WordPress.com Domain Mapping, Email, and Android

Domain mapping is one of the paid upgrades available for WordPress.com. I use it: that’s why this blog shows up as changingway.org (it was born as changingway.wordpress.com, and will still answer to that uri). I also use the custom email feature of the domain mapping upgrade: that’s why you can email me as andrew at changingway.org.

I recently got an Android phone, and I want to use my changingway.org email on it. I could of course use the Android’s browser. But I’d prefer to use its Email application. Why? I’ll defer that question until the end of the post.

This post is mainly about how to use the Android Email app with the custom email feature of WordPress.com domain mapping. Usually, Email setup is pretty much a matter of giving the app an email address/password combination. For custom email, you need to do more than that.

Instead, you need to do some manual setup. You’ll need to tell the Email app about some things you’ll find on your custom email web site. Starting at the web page from which you manage your custom email, click on Settings (near the top right of the page) and then on Forwarding and POP/IMAP. You want IMAP (see here for why it’s preferable to POP).

Make sure IMAP is enabled, and click on Configuration Instructions. This will take you to a list of email clients and mobile devices: Android is of course a mobile device. Clicking on Android will take you to some incoming settings (e.g., IMAP server is imap.gmail.com) and outgoing settings (e.g., SMTP server is smtp.gmail.com).

Tell your Android’s Email app about these settings. It’ll ask you for them after you provide your custom email username and password. Note that your username includes your domain (e.g., andrew at changingway.org, not just andrew).

You have a few decisions to make, some of them arising from the fact that the Email app can manage multiple email addresses. You’ll need to give your custom email a name, and decide whether it’s the default address when you send from the email app. For example, the app on my Android knows andrew at changingway.org as CW, and uses it as the default address for outgoing mail.

If you are the target audience – people wanting to use the Android Email app with the email they got when they mapped a domain to their WordPress.com blog – then I hope that this how-to post was helpful.

Now, from how to why, and to three specific questions of why.

  • Why prefer the Email app to checking email from the Android browser? My main reason is that the Email app can display a new mail notification icon at the top of the Android screen.
  • Why use the Email app, rather than the Gmail app that also comes on Android phones? After all, the custom email account is a Gmail account. I haven’t tried the Gmail app. My wife actually bought the phone, and had it set up with her Gmail. So I’m not sure whether a custom email could be used for the Gmail app. If it can, I suspect that some of the above will be helpful.
  • Why use this phone in the first place? Some have said that the G1 isn’t built for email. Well, the G1 is the phone I have, and it works pretty well, for email and for other things. And there will be many more Android phones, each seeking to improve on the G1.

WordPress.com: Upgrades

I have two questions for you. I need to lead up to them…

Shortly after starting this blog at WordPress.com, I chose the Simpla theme, purchased the custom CSS upgrade, and customized the CSS. I also purchased the domain mapping upgrade.

That was almost a year ago. The theme-related posts (to which I linked above) have been steady sources of page views ever since.

My WordPress.com dashboard has started to remind me of the anniversary, and that I need to buy Automattic an anniversary present if want to continue the CSS upgrade for a further year. I’m inclined not to purchase it, since the custom CSS already in place will stay. What you purchase is editable CSS, rather than custom CSS; this was clarified in a support forum topic.

So the first of my questions is: are there any further changes to the CSS for this blog I should make before my upgrade runs out at the end of this month? In other words, CSS geeks, is there anything else I should change?

The second of my two questions is: why isn’t the dashboard reminding me of the fact that my domain mapping upgrade is about to run out? It expires at the same time as my CSS upgrade. It may be something to do with the fact that I buy the mapping, and not the domain itself, from Automattic.