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How to Setup Google Workspace Essentials Starter – Free Edition

Abhishek Agrawal
By Abhishek A Agrawal
May 18, 2022
Table of Contents

    Are you aware that starting June 1, 2022, the G Suite legacy free edition will no longer be accessible? If you are still using G-suite products and have not switched to Google Workspace yet, now is the time to do so.

    You’re probably thinking you’ll have to pay for the Google Workspace subscription, aren’t you?

    Well, not necessarily!

    Google has come up with Workspace Essentials Starter, a free tool that provides all the essential productivity apps to get started quickly, including Chat, Calendar, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, and more.

    In this article, we’ll show you how to set up Google Workspace Essentials Starter for free. We also have a solution for the typical problem that many people have when it comes to setting up Workspace Starter Essentials without a business email address.

    So, without further ado, let’s get started!

    What is Google Workspace Essentials Starter

    If you are a G Suite user, you know that G Suite was designed specifically for businesses. On the other hand, Google Workspace Essentials is for everyone. Whether you’re a student, a small business owner, or a large enterprise, Google Workspace has something to offer.

    Moreover, Google Workspace Essentials Starter is a free version of Google’s Workspace Essentials suite that includes all the essential tools like Chat, Calendar, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, and more.

    So, if you have an email address that you use for business purposes, you can sign up for Google Workspace Essentials Starter and get started in no time.

    You may establish numerous teams with a single domain, each with a maximum of 25 members.

    What comes with Google Workspace Essentials Starter

    Google Workspace Essentials Starter has everything you need to get up and running quickly, including:

    • Google Drive: A single, safe location to store, access, and share your documents.
    • Google Docs: Create team documents such as spreadsheets, presentations, etc
    • Google Sheets: Spreadsheets for fast-moving businesses that are collaborative, intelligent, and secure.
    • Google Slides: For creating beautiful presentations.
    • Google Meet: Secure video meetings for teams and businesses
    • Google Chat: Simplified 1:1 messaging and group collaboration.
    • Google Calendar: Integrated online calendars designed for teams.
    • Google Forms: Easy to create surveys and forms for teams.
    • Google Sites: Effortlessly create impactful team sites.
    • Google Keep: Note-taking and to-do lists for teams.

    *Important: The Google Workspace Essentials Starter does not include Gmail.

    These collaborative tools from Google help your team work smarter and faster.

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    How to setup Google Workspace Essentials Starter for Free

    To set up Google Workspace Essentials Starter, you need a business email address (For example,Β  [email protected]). You cannot sign up with an address of a public web host (like,, etc ). However, we have a way out πŸ˜‰

    To know the trick, keep reading further.

    Steps to set up Google Workspace Essentials:

    Signup for your Account:

    If you are already a Google Workspace Business/ Enterprise account user and your team consists of members belonging to the same domain as yours, then you need not create a separate account or perform any of the further steps. The reason being Google Workspace paid editions already have everything set, including Gmail and other apps. So, just jump over and start inviting users to your workspace.

    But, if you want to form a team with other members outside your Business domain or those with no corporate emails, then you will have to use another domain (or buy a new one) and set up your account. 

    For example, if you are already using Google Workspace Business Essentials for theΒ domain, and want to set up a team including members outside the domain ( like [email protected]), then you can use/buy another domain like / to set up your account.

    Once you have your business domain, simply follow these steps to create and set up your account:

    1. Visit here and click on the ‘Create an account‘ button. In case you do not have a business email address, first follow the steps here, set up email forwarding (for your email-id that has an email account),Β  and then continue to the next step.

      Googl Workspace Create Account
    2. Enter your business email address and click on the β€˜next’ button.

      Google Workspace SignUp
    3. You then get a verification mail.

      Google Workspace Essentials  verify your account
    4. Complete the verification and set up your account by providing details like first name, last name, name of the account, and password.

      Google Workspace Essentials  setup your account
      Google Workspace Essentials setup your account
      Setup Google Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides with Google Workspace Essentials Starter

    Set Up Emails:

    We need to address 2 cases while setting up the emails.

    • Non-Google Email Accounts: If you want to form a team of members who have non-Google email accounts belonging to the same domain (For example a team of members who all have email accounts with, then just skip this step and jump to step 3 as it does not require any further settings. You can just proceed with your new account and add your team members.

    • No Email accounts on the same business domain: Here comes the tricky part that most people struggle for. In case your team needs to have members outside your business domain or maybe freelancers/solopreneurs who use their private email ids instead of business emails, then we need to use β€˜Email Forwarding’ to facilitate the formation of such teams. The settings to do so vary according to your domain and hosting provider. The below-mentioned steps are for Namecheap accounts.

