If you’re using WordPress, there’s a good chance you’ve experienced difficulty getting your email forms to work. Worse yet, when users fill out a form on your website, they get a “success” message indicating that their message was sent and that they can expect a response from you soon.
The trouble is that the user’s email was never really sent and in not receiving it you may have missed out on a sales opportunity, a support request, or something equally as important.
Searching Google or the email plug-in’s website typically yield plenty of tips for solving the problem. Unfortunately, none of them may work for you.
The root of the problem is with the configuration of the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP), the industry standard for sending email. A proper SMTP configuration helps increase email deliverability by using authentication.
Popular email clients like Gmail and Office 365 are in a continuous battle with email spammers. One of the things they look for is where emails originate; if the location appears to be different from where the email claims to be coming from, or if proper authentication is missing, then your website’s emails will either go to your spam folder or not get delivered to you at all.
Even with proper authentication, some web host providers will have their SMTP ports blocked as a spam prevention measure.
Another problem is that a lot of WordPress sites rely on the default PHP mail function to send emails and many hosting companies – intentionally or ineptly – do not have their servers configured for sending PHP emails, so mail from your website forms may not get delivered.
The way to overcome these problems is to use a WordPress plug-in like WP Mail SMTP. It works by changing how your WordPress site sends email. After installation and activation, you just select one of the plug-in’s built-in SMTP mail provider integrations so that email can be sent using that provider’s direct API.
WP Mail SMTP plug-in includes a good selection of free and pro SMTP setup options:
- Pepipost SMTP
- Sendinblue SMTP
- Mailgun SMTP
- SendGrid SMTP
- Gmail SMTP
- Microsoft SMTP (Outlook.com and Office 365) [Pro]
- Amazon SES SMTP [Pro]
- All Other SMTP
Twilio’s SendGrid, for example, offers a free SMTP plan that you can use to send up to 40,000 emails for your first 30 days, then 100 emails per day after that. For most small businesses and personal websites, that’s enough. If you need to send more emails, you can sign up for one of their paid plans.
To connect your website with SendGrid, you set up a SendGrid account and get an API key. This unique identifier allows your website to communicate with your SendGrid account. The API key is entered into the settings page of the WP Mail SMTP plug-in after selecting the SendGrid mailer from the graphical list. The result: emails sent from your website forms will go right to your inbox.
Instead of getting mired in the configuration details of SMTP, pleading with your host provider for help, or getting frustrated with conflicting online advice, there are worry-free solutions that are easy to set up – and that will work for you every time.
Nathan Muller is the author of 29 technical books and over 3,000 articles that have appeared in 75 publications worldwide. He also writes articles, blogs and social media content for tech companies and their executives.