In this guide, we will discuss how to change your Google Workspace primary domain, or at least, the domain you use for all your activities. We will actually be utilizing a secondary domain due to limitations of Google Workspace for Education plans.
Why change your domain? Maybe your organization’s name has changed or you have a lengthy state K12 domain. For example, Liberty.k12.xx.us. A new custom domain, like Libertyschools.com or Libertyedu.org, is much shorter and easier to remember.
All Google Workspace for Education plans are unable to change their primary domain. However, there is another way. Think of the primary domain as the domain that is tied to your billing information for Workspace. The primary domain is not required for user accounts or web services; you can use a secondary domain for that.
CAUTION – Before updating domains
- Plan this change over a weekend or a period when classes and services will not be impacted.
- DNS records can take several hours to update before accounts can use their new domain.
- Plan on keeping your primary administrator account on your original, primary domain.
- Communicate with your staff of the upcoming changes and how they will log in in the future.
- You must perform this change with an account with Super Administrator privileges.
Add your Secondary Domain
- Sign in to your Google Admin Console.
- In the Admin Console, go to Menu -> Account -> Domains -> Manage Domains.
- Click “Add a Domain” -> Select “Secondary Domain Type.”
- Enter Domain name -> Click “Add Domain & Start Verification.”
- => [How to verify your domain]
- If you have a domain set as an alias but want to use it as your secondary domain, you will need to delete the alias and add it back as a secondary domain. NOTE: This can take a few hours for DNS change to propagate before allowing you to add the domain back as a secondary. If you receive an error message, wait an hour and try again.
Update your users with the new domain
- In the Admin Console, go to Menu -> Directory -> Users.
- Click on a user to open their account page -> Rename User.
- Under “Primary Email” -> Select the new secondary domain.
- To do this in bulk, you can do a mass update with a CSV.
- On the users screen, click the top menu item “Bulk Update Users.”
- On the next screen click “Download user info in CSV File”
- Open the CSV file and copy all of the email addresses in column C – Email Address.
- Paste those email addresses into column G – New Primary Email.
- Select column G and perform a find and replace.
- Search for your old domain and replace it with the new secondary domain.
- Make sure to leave any accounts you want to keep on the old domain blank, such as your primary admin account or service accounts.
- Save the CSV and upload it through the Bulk update users screen.
- All accounts have now been updated with the new secondary domain, and the previous domain is now set as an alias. Email will still be received at the old address.
Update Chromebooks for the new domain
- In the Admin Console, go to Menu -> Devices -> Chrome -> Settings -> Device.
- Select the OU for your devices.
- Find “Sign-in restriction”, add *@newdomain.com (your new domain)
- Find “Autocomplete Domain” and update the domain setting to the new domain.
- Test a Chromebook, and it should update to the new domain.
You may encounter some other issues with third-party services. For the most part, most Google integrations will update with the change. Some services, like Clever or web content filters, may need to be updated by contacting their support teams regarding the change.
Users’ mobile apps should update automatically with the new domain. There may be rare occurrences where this does not happen, and they will need to remove the account and add it back on their mobile device.
A Shiny New Domain
If all is planned accordingly, you should now have an updated secondary domain, updated user accounts, and the ability to use the domain on Chromebooks, all with minimal to no downtime to your users.