Configure options for non-Gmail mailbox users

If your organization uses a non-Gmail mail server, you can reroute messages to users’ non-Gmail mailboxes using the Non-Gmail mailbox setting. Examples of non-Gmail servers include Microsoft Exchange or other non-Google SMTP services.

Message Center deprecation: Message Center is a web console where Gmail users view and manage spam email messages. Message Center and Quarantine Summary will no longer be available to G Suite users after September 2019. We recommend using the methods described in Manage Spam Messages to manage spam when Message Center is no longer available.

Answers to common administrator questions about Message Center deprecation are in Manage Spam Messages.

Use the Non-Gmail mailbox setting to turn on the following for non-Gmail users:

  • Spam filtering
  • Content compliance
  • Mail routing

The Non-Gmail mailbox setting allows non-Gmail users to sign in to Message Center and set up quarantine summary reports. Message Center and quarantine summaries allow your non-Gmail users to manage spam. These features are for non-Gmail users only.

Message Center and email access

Turning on Message Center affects user access to Gmail. When Message Center is turned on, users cannot access their Gmail account using Gmail web and mobile apps. Read the Warning below for more details.

Users can still access Gmail using Google or third-party applications and features, including:

  • IMAP/POP
  • Google Sync
  • Services that use the Gmail API

If you do not want users to access Gmail with these applications, you must disable them.

Warning: Use the Non-Gmail mailbox setting only for users whose mailboxes are in on-premise, non-Gmail mail servers. Do not turn on the non-Gmail mailbox setting for Gmail users. Gmail users will lose access to Gmail from Gmail web and mobile applications, and most of their messages will be deleted.

When the Non-Gmail mailbox setting is turned on, messages for non-Gmail users are deleted after 30 days. Messages are saved for 30 days to support Quarantine Summary and Message Center for non-Gmail users.

Message Center

Message Center is a console where users can view and manage mail messages quarantined as spam. Message Center can also show messages that were delivered to non-Gmail inboxes (not spam).

With Message Center, users can: 

  • Delete messages.
  • Create whitelists of approved contacts.
  • Customize sign-in and display settings.
  • Identify messages falsely identified as spam and mark them as safe for delivery. This trains the system to avoid identifying similar messages as spam. Future similar messages will be delivered to the user's non-Gmail Inbox. Check the Allow users to report spam box to turn on this feature.

Note: Messages are removed from Message Center after 30 days. Messages in the Delivered folder will still be available in the user's non-Gmail Inbox.

Learn more about how to Manage messages in Message Center.

User access to Message Center

Message Center is at: http://email-quarantine.google.com/messagecenter

Users log in to Message Center with their G Suite username and password. If a user can't remember their password, you can reset that user's password.

When you give users access to Message Center, G Suite does not notify them. We recommend you send users a notification email when you give them access to Message Center. Here's an example you can use.

Quarantine summary reports

The quarantine summary is a report emailed to users. The report is a list of emails recently marked as spam. Users can scan this list for falsely quarantined messages and mark them as not spam. Messages marked as not spam are then sent to the user's non-Gmail inbox. Marking valid messages as not spam trains the system to not identify similar messages as spam.

We recommend you check the Allow users to report spam box. When this option is selected, the report also includes emails the system did not mark as spam. Users can mark these messages as spam as needed. This trains the system to identify similar messages as spam.

Users can change message status later, from not spam to spam, or conversely. They can change message status in the quarantine summary report. Users must change a message status within 30 days of getting the original message -- not the report. Users get an error message when they click a Deliver or Report spam link after the message has expired.

Note: Quarantine summary reports have a From address of noreply@email-quarantine.google.com. The envelope sender is the same as the message recipient. Use Email Log Search to search for a quarantine summary report. Search for the report recipient and use the recipient address as the sender address.

This is an example quarantine summary report:

Quarantine summary report

Report contents

If no spam messages were quarantined during the report period, users get a quarantine summary report indicating they didn't get any spam.

Users who don't get any mail during the report period may get a report showing they got some spam messages. Spam messages are not delivered to their inbox.

When Allow users to report spam is turned off and no messages are quarantined, users get an empty report. Empty reports can confuse users. To avoid this, you can instruct users to manually check their messages by logging into Message Center, instead of using reports.

Learn more about how users can interact with the quarantine summary report. 

Configure the Non-Gmail mailbox setting

Like other email security settings, the Non-Gmail mailbox setting applies to all users in an organizational unit. Users in child organizations inherit the settings from the parent.

If you turn on this setting, you can't route the primary mail stream to a Gmail mailbox. G Suite does not support the use of both a Gmail mailbox and another non-Gmail mailbox. Choose one Gmail or one non-Gmail mailbox, for your users.

For more details about email routing, including use cases and examples, visit Email routing and delivery.

  1. Sign in to your Google Admin console.

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

  2. From the Admin console Home page, go to Appsand thenG Suiteand thenGmailand thenAdvanced settings.

    Tip: To see Advanced settings, scroll to the bottom of the Gmail page.

  3. If you haven't, add the receiving routes for your server.

  4. On the left, select an organization.

  5. Scroll to the Non-Gmail mailbox section, or enter this term in the Search settings field.

    • If the setting is Not configured yet, point to the setting and click Configure.

    • If the setting is Locally applied or Inherited, point to the setting and click Edit or Add another to edit or add a new setting.

  6. Enter a short description for this configuration; for example, Non-Gmail Mailbox Settings.

  7. In the Mail server section, select a mail host from the list.

  8. To let users access the Message Center, select the Allow users to log in to Message Center option.

  9. To turn on quarantine summaries for your users, select the Enable periodic summaries option and:

    • Select an approximate delivery time, based on the time zone for your domains in the Google Admin console.

    • Select the days of the week. For example, select all seven boxes so users get a quarantine summary every day. Or, select just one box so they get the summary once a week.

  10. To include inbox mail messages in Message Center and the summary report, select the Allow users to report spam (recommended) option. This option is automatically selected when you select the Enable periodic summaries option.

  11. Click Add setting or Save. Any new settings are added to the Advanced settings page.

  12. On the bottom, click Save.

It can take up to an hour for changes to propagate to user accounts. You can track changes in the Admin console audit log.

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