of june 2013. todays date is july 9 2013.

    i missed it by a few weeks.. darn :(

  40. Not working on 07/23/13, only paid vesion. I’ll try to cancel, and if not, will pay. Is not other way to create a free mydomain email and read it? Thanks for answer.

  41. As of 06 August 2013, it doesn’t work for me.
    That link is not like the one you mentioned. It is:
    Sign up for Google Apps » | Learn more

  42. If someone is interested I am selling few domains with Google Apps standard edition attached.
    MaxGoogleAppsAccounts: 10, 50, 100, 500, 1000 (from 80$ to 400$) – depend from domain

    The great thing is you can setup a new domains under the existing account and start using Google Apps on the new domains at no charge.

  43. i am unable to get free google business email a/c of my web using free trail now. next week free trial will expire kindly help me out how can i get business apps free, i mean business mail id

  44. This is very interesting, You are a very skilled blogger. I have joined your feed and look forward to seeking more of your great post. Also, I have shared your site in my social networks!

  45. At the last step When I signup for Google App domain via App Engine It shows Invalid Request What should I do?

  46. Hello Sir, My name is Alpesh Vaghela i have my own website i.e. websolution24x7.in i do all the steps from creating the ID to changing the MX record still it shows only for 30 days trial can you help me out in this matter. i just wnat to inform you that i had created one id i.e. [email protected] and i want to use it in google apps i just need this information i hope you will consider this mail & help me out in this matter

  47. Works perfectly, until it asks for payment details for when the 30 day free trial ends.

    Is there a work around for this – or is this the end of the free ride?

  48. Tried it today [16/12/2013], no luck. I get “Sign up for Google Apps >>” link, directly to Apps for Business.

    any suggestions?

    • Yeah. I followed all the steps exactly and it worked, but it took me into apps for business. You get a 30 day free trial and then you have to pay. I guess the backdoor is no longer available.

  49. Tuan, I have tried like a number of users and not had success in being able to create a single user account for my domain, so I guess we assume this is no longer working. Has anyone else had success in being able to do this, or does anyone else have another work around for being able to obtain a google apps account ?

  50. Ha!!! Great work. I had read a long time ago this was possible but could never figure out how to do it. Thanks for this one.

  51. Hey – thanks for the procedure, BUT — how does one get from Step 1 to Step 2 ?
    I see the “Welcome” message you show for step one, but I don’t see a button that says “Verify Your Account.”
    How do I get to that page?

    Thanks,
    D.M.

    • AND… in your example, Step 5, it says “Sign up for Google Apps Standard.”
      On the page I see it says “Sign up for Google Apps” — no “Standard” is offered there.

      FYI – this domain was set up to use Business Apps, and when the free trial expired, we decided we didn’t need all that and could get by with the one-address personal gmail account. All I want to do is CANCEL the business app that expired (and won’t let us log in) and revert to the free personal (“standard?”) account.

      Thanks again,
      – D.M.

      • Please tell me if I’m wrong, but I think Google has since shut the free single account down.

        I have a few free Google App accounts from back in the day so I’m fairly familiar with the procedures, and I completed the steps in this article to secure another one, but it only gave me the 30-day free trial for the single account, with the warning that this account (and custom domain email) will be suspended if I don’t pay before the 30 days expire.

        David, keep in mind there are two different accounts you are accessing in this article. The first account is for Google App Engine (https://appengine.google.com), which maybe you used your personal gmail account to initially access. The second account is Google Apps for Business (www.google.com/enterprise/apps/business), which you created in Steps 5 & 6. For Google Apps for Business you sign-in with whatever username and custom domain you chose during creation (username@my_domain.com). It’s easy to get the Google App Engine and Google Apps for Business accounts confused, so unsure if that helps or not. I wouldn’t imagine Google would completely lock you out of your Google Apps account, as I’m sure they are hoping for you to log back in and pay some money.

        Either way, if you didn’t pay anything and your card is not getting automatically charged, then you don’t need to worry about canceling your Google Apps for Business account. Just have your domain registrar point your email to a different mail server where your mail will be configured. That will break the connection to Google Apps for Business.

  52. I was so excited when I saw this guide, but like the most recent comments confirm, there is no longer the option to sign up for “Google Apps Standard” from the screen in step 5. The link takes you directly to the now “universal” Google Apps for Business, which gives you a 30-day free trial. A disappointment for those looking to set up only a single-user custom domain…

  53. […] What many people don’t know is that there are still ways to host a personal domain with Google apps for a single user for free. Basically this is a great way to set up your own personal Gmail address tied to your domain name for cheap. You only have to pay for your domain name which you can find for anywhere from $10-$15 per year. This is the method I am currently using to host and manage my email (tutorials for setting this up can be found here and here). […]

  54. Please put an update box on this article to indicate that the suggested technique is no longer works while you can keep this article online.

  55. This Content is outdated. Kindly Update. When we follow this process, we are usually signing up for Free 30 Days Trial.

        • Yes, they are offering the same service.
          Zoho Mail is 100% ad-free and also comes with some similar services like online office apps or collaboration tools. The Zoho app has also been released for iOS and Android. This seems to be a great free alternative for Google Apps.

  56. Domain with Active Google Apps Standard (free edition)
    I have 26 domains with Google Apps Standard – Free edition (10/ 25/ 50/ 100/ 200/ 500/ 1000 / 2000 User A/C) for sale. All domains are 5-6 characters .COM registered with Godaddy.

  57. Hi there, I bought my own domain and followed the steps above to create my single free email address using that domain, but I only got a 30 day free trial. Google said that the free single email address finished a few years ago. Do you know is the free email address still available?
    Many thanks
    Erica

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