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IMPORTANT: for .com domain you need to pay, So for a free custom email id lets check out .co.cc domain (there are others as well like .co.nr, but i will try to cover .co.cc as i m more familiar with it)
Though these ideas are not new, have been shared many a times here.. But as the tips are in pieces i thought of putting it together.
1) visit www.co.cc and search a domain for availability (the most common names are either unavailable or chargeable, so try to avoid searching for google.co.cc or yahoo.co.cc.. you will be simply wasting your time!!)
2) Once you have found a domain which is available and free, register for it.
3) It will lead you to login page, if you already are registered user log in or else create a new account.
4) Once your account is set, you can make changes to your selected domain. You can redirect it to your site. You can either choose path forwarding or mask url option etc..
IF YOU WANT CUSTOM EMAIL ID, do not close that domain set up page, here is the screenshot
Now as you can see in the screenshot, we need CNAME from google, which is very simple. Do not close that tab.. in new tab open http://www.google.com/a/cpanel/domain... , check on Administrator and type in yourdomain.co.cc (put your domain name here, for instance (monica-gurnani.co.cc in above example).. You will be redirected to a simple form, fill it out and follow the instructions. you will recieve the CNAME from google without any delay. Copy the code and paste in previous window where we were setting up the domain.
This way your domain is verified by google. Now rest for next 48 hours, google takes 48 hours to verify everything. Once it is verified you can easily access you firstname.lastname@example.org