How to Set up abuse@ and postmaster@ in Google G Suite

Do I really need to setup abuse@ and postmaster@ addresses?

In a nutshell, yes, email best practice stipulates that you should setup abuse@ and postmaster@ email addresses on your domain.

  • abuse@ should be implemented so that individuals can easily send abuse information or complain about spam to a domain holder. A number of anti-spam systems will automatically use the @abuse to forward complaints.
  • postmaster@ should be implemented to receive queries and reports.

@postmaster is the administrator of a mail server. Nearly every domain should have the e-mail address postmaster@ so any errors in e-mail processing can be directed. Error e-mails automatically generated by mail servers’ MTAs usually appear to have been sent to the postmaster address.

How do I set these email addresses up?

Most email providers make it fairly easy to setup these two addresses. You can set them up as dedicated POP3/IMAP mail boxes, but if you pay on a per user bases this route could incur extra charges. The second and most common option is to set the addresses up as alias names, also known as email forwarders. This option sets the @abuse and @postmaster to forward to an existing mailbox(s).

You can normally setup email forwarders free of charge but I would recommend checking first, most of the big players like 123-reg.co.uk and Heart Internet offer this as standard.

Google G Suite doesn’t make it as simple

Google doesn’t have much trust in their customers so they have a reserved list of names that can’t be added as simple alias names to your associated domains.

Try and add abuse@ or postmaster@ and your get a friendly error message.

google alias

Google Quote:

How are reports of abuse, spam, and technical problems handled?

For your convenience, the Google Team monitors all mail sent to the addresses abuse@yourdomain.com and postmaster@yourdomain.com to ensure that we can properly address all reports of spam, abuse, and technical issues. Since abuse and postmaster are reserved aliases, you can’t use them as usernames or nicknames.

If you want particular users in your organization to receive mail sent to abuse@yourdomain.com and postmaster@yourdomain.com, you can create groups named abuse and postmaster. Users that are part of these groups will receive mail sent to those addresses. The Google Team will still receive the mail as well.

Learn more about how to create a group.

Because of their special status, you can only create the abuse and postmaster groups using the Google Admin console. You can’t create the groups using Google Groups.

Link to the above article https://support.google.com/a/answer/33389?hl=en

I have mixed feelings about this practice. On one hand there are some privacy concerns that need some further thought. But on the other hand, Google are only taking this step to protect their network and email delivery for their other clients. I’ll leave it down to you to come to your own conclusions.

So based on the above information, the only way to receive a copy of emails sent to these two addresses is to setup a Google Group within your G Suite account.

A Step by Step Guide – Setting up a Google Group

Google Groups can be used like a shared mail box. Email is sent to the group and then distributed to members within the group and the group can have one of more members.

A Google Group can be setup to basically work similar to a Microsoft distribution list or shared folder. Once setup, all emails sent to postmaster@ and abuse@ will be forwarded to each members Gmail inbox. The below process should be repeated for both abuse@ and postmaster@.

Step 1 – Login to your Google Administrator Account

https://admin.google.com/

Select the Domains option from the main screen (if you don’t see this option then it will be tucked away under the More Options tab at the bottom of the screen.

google admin 2

Step 2 – Create A New Group

Simply click on the yellow plus sign which is located bottom right of the screen.

crate group

Once clicked you will be presented with a pop-up box like the one below. Complete all the fields making sure to select the correct domain and to keep the default access level as Public. Setting us public allows this group to receive emails from external sources.

At this stage you can select for all users within your domain to be automatically added to the group or you can wait and add users manually later. Once complete click on the create option.

create new group

If everything went according to plan you will now see the following page.

group setup

Step 3 – Time for a Tea Break

tea breakIt’s always good to have a short break (I know I need one) so go grab yourself a cup tea (or for that matter, any beverage that takes your fancy) and come back in a few minutes to finish reading this rather long and dull post. (sorry but I do try and stop myself droning on)

Step 4 – Add User(s)

Hopefully you’re now refreshed and ready to move on.

If you didn’t select add all users in step 2 then you will now have to manually add the users to this group. The easiest way is to use the add users to group option top right of the page.

add group users

The next pop-up asks to to enter a users email address, as you start typing Google will auto suggest users.

user details

You will notice an option on the right hand side that allows you to change the users permission between Owner and Member.

Google gives a very detailed explanation for both users types here https://support.google.com/a/answer/167094?hl=en But the basics are that a Owner can add more users, manage group permissions and even delete the group. A Member simply receives copies of the groups communication and can view the group at any time.

Repeat step 4 for each user you wish to add.

Step 5 – Other Options

You will also notice two other options – Roles and Permissions and Aliases. Unless you have a particular reason to do so, I wouldn’t recommend changing anything in the Roles section. The Alias settings are only needed if you want to add multiple email aliases to come to the same group. When using Google Groups for this type of setup it would be very rare to use Alias name.

That’s You Finished

finished

Congratulations, you now have working abuse@ and postmaster@ email addresses. Any email sent to these addresses will be forwarded to the users listed in the group settings. Google will still get their copies so everyone is happy.

I’d finally recommend you get your users to setup an email rule to deal with these types of emails. Depending on your company and email traffic volume you might not want all these messages clogging up your inbox. I’ll try and get a blog post up in the next few days explaining how best to handle these emails.

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