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Default routing setting

Default routing is one of multiple options on the "Email settings" page for managing mail routing and delivery. This feature enables you to set up a domain-wide routing policy that includes one or more settings. The settings apply only to inbound messages.

Note: Default routing controls are available only for G Suite and G Suite for Education customers.

To set up routing settings, you specify recipient addresses, and then specify an action to perform on mail intended for those recipients. If you set up multiple routing settings, you can arrange the rules in order of priority (see Ordering your routing settings).

An important use for Default routing is for setting up split delivery to route unregistered G Suite users to your on-premise mail server. This is useful when transitioning users from your legacy mail server to G Suite. You can also use Default routing to designate an existing user account as a catch-all address to receive messages that are addressed to non-existent users in your domain.

After you configure an advanced Gmail setting, it may take up to one hour for that configuration to propagate to individual user accounts. You can track prior changes under Admin console audit log

For more information about configuring split delivery, catch-all addresses, and other routing options, see Managing mail routing and delivery: Guidelines and best practices.

Note: Default routing takes lower precedence than other advanced Gmail settings (for example, Content compliance or Attachment compliance).


Configuring a Default routing setting for a domain
  1. Sign in to the Google Admin console.
  2. Click Apps, then click G Suite > Gmail.
  3. Click Default routing.
  4. Click Add setting.
  5. From the drop-down list, specify the envelope recipients to match. Select one of the following:
    • Single recipient—Specify a single user by typing an email address; for example,
    • Pattern match—Type a regular expression to specify a set of recipients in your domain.
    • Group membership—Select from one or more groups in the list. (Note: Create your groups from the Groups tab).
    • All recipients—Specify all recipients in your domain. By default, this only affects unrecognized addresses.
  6. In the If the envelope recipient matches the above, do the following section, specify what action to perform on a message when the conditions are met for the routing setting. You have two options in the drop-down list: Reject message or Modify message.

    Reject message

    This option rejects the message before it reaches the intended recipient. You can enter customized text for the rejection notice. Note: Any routing settings with this action specified are automatically placed at the top of the Default routing priority list (see Ordering your routing settings).

    Modify message

    This option enables you to modify messages by adding headers, changing the route, changing the envelope recipient, adding more recipients (additional, or secondary routes), and removing attachments.

    See the following descriptions for more details about routing controls:

    Add X-Gm-Original-To header

    By checking this box, a header tag is added in case the recipient is changed so that the downstream server can know the original envelope recipient; for example, X-Gm-Original-To:

    Adding the X-Gm-Original-To header is useful if you're rerouting a copy of the message to another recipient. In this case, you're changing the recipient address, but the new recipient wants to know the address of the original envelope recipient. The new recipient can see the original envelope recipient by checking the X-Gm-Original-To header box in the message.

    Add X-Gm-Spam header and X-Gm-Phishy header

    Messages that are routed through Gmail are automatically filtered for spam and phishing. Selecting Add X-Gm-Spam header and X-Gm-Phishy header adds the following headers to indicate the spam and phishing status of the message:

    For spam

    0 indicates that a message is not spam: X-Gm-Spam: 0

    1 indicates that a message is spam: X-Gm-Spam: 1

    For phishing

    0 indicates that a message is not phishing: X-Gm-Phishy: 0

    1 indicates that a message is phishing: X-Gm-Phishy: 1

    Note: Any message marked as phishy is automatically marked as spam.

    Selecting the Add X-Gm-Spam header and X-Gm-Phishy header option enables an administrator at a downstream server to set up rules that handle spam and phishing differently from clean mail.

    Add custom headers

    You can add one or more custom headers to messages that are affected by a Receiving routing setting, Sending routing setting, or other setting. For example, you can add a header that matches the description that you entered for the setting. This can be helpful for analyzing why a message was routed in a certain way, or why a filter was triggered.

    Prepend custom subject

    You can enter a string to prepend to the subject of messages. For example, if you enter Confidential, message recipients might see the following subject: [Confidential] Monthly report.

    Change route and Reroute spam

    Change route
    The Change route option enables you to change the destination of the message. By default, the Gmail mail server is the primary delivery location. However, you can change the delivery location; for example, by routing mail to an on-premise mail server such as Microsoft Exchange.

    Before you can change the delivery location, you must first add mail routes with the Hosts tab. The routes that you add on the Hosts tab are then visible in the route drop-down list.

    Reroute spam
    The Reroute spam option is visible when you check the Change route box. Reroute spam enables you to route all mail that matches the criteria of the setting, including mail that has been marked as spam. If you check the Change route box but do not check the Reroute spam box, then normal mail is rerouted but spam mail is not rerouted (spam messages are stored in the G Suite platform for 30 days).


    • Whether you check the Reroute spam box or not, blatant spam is not rerouted since it’s dropped instantly at delivery time.
    • If mail is classified as spam but one of the G Suite email settings overrides that (for example, due to a sender whitelist), then the mail is not considered to be spam for this purpose and will be rerouted as normal mail.
    Change envelope recipient

    To change the envelope recipient, click the option next to the Replace recipient field, and enter the user's email address; for example,

    Changing the envelope recipient for a message on the primary delivery is equivalent to forwarding a message to a different recipient. You can also change the envelope recipient on the additional (secondary) delivery, which is equivalent to a "bcc".

    Bypass spam filter for this message

    Select this option to deliver incoming messages to recipients even if the spam filter identifies these messages as spam.

    Remove attachments from this message

    Select this option to remove any attachments from messages. Optionally, you can append text to notify recipients that attachments were removed.

    Add more recipients

    Check the Add more recipients box to set up additional (or secondary) deliveries for dual delivery or multiple delivery.

    Select Basic from the drop-down list to add individual email addresses, and then click Save. You can add multiple recipient addresses by clicking Add.

    Select Advanced from the drop-down list to choose advanced options for your secondary delivery. Similar to the settings that you modified for the primary delivery, you can change the envelope recipient, add headers, prepend a custom subject, and remove attachments for the secondary deliveries.

    Any settings that you configure for the primary delivery also affect the secondary deliveries. For example, if you change the envelope recipient, prepend a custom subject, and add custom headers to the primary delivery, the same configuration is applied to the secondary deliveries.

    For secondary deliveries, the Do not deliver spam to this recipient and Suppress bounces from this recipient boxes are checked by default. Suppress bounces from this recipient prevents bounces from going back to the original sender.
  7. In the Options section, choose whether or not to perform the action only on unrecognized addresses. You can also choose both recognized and unrecognized addresses.

    Note: Suspended users are considered unrecognized users.
  8. Click Save > Save changes at the bottom of the "Email settings" page.
Ordering your routing settings

The Default routing tab enables you to configure multiple routing settings for your domain. Each routing setting specifies a recipient (or recipients) and an action to perform on any mail intended for the recipients.

The "Default routing" page displays a list of settings. To adjust a setting, click Edit. To delete the setting, highlight the check box in the left column, and click Delete. You can also adjust the order (or priority) of the settings on this page. 

Note: G Suite applies all routing settings you specify to the affected inbound messages. If two settings conflict, G Suite applies the setting with the higher priority and ignores the lower-priority conflicting setting. However, any settings that specify Reject are automatically assigned the highest priority, even if you have assigned a higher priority number to another setting.
  1. To assign first (highest) priority to a routing setting, in the Order column, type 1 adjacent to the setting.
  2. Click anywhere on the Default routing page to save the change.
  3. Repeat these steps for assigning other priority numbers, such as 2 or 3.
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