      1. Login to your Namecheap account and access Domain List -> Advanced DNS -> Mail Settings. Change the settings to β€˜Email Forwarding’ from the dropdown list.

        free email forwarding
      2. Go to Domain List -> Domain -> Redirect Email

      3. Click on β€˜Add Forwarder’

        namecheap free email forwarding
      4. Create an alias for the member that you wish to add to your team and associate their corresponding email ids (which can be either personal email id/ email id from the same or other business domains)

        namecheap email forwarding gmail
      5. Once you add the aliases, you can send them invitations for joining the team. The invitation email will now be forwarded to their associated email ids. The members can then create their accounts using the alias email id and join the team for collaboration.

      6. Also, as a team admin, do not forget to set the email for the β€˜Catch All’  setting at Domain List -> Domain -> Redirect Email. Β Once set, deleting an alias does not hamper the receipt of its emails. Rather, those incoming emails are forwarded to the email configured for Catch All. This helps you catch all incoming mails for your domain.

        catch-all domain email

    Invite Users to your Workspace:

    Once your account is set, you can visit your team dashboard and invite members to your team as below:

    1. Click on β€˜Invite people’.

      google admin console is used to add , remove and update users
    2. The invited members receive mail for the same (as shown below).

      google admin console is used to add, remove and update users

    Once the team members accept the invitation and join, you all can now collaborate using the tools like Drive, chat, Slides, Sheets, etc

    Remove Users from your Workspace:

    At times, when you need to remove users from your workspace, consider the below cases:

    • Remove only from the workspace: To remove a user from your workspace, simply follow these steps:

      1. Visit Google admin console  -> Users -> Manage

        google admin console is used to add, remove and update users
      2. Click β€˜More Options’ next to the user you want to remove, and select Remove from the drop-down list that appears. You may also remove several people by selecting the checkmarks next to them and choosing β€˜Remove Users’ from the β€˜Options’ menu.

        google admin console is used to add, remove and update users
    • Remove from email forwarding: In case you have used β€˜Email Forwarding’ while setting up your workspace, you also need to remove the user from the email forwarding list. To do so you must delete the alias. Just visit Domain List -> Domain -> Redirect Email, and click on the trash icon next to the alias to be deleted.

      Remove from email forwarding

    Google Admin Console

    When you create a team using Google Workspace Essentials Starter, you can access the Google admin console. (

    Use the admin console for:

    • Managing users, billing, organizational unit, devices

      google admin console is used to add, remove and update users
    • Viewing product updates

      google admin console updates
    • Overviewing domains

      g suite admin can be used to add,remove and update users and settings
    • Exporting data

      g suite login is now google workspace login
    • Viewing alerts, tasks

      g suite login is now google workspace login
    • Setting up Google Video meet

      Google Video Meeting
    • Managing Rules

      google admin console sign in
    • Fetching reports of user activities

      google admin console sign in

    Google Workspace Essentials Starter: Use Cases

    Now that you know how to set up your Workspace, let us see how to improve your productivity with Google Workspace Essentials Starter:

    • Collaboration: Once you have set up your account, you can access Google Drive and C.U.S:

      1. Create files ( using Google Docs/ Sheets/ Slides) and Folders
      2. Upload Files and Folders
      3. Share Files and folders

        To share a file or folder, just right-click it and select β€˜Share’.Choose whether to share it with specific people or make it public. Also, decide what permissions you want to grant: You can also share docs from within the doc. To do so, click on β€˜File’ -> Share or click on the Share icon in the top right corner. It also has Google Meet integrated into the Docs, Sheets, and Slides files so that you can start a meeting and collaborate for changes or discussions by sharing your screen.

    • Version Control: Another great feature of Google Workspace is that it keeps track of all the changes made to a doc and you can always go back and view/restore an older version of the file. It becomes handy in scenarios when multiple users are working on the same file, and it is important to keep track of the changes made by each user.

      To check for the versions of your document, select File -> Version History -> Show Version history.  If you need to restore a previous version just select it and click on the β€˜Restore this Version’ button

    • Communication: Google Chat, helps you communicate with your team members one-on-one or in groups. You may also create rooms, which is a fantastic method for collaboration among employees. You may easily set up a space for your team to talk about a project, exchange files, assign tasks, and stay in touch. Simply choose β€˜Create a space’ from the ‘+‘ button in your Chat window.
    • Google Calendar: Schedule events, set reminders, and invite members of your team so that everyone is always on the same page. To do so,  simply open your Google Calendar and click on the “+” icon in the top left corner. From there, you can select “Create event” to get started setting up your event. Be sure to add a title, date, time, location, and any other relevant details so that everyone knows what the event is and when it’s happening. You can also set a reminder for yourself and/or invite others to the event. Once you’re happy with all the details, click “Save” and your event will be added to your calendar. You can always edit or delete an event by clicking on it and then selecting the appropriate option from the menu that appears.
    • Collective decisions and surveys:  Use Google Forms to create a survey or poll and get feedback from everyone in one place. Simply open your Google Forms and click on the “+” icon in the top left corner. From there, you can select “Create Form” to get started. Give your form a title and then start adding questions. You can choose from a variety of question types, including multiple-choice, short answers, checkboxes, and more. Once you’re done adding questions, click “Save” and your form will be saved in your workspace. You can then share the form with your team members so that they can fill it out and submit their responses.
    • Create professional web pages:  You can use Sites to create a website for your team or project. To do so, simply open your Sites and click on the “+” icon in the top left corner. From there, you can select “Create site” to get started. Give your site a name and then start adding content. You can add text, images, videos, and more. Once you’re done adding content, click “Save” and your site will be saved in your workspace.

