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Create a user start page

This article is for classic Google Sites. For help with Google Sites instead, visit the Google Sites Help Center.

A start page appears when people in your organization log in to their Google Workspace accounts. This page provides immediate access to services and other content, such as interactive gadgets and updated content.

The start page template allows administrators to limit access to some content on users' start pages. This is especially appropriate for organizations such as K–12 schools.

Note: The start page in classic Google Sites doesn't add a link at the top of users' Gmail or other Google services pages. Currently, a Gmail gadget isn't available for the start page in classic Google Sites.

How the start page works

On the start page, you can add content, including text, images, and gadgets, in a locked area users can't modify. You can also choose a theme and other design elements for the page. At any time, you can update the locked area and page design. All users' start pages will reflect the changes.

Below the locked area on the start page, users can add gadgets of their choice from the public directory to personalize the page. By whitelisting or blacklisting them, you can specify which of these gadgets users can add to their start page. 

For even more control over start page content, you can also create private gadgets that are only visible to users in your organization's domain.

For details, see Add gadgets, scripts & more to Classic Sites.

Before you begin

Start pages are available with Google Workspace and Google Workspace for Education only. Before you begin creating your start page, ensure that your organization's Google Workspace account has Google Sites enabled.

People who will use the start page must be in an organizational unit for which Google Sites is turned on. Read more about organizational units.

Create a user start page

If you have users in different domains, users in non-primary domains need to sign in using their full email address, as described in step 5 below.

Step 1: Create a start page
  1. Sign in to classic Google Sites, using your administrator account.
  2. Click Create.
  3. Enter a name for the site.
    Because the name will appear at the top of users's start pages and in the URL for the site, you might want to choose a name like "Google Workspace Start Page."
  4. When ready, click Create.
  5. Click the gear icon at the top of the page and select Manage site.
  6. Click Page templates and ensure that Start Page is selected.
  7. Click the site title to return to the site.
  8. Create the start page:
    1. Click Add "".
    2. Under Select a template to use, select Start Page.
    3. In the Name field, enter the name you want to use for the start page.
      Users will see this name at the top of their start page, so you might want to name it "Start" or "Start Page."
    4. Click Create.
Step 2: Add content to the start page
  1. On the start page you just created, click Edit "".
  2. In the area at the top of the page, add the content you want users to always see, such as text, images, and gadgets.
    This area is "locked," so users can't modify it. Below the locked area is where users can customize their page.
  3. Once you are finished setting up the "locked" area of the page, click Save.
  4. Optionally, click Add personal gadgets to add suggested gadgets for users.
    Users can remove these gadgets if they like.
Step 3: Customize the start page design

Create a design for your users' start pages using page and site templates.

Step 4: Create a custom web address for the start page

To customize the web address (URL) for the start page, you'll need to update your domain's CNAME records.

  1. Sign in to your Google Admin console.

    Sign in using your administrator account (does not end in @gmail.com).

  2. In the Admin console, go to Menu ""and then"" Appsand thenGoogle Workspaceand thenSites.
  3. Click Custom URL.
    If you don’t have the privilege to manage custom URLs, a warning will appear. For details, see Verify your domain for Google Workspace.
  4. Click Add "".
  5. Select Classic Sites as site type and click Continue.
  6. In the Google Sites URL field, enter your Classic Sites home page URL.

    When entering the URL, remove the https:// prefix and any trailing slash (/) at the end of the URL. For example: sites.google.com/a/yourdomain/yoursitename.

  7. Click Continue.
  8. Enter the custom URL you want users to access as their start page.

    We recommend something easy to remember such as start.yourdomain.com.

  9. Click Continue.
  10. Set up the CNAME record with your domain host.

    You update the CNAME record on your domain host’s website, not in the Admin console. Each domain host has a different process. For more details, read Add a CNAME record.

  11. Click Add Custom URL.

It might take up to 24 hours for the custom URL to become active. 

Step 5: Share the start page with your users
  1. Once your CNAME records are updated, go back to the site you created for the start page.
  2. Share the site with your domain: Click the gear icon and select Manage siteand thenSharing and Permissions.
  3. Under Who has access, ensure Anyone at your domain can find and view is selected. 
    • With domain-only sharing, users can use the custom URL to access the site, but the original URL appears in the URL field after the site is accessed (for example, sites.google.com/a/yourdomain/sitename). You must set sharing to Public on the web for the custom URL to appear in the URL field after the site is accessed.
    • Don't allow users to edit the site. To set view access only, click Change and select Can view from the Access menu.
  4. Tell your users they can access their new personal start page at the web address you specified.

If multiple domains are associated with your organization's Google Workspace account: Users whose accounts are not in your primary domain can't sign in to the start page using the default sign-in screen. Instead, on the sign-in screen, they need to click Sign in with a different account, then provide their full email address:

Once users sign in to their new start page, they can click Add personal gadgets to customize their page.

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