Monday, February 8, 2016

Changing your Google Apps primary domain on your free legacy account

Note: This is a shared article - all credits go to Jen who first published it at: Swapping your Google Apps primary domain to your secondary domain (for dummies). I have tried it at two Google App accounts and it worked like a charm.

I know, I know, most of you are reading this and thinking, WTF? WTveryF are you talking about now? And that’s fair, this is a little out there, even for me. But I’ve just spent the better part of today trying to change the domain of my free Google Apps account, and now that I’ve made it happen, I feel I should share.
I am one of those lucky few who signed up for a free Google Apps account way back when there was such a thing, but somewhere along the line my domain changed. There’s a type A coder in my head, and she’s mostly ridiculed and pushed around by the rest of the gals upstairs, but she really likes things to be nice and orderly, so today she’s had a go at being in charge.

If I haven’t lost you yet, it may be because you CARE about the outcome! Perhaps you chanced upon my blog in a desperate attempt to change your OWN primary domain! Well then, my friend, I shall get right to it! And I’m going to make it SUPER easy:

* A note! As commentator have kindly pointed out, this method only allows you to have ONE DOMAIN and keep your free account. You can have a bunch of aliases too, but ONLY ONE DOMAIN. Sorry, those are the Googley Rules for free accounts now.

Legacy Google Apps Users:
  1. If you’re lucky enough to have a FREE FREE FREE account, you need to upgrade to the free 30 day enterprise trial. Don’t forget to downgrade before the 30 days are up, or you’ll lose your FREE FREE FREE account!!!
  2. You can upgrade from the Admin page of your Google Apps account. Seriously, let me help you, log in here:
Adding a Secondary Domain:
  1. Righto, so you’ve upgraded to a paid account (free for 30 days) – if you have a paid account, you’re already on track. Go back to the admin console, and click on ‘Domains’. If you can’t see ‘Domains’, click on ‘more controls’ at the bottom of the page. Okay, fine, just click here:
  2. Click on the add a domain or alias button, and then add another domain. Don’t add an alias, okay, if you were happy with an alias you wouldn’t have searched out this post.
  3. Follow Google’s verification steps.
Swapping your Primary and Secondary Domains:
  1. Go here:
  2. You’re in customer update now, click on Try It Now (it’s in blue).
  3. Make sure you’re logged into your relevant Google account (you should see your mail address in the top right corner).
  4. Next to customerKey type: my_customer
  5. Next to fields type: customerDomain
  6. Click next to ‘Request Body’, and in the –add a property– drop-down that appears, choose: customerDomain
  7. The following will magically appear: “customerDomain”:
  8. Type your secondary domain in the box next to “customerDomain”: (leave out the www. bit, just type in
  9. Click Authorise and Execute
  10. Your secondary domain is now your primary domain!
Legacy Users
  1. Downgrade your account if you don’t want to lose your FREE FREE FREE account!!!
  2. You need to remove your secondary domain (what used to be your primary domain) first. Go here to delete it:
  3. Once you’ve deleted your secondary domain, click on billing in the Admin console, and in the drop-down next to Google Apps for Work, click cancel subscription.
  4. Choose the downgrade account option.
  5. Submit.
That is all.
Ja, I know, that was a lot. But a lot less than the four hours I’ve spent figuring it out.

1 comment:

  1. A copy of my comment to the original post:

    Ok, so as I said just above I have 2 Google Apps account and tried them one by one. One is in my primary use and other as a back up that I use as need arises and if I dont want to use my company associated google apps account (such as for new ventures or experimentation). Both these accounts were previously registered on a different primary domain.

    I first tried this method on my backup / extra account to be sure – worked perfectly.

    However, while going through the first process, I noticed that at the time I added the new domain to my account, I did not add it as “alias”. I had added it as secondary domain (at that time google allowed this for legacy accounts – somewhere in mid 2013). The same was the case for my second google apps account too.

    So I noticed that the upgrade and downgrade was not really necessary and for my in-use actual google apps account, I just skipped upgrading at all and just ran the swap steps and that worked like a charm. The secondary domain which was my in-use apps account became primary and the former primary domain became secondary. I was easily able to remove it on wish and could have just left it there but removed as I no longer have access to it and hence patched this security loophole by completely removing it.

    In short, if your google account had a secondary domain added from before and you want *that domain* to be primary now and not *any other*, you can do so without upgrading by simply running the remaining authorize & execute steps to swap.

    Bug: I noticed that there’s a bug in this. My backup / extra google apps account’s super admin still has the email address it had now as an “alternate email” in the “my account” settings for that specific account (the domain alias is not there, nor is there any secondary domain left and when accessed from admin panel, there are no alias emails too). This is just an “alternate email” (not secondary email). And I can not amend this unlike the secondary email option. Still when I try to log in to google with my into google, it is not recognized at all and I can only sign in using the new primary email. Just buggy I guess. —— Also note that I did not see this issue occur in my second swap in which I did on my actual / in-use google apps account. There is no alternate email in “my accounts” for that super admin and things are pristine there which confuses me as to why this happened in the first case only.

    Thanks for such an awesome find. Hats off to you, Jen.


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