So I was looking for a solution for using a Gmail account with my domain (willstare.com). After finding out that the free version of Google Apps is no longer offered to new customers, I was forced to come up with my own solution. I knew that Gmail allowed users to have an ‘alias address’ to send and receive from, but that required an active email account to work (for verification). Here’s what I did to get around that requirement.
Go to your domain host (I use domain.com), and configure a new email forwarder. You do not need to make an email account, only a forwarder. Forward the email address that you would like to create (ex: email@example.com) and point it to a Gmail account (ex: firstname.lastname@example.org). After doing that, make your Gmail account, and login. Open the settings and select Accounts and Import. Then select ‘Send mail as:’ and add your test account that you set up earlier (email@example.com).
Now it will require a verification email to be sent to confirm that you own the email account. Because you have already configured the email address to forward to your Gmail account, it will arrive in your inbox, technically confirming that you ‘own’ that address. Enter the verification number, and you should be set. This worked for me, I hope it helps others.