WordPress is not sending emails

The reason why many of us decide to create our own websites is to become reachable. We want to proudly manifest our service and land in the centre of publicity for longer than the late Andy Warhol once estimated. To do this, we open the gates to our online persona by setting up contact forms – because the lonely verse with our email address, sitting somewhere at the bottom of the site, is often not enough to engage with the audience. Also, the audience wants to get things done where they are at a given moment, meaning no unnecessary courtesy of email clients, extra tabs, and misleading redirections.

How to configure your WordPress to send email?

In WordPress, it’s Contact Form 7, which has been installed in over 5 million instances to date, that takes the lead. With bespoke user requests and reduced spammer activity thanks to Captcha protection, CF7 translates into allegedly the best WordPress plugin for email support. It is free, easily scalable, and lets you write your own forms using standard markup syntax. But the installation of the plugin itself usually comes second. Prior to this, comes a predefined WordPress email connection based on the PHP mail() function.

This is the option your hosting provider offers – to send emails from your domain – so make sure you have it set up well. Usually, you need to enter your cpanel or some other, similar control panel.

So log into your hosting domain, and in the Email section click on Accounts. An Add Email Account form should appear with fields to fill in. Hit the Create Account button when you finish. Great, your WordPress can now send messages!

Before you close the cpanel, look for the information about your SMTP Host and SMTP Port. You should find it in your support documentation. If it’s not there, ask your provider for the details. You’re going to need them shortly.

Once all of the above its done, it’s time to test your setup. We recommend using the Check Email Plugin for that. It’s a simple addon to check whether your emails go through.

Why is WordPress not sending emails?

Bad news is that sending emails directly through WordPress is not the best choice. The PHP mail function is what WordPress uses to send emails by default. And because messages come from a machine, not a human, other mail servers may mark them as SPAM. The automation used here lacks authentication and can hurt your domain. To prevent that from happening, SMTP configuration is recommended instead of a standard email setup.

How to configure an SMTP WordPress plugin?

SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) gives your emails a real human face. It fixes the WordPress email problem of deliverability and ensures the authentication. The best tool to handle that is through the WP Mail SMTP add-on, which is another great plugin from the WPForms family. The extension simply allows third-party email clients to connect to your website and send a message on its behalf.

When you finish activating the plugin – the process, which resembles any other plugin activation – go to Settings -> Email to complete the configuration. You should see the following:

The fields there are pretty clear. Fill them out with:

  • From Email – email account you will send your emails from
  • From Name – your name that will appear with your emails
  • Mailer – check Send all WordPress emails via SMTP
  • Return Path – leave it unmarked
  • SMTP Host – hostname
  • SMTP Port – the port your server works with
  • Encryption – Use SSL encryption
  • Authentication – Yes: Use SMTP authentication – provided the encryption is available for your hostname
  • Username – the email address for your SMTP server

Password – the password for your SMTP server.

Click on the Save Changes button to finish the configuration. Your WordPress email will now be directed through the selected mailer.

It’s always good to see if you did well with the settings. Go once again into WP Mail SMTP from your WP dashboard and click on Email Test. Enter your email address, send a message, and check if it reached your inbox – the subject line of the mail should say “WP Mail SMTP: Test Email to…”.

Advanced email options

WordPress is so flexible that it lets other SMTP players join the game, too. Obviously, the above-mentioned steps work for any Google account but, as you’ve already noticed, there are also other services available at hand. If needed, you can opt for MailGun, SendGrid, and SparkPost. Each will help you fix the WordPress email problem, add your branded email to WordPress, and secure the highest possible email deliverability.

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Tomasz Ludward