Improve support for non-Gmail-account email forwarding

  • 12 August 2021
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The standard mailbox setup suggests you create a dedicated gmail-based user account that then configures its mailbox at the user level to forward mail into the dedicated Freshdesk email address. Google wants to ensure you have control of the forwarded email address, so it sends a verification email with a code that you can retrieve through the Freshdesk “verification” process. This is simple enough but it requires an active gmail user account — something that costs money and is not necessary.  

Instead, you can setup most mail servers (including in Google GSuite) to do a server side forwarding (GSuite calls it a “recipient address mapping”) that relays mail without creating a dedicated account or mailbox on your server.  This works great — and immediately — without even bothering to send a verification code.  You don’t need to hit the Freshdesk verify button at all because (I guess) Google trusts GSuite admins more than gmail users, so there’s no need to relay a verification code back to Google.

Now, the frustrating part is that Freshdesk conflates _Google’s_ verification that you have control of the Freshdesk email with _Freshdesk’s_ verification that the Google email successfully forwards.  Clicking through the Freshdesk “Verify” workflow is a two step process; Freshdesk first relays Gmail’s authentication code (for Gmail’s verification), and then it sends an email to test the forward is active (for Freshdesk’s verification).  If you’re not using a Gmail account, there’s no way to get past step one because no Gmail verification code gets sent.

For the most part, I’ve not seen a problem using an email that still has a pending “Verify” button… except you must have at least one verified email on your company domain in order to get that domain to appear for DKIM setup.  This is a bizarre and completely superficial restriction that is apparently (according to support) impossible to bypass.  Through trial and error, I’ve discovered two possible workarounds: You can just use a dummy account (e.g., an existing account at your company domain) that already has a gmail user-account and can do the song and dance Freshdesk expects, or you can actually generate the gmail verification email by temporarily adding the Freshdesk email as a possible forward for _any_ account on your domain.  Yes, the “Verify” workflow doesn’t actually care if the verification code comes from the address you are using.

This is silly.  It’s not hard to support server-side forwarding — Freshdesk already does it almost without trouble! The only snag is that the “verify” workflow cannot skip past Gmail’s verification.

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