User Vs Alias vs Group - How to choose smartly

Google Workspace offers a few different ways to create your email addresses including users, groups, aliases etc, and understanding this can help you make the right decision and also save some money.

Let us first understand each of these in a bit more detail, so we can easily understand which one we should use based on our requirements.

User : A user has a dedicated email box with his/her own email address and password to login to Google Workspace, each user generally needs a Google Workspace license, hence it costs you every month.

You should use the user mailbox when there is a need for a dedicated user name and password to login to that mailbox, for example if your business has 25 employees and you want to provide all of them with their email mailbox, then it is better to go with creating these 25 user mailboxes in Google Workspace.

Alias : We all have nicknames, right:), wel, user mailboxes can have them too, yeah, trust me.

Let say you have a user mailbox with an email address and you pay to Google every month, however some of your friends know you as jeff, so you want an email address

Now in this case creating a new dedicated mailbox would be an overkill for you as you would then have two separate mailboxes (jeffrey@ and jeff@), and you would also need to pay for two mailboxes to Google.

Instead of creating new user mailboxes, you can rather create a nickname (or alias) email in Google Workspace, Google allows you to create up to 30 nickname emails per user mailbox.

So how does alias work then?

Once you have created an alias email in Google Workspace Administrator Console, then any email sent to this nickname email will actually come in your main mailbox remember.

Your main user mailbox is an identity, alias email is just a nickname, it doesn’t have its own mailbox, so if any one sends an email to your nickname (e.g in our example), then it will come to mailbox.

You can also set up your Gmail account in a way that outbound emails can be sent from your alias / nickname email address.

When should you use an alias or nickname account?

You should use alias email when you need a way to create multiple emails, however you want to deal with them all in one single mailbox.

Google Groups : When you create a Group inside Google Workspace, it provides you a unique email address, however groups do not have their own mailboxes like users, instead you add the users as members to the group (similar to whatsapp of facebook groups), and then whenever an email is sent to the group email address, it gets distributed to all the members of the groups.

Google Workspace provides a few different types of groups that we’ll talk about in a different article, for now, just keep in mind that groups can be used as distribution lists.

So whenever you have a use case where you want an email to act like a distribution list, prefer Google Groups, an example of such case would be your sales team, so instead of providing your customers email address of all your sales people, it is better to a create Group in Google Workspace like and then all your sales users inside it as members.

Now, whenever someone sends an email to, all your sales people would get that email as they are added to the group as members.

A cool thing here is that you can also set up your Gmail in a way so that you can choose if you want to send a specific email as your main user email or as a group.

Let us revise our understanding with a few example use cases :

  1. I have 5 people working in my business and each of them have a dedicated role to play in my business? Create user mailboxes in Google Workspace, you would need to pay to Google for 5 licenses.
  2. I am the CEO of our small business, and I just need a couple of additional emails so that I can send and receive emails from them. I don’t want multiple mailboxes or licenses? Create one user (license cost), and then create two alias emails (free) for it. Finally, set up Gmail to send emails from any of these 3 email addresses.
  3. We have a Human Resource team of 4 people. When we publish jobs on our website and to external websites, we need an email address like and if someone sends an email to it, that email should go to all of our 4 people in HR. How can we do that? Create a Group in Google Workspace with the email address you want (note, group email has to be unique, so make sure it is not already used by any user or alias or another group, otherwise it will say this email already exists), then your required HR users as members to this group, and if required, ask these HR users to set up Gmail in a way so they can also send outbound emails as

Conclusion :

  1. Create user mailboxes (it costs license) when you need to provide a dedicated email box to your employees so that they can login with their own email address and password.
  2. Create alias (free, upto 30 per mailbox) when you just need additional email addresses on top of your mail email address to send and receive emails, but it’ll be you who will deal with all those emails in one mail mailbox.
  3. Create groups in Google Workspace (free, unlimited) when you need to distribute emails to multiple people, like and add required members (can be internal or external users) to it.

We hope this article might have helped you understand the primary difference among users, aliases and groups. If you have hired us ( to migrate to Google Workspace, you are all set. We'll create all the required users, aliases and groups for you.

Recommended Reading:

  1. How to create email aliases in Google Workspace
  2. Create email aliases in bulk with GWManager.

Please  do not hesitate to comment below should you have any questions.

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