When you are running your own website or business, your sending out email all the time. Whether it’s an order confirmation, a contact form response or a password reset for an account. But what if you find your WordPress site not sending email at all? That can become a real issue, especially when running a tight business. Maybe you need to set up SMTP. It’s quite simple: in this article we explain how.
Why is my WordPress site not sending email?
WordPress by default uses the PHP-mail functionality of your server to send emails and notifications. While it’s the preferred approach to let your server deal with sending email, there are various reasons why this process can fail. Misconfigured hosting setup is one of those, but also certain WordPress plugins are known to cause errors. That’s why it’s important to always test out your plugins. A WordPress site not sending email can have multiple reasons, and sometimes requires changes on a hosting level. But most issues can be addressed by setting up SMTP for your website.
Another common reason for a WordPress site not sending email is that it ends up in a spam filter, but more on that below.
What is SMTP?
Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) was designed to deal with these issues. It’s a protocol to send outgoing email, allowing email servers to talk to one another. The benefit of using SMTP is that your website can send out email by connecting with a mail provider. So can choose your own hosting provider or a service like Gmail to send the email for you, instead of relying on the default PHP functionality.
With the use of WordPress plugins you can setup SMTP for your entire website at once, without having to manually email people after sending you a contact request or when purchasing something through your webshop.
How do I setup SMTP with WordPress?
All our Monthly Plans have a pre-installed plugin to manage SMTP. You can also choose to install a plugin like “WP Mail SMTP” which offers quick-setup for mail clients like: Outlook/Office 365, Gmail, Sendinblue, AWS and more.
After installing the plugin, you need to connect it to a mail provider/client of your choice. The mail provider will actually handle the delivery of the email. You can choose to send email through your own hosting provider, if they offer SMTP as part of their hosting services. To set this up: select the “Other SMTP” option from the screenshot below and provide the credentials supplied by your hosting provider.
We recommend Sendinblue for websites sending up to 300 mails/day since it’s free! And very easy to set up. Check out sendinblue.com to get started with a free plan and upgrade to a plan with higher daily limit in the future, whenever you need it.
The importance of Domain Checks
Fixed the issue with your WordPress site not sending email, but now the e-mail is ending up in the spam folder? The problem with SMTP: it’s one of the internet’s oldest protocols and therefore not very secure for today’s standards. For example, it’s quite easy to falsify (or spoof) the sending mail address. You can see this when you are setting up SMTP yourself: you can basically fill in any sender email address you like. And that’s how spam and phising e-mails are born.
A lot of e-mail providers nowadays check for extra security parameters to ensure an e-mail is actually send by the person who claims to send it. Basically all the big providers like Outlook, Google etc. check for the following email security protocols that are complement to each other:
SPF enables your mail server to determine when a message came from the domain that it uses. You can set this up in your server settings (DNS) by telling your mail provider that it can actually send the email from your @domain name.
DKIM adds a signature to your e-mail. In addition to SPF, the DKIM allows the receiving e-mail server to verify it’s actually you (the domain owner) who sends the e-mail.
DMARC tells the receiving e-mail server what to do when your e-mail does not pass the SPF- or DKIM checks.
If you encounter e-mails going directly to the spam folder or not arriving at all (being blocked by mail servers) than you might need to setup one or more of the above protocols in addition to your SMTP setup. If you don’t have access to your DNS-records, ask your hosting provider or webmaster for help. Some settings can also be verified via Google Tag Manager or by adding a script to your website’s header.