    All these features make Google Workspace an ideal tool for collaboration among employees.

    What is the difference between Google Workspace Essentials Starter and Google Workspace Business Starter

    Google Workspace’s paid plans start with its Business starter edition. The major differences between the Business Starter and the Essentials Starter notably include:

    Google Workspace Essentials StarterGoogle Workspace Business Starter
    BillingFreeFlexible or Annual Billing
    Collaboration and video conferencingFree only for teams of up to 25 users.Supports more participants and advanced features, more pooled storage, and enterprise-grade security and management.
    Drive storage and Docs editorsβœ“βœ“
    Video conferencing with Meetβœ“
    ( Capping of 60 minutes and team meeting limited up to 100 members)
    Chat and chat spacesβœ“βœ“
    Add External Members to your Spaces (Groups)βœ“βœ˜
    Digital whiteboarding with Jamboardβœ“βœ“
    Notetaking with Keepβœ“βœ“
    Groups for Businessβœ˜βœ“
    Additional Google services (admin managed)βœ˜βœ“

    Why opt for Google Workspace Essentials

    The global pandemic forced organizations of all sizes to pivot and find new ways to stay productive. For many businesses, this meant moving to a remote work model.

    This was when many of them turned to Google Workspace for cloud-based collaboration and productivity tools.

    Several reasons that made people opt for Google Workspace Essentials include:

    • No cost access: Use existing emails to access Google products like Drive, Chat, Keep, Docs, Slides, etc for free
    • Flexibility: The tools are designed to work the way you want them to
    • Security: All your data is encrypted and stored in secure data centers
    • Collaboration: Allows teams to work together seamlessly, regardless of location
    • Affordability: Free for teams of up to 25 members
    • Easy access: Accessible from mobile devices, tablets, or computers. Drive for desktop also enables syncing of files and folders to a personal computer or Mac
    • Integrated tools: The Google Workspace tools are integrated, so you can easily switch between them.

    Google Workspace Essentials Starter: Features

    Google Workspace Essentials Starter makes it easy to personalize your workplace with cutting-edge collaboration tools.

    It is power-packed with the following features:

    • Use the current environment with ease and security: Even if your organization uses legacy tools and systems, you can still use all of the features in Google Workspace Essentials. The tools are designed to work with your current environment and are accessible from any device. There’s no need for a new email address, file conversions, new plug-ins, or desktop software. It also provides encrypted and secure access to files and safeguards their private information.
    • Favorite apps in one place: Get all the Google apps you love, like Drive, Calendar, Docs, Sheets, and Slides, and collaborate with your team in real-time.
    • Voice and video conferencing: Freely host and join video meetings with up to 100 people from anywhere.
    • Group and direct messaging: Use Chat and communicate and collaborate from virtually any place.
    • Productivity suite: Easily create and co-edit files with Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Forms.
    • Files available any time, any place: Store and share over 100 file types, even Microsoft Office files and co-edit them in real-time, from any device.
    • Digital whiteboarding: Collaborate with coworkers in real-time to communicate and visualize ideas using Jamboard.
    • Tasks tracking: Assign tasks while collaborating in Chat spaces and track them on your computer or phone.
    • Easy scheduling: Schedule video meetings and other events, get reminders about upcoming activities, and share calendars.
    • Shared notes: Capture, share, and collaborate on your notes on any device, anywhere. Easily create checklists, action items, voice memos, and more with Keep. 
    • Easily manage your team of collaborators: Add and remove team members effortlessly using a simple dashboard. You can also give another user full administrative control over your team’s Essentials account.

    All these features makes Workspace Essentials Starter a  great choice for businesses of any size who are looking for a free, easy-to-use, and feature-rich collaboration solution.


    If you are looking for a way to jump-start your business, or want to try out Google Apps for Work, then the Google Workspace Essentials Starter plan is perfect for you. The best part is that it is free to set up and comes with a lot of features. In this blog post, we walked through how to set up your account in various scenarios.

    We also gave an option for you to set up your account without a business email address using aliases and email forwarding.

    With all the guidance on setting up Google Workspace Essentials Starter, you can now get your business up and running in no time! Thanks for reading.

    FAQs about Google Workspace Essentials Starter

    Is Gmail included in Google Workspace essentials Starter?

    No, Gmail is not included in Google Workspace essentials Starter
    Abhishek Agrawal
    Author - Abhishek A Agrawal
    Abhishek is the founder of Integrately, CompanyHub, and Dreamwares. He is passionate about technology and entrepreneurship. He is always looking to leverage technology for the growth of the business. He has a deep understanding of how businesses work and uses this knowledge to build products that help entrepreneurs grow their businesses.
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