Google's mail servers can be set up as the SMTP server for Moodle, although in many cases may not be suitable for a production system (see first heading below).
Is Google mail suitable for your requirements?
Google mail has a couple of limitations which make it unsuitable for many Moodle installs, please check the following two points before continuing.
- No support for multiple "From" addresses. When sending emails, Moodle attempts to send them "From" the email address of the user writing the message, this allows the recipient to reply directly to the sender via email. Google, both in their Gmail and Apps for Education product do not allow this - so any emails sent from the system will be from the account you use to authenticate on the SMTP server. To make things more confusing, the name will be the recipients, but the email address will be the SMTP account's email address, for example: "Dr Fred Bloggs" <firstname.lastname@example.org>. If you wanted to use Gmail's SMTP regardless, you would be advised to use a dedicated account for the purpose, and have an auto response so that messages to the address bounce back with an instruction to click on the link in the email and reply through Moodle.
- Daily limit of 500 sent messages. There is a daily limit on any one google account of 500 individual email messages, or 2000 recipients across all emails. Your account can get blocked if you go over this on a regular basis. If you have more than 500 users, it will only take one message to the front page news forum to exceed this quota.
GMail SMTP with Moodle 2.3
Using Gmail's SMTP servers is a very straight forward process. First navigate to the following location:
Location: Settings > Site administration > Plugins > Message outputs > Email
To get the SMTP servers functioning, only four values need to be set:
SMTP hosts: smtp.gmail.com:465 NOTE: Leave out the port (:465) in 1.9.2 or lower
SMTP security: SSL
SMTP username: Your email address @gmail.com or your own domain if using Google Apps
SMTP password: password for the above email account
You may get an email from Gmail saying that an external application is trying to access your account and Google will actually prevent this login process from succeeding.
To prevent this from happening, log into your gmail.com account and then visit: https://accounts.google.com/DisplayUnlockCaptcha
And you will then see the following message:
Sign in using the application you want to authorize access to your account within the next ten minutes. Google will remember the application after it signs in, and will allow it to access your account in the future as long as it uses the correct password.
After you have done this, you will then be able to send emails through the Google SMTP server.
- Email settings in Messaging settings