After receiving some clarity on CiviMail settings and using a ton of guides - we were able to setup GSuite / GMail as our email provider. The answer to how we implemented it is below. If others have feedback - please chime in.
Setting up GSuite/Gmail as your CiviMail Provider.
Decide if Gmail/G Suite is right for you. The limits for GSuite users is 2000 sent messages sent per rolling 24 hour period. Regular @gmail.com users are limited to 500 sent messages per rolling 24 hour period. If you are an organization with less than 1000 email list contacts and you have Gsuite - this may be a good option for you - assuming you only send 1 email blast every 24 hours - to not exceed limits. If you are a regular Gmail user - this would only be a good option if you have less than 400 contacts that receive emails - and I would stagger your email blasts to maybe 100/hour. This would still leave you with 100 emails for regular communication and activity emails. Using the SMTP relay service - limits expand significantly - however - I have not tested the reported 10,000 emails per rolling 24 hours limit for SMTP-Relay.
Create two accounts in Gsuite/GMail, one that will be used as a bounce account and another that will be an email to activity account.
Follow these instructions on how to setup gmail as your email provider in CiviCRM. Same instructions apply for the bounce account except you will use the bounce email and select Used For Bounce Processing. You will need to allow access to less secure apps - if you use 2FA - you will need to setup an app password.
Setup your from email. If you are not using SMTP Relay - it must match the same email address you have in Gmail - or the Gmail server may reject your email. If you are using SMTP Relay - you should be able to add multiple from addresses as long as they are real email addresses that share your same domain. Meaning if your smtp relay is email@example.com, the only other emails you can use as from are @wonky.org. You would not be able to use a @gmail.com address.
Follow these instructions on how to configure your outbound email service. While the doc recommends using mail() - I found the best experience to be using the IMAP settings in your GSuite/GMail account - however - if you are a GSuite user - I highly recommend you use the SMTP-Relay service. Follow these instructions to setup your GSuite account for SMTP Relay - Comprehensive email storage is recommended for best deliverability - but we have not noticed much of a difference. Then use the following settings for your outbound mail settings.
- Server: ssl://smtp-relay.gmail.com
- Port: 465
- Authentication: Yes
- SMTP Username: complete email
- SMTP Password: password
Setup Cron & Mailer Settings
- We setup our mail cron to send batches every 15 minutes - we also limited batches to 250 contacts (Mailer Batch Limit). (Administer - CiviMail - Mailer Settings) We have also sent email without the mailer batch limit with success. We will be testing limits further and will update this answer.
I hope you found this guide useful - let me know if I should clear anything up or add anything else.
Do you use Gsuite as your outbound email in CiviCRM? If so - chime in with your thoughts!