If you have any type of WordPress site that accepts any type of communication either via a membership site or an eCommerce store your WordPress site will need to send transactional emails to users such for example, order confirmation emails, password reset emails, etc.
However, by default WordPress is configured to send emails using the PHP mail() function. This is the primary reason you probably have seen many users asking about “my WordPress site isn’t sending emails”
There’s a number of problems with the default mail method, and why it does not work.
Many hosting providers don’t have this function configured properly, while some providers even disable it completely to prevent their servers from abuse.
As misusing this function is a common, as it doesn’t require authentication and can be used to send spam emails.
However, using a WordPress SMTP plugin gives you an alternative method for sending emails that have much better deliver-ability. Simply, a WordPress SMTP plugin helps you make sure people get the emails that your WordPress sends to them.
In this WordPress Wednesday post, I will first start by explaining a little more about what SMTP is and why it is a better solution than the wp_mail() function. Then, I’ll show you five WordPress SMTP plugins that you can install for an easier way to use SMTP with WordPress.
What is SMTP?
SMTP which stands for Simple Mail Transfer Protocol, this is a protocol used for sending and receiving emails.
So when you send an email, an SMTP server divides it down into its relevant parts and helps send it from your email client to deliver it to your recipient’s email client.
How does it work with WordPress?
SMTP is important to your WordPress site, like I mentioned above, by WordPress uses the default PHP mail() function to send emails via PHP mail this means your WordPress site is sending emails via the same server where your site is hosted on, which at most part isn’t optimised for sending any emails, it super simple and sorta works but one thing it lacks is authentication. So you’ll find most emails that get sent by this default function will probably end up in the spam folder or blocked outright by some email providers.
But with SMTP, you can tell your site to send emails via a properly-configured SMTP server, rather than your site’s server as because the SMTP server is configured to handle sending emails and has the proper authentication in place, and you will see a better chance of making those emails get sent to recipients’ inboxes.
Post SMTP Mailer/Email Log is the next generation and updated version of Postman SMTP, which was an SMTP plugin that was very popular until the original developer stopped supporting it and WordPress.org removed it.
This plugin lets you connect to any SMTP server, and it also includes a great little setup wizard that does an exceptional job of simplifying the setup process:
One characteristic of this plugin is that, when you’ve just entered your SMTP server details, the plugin also helps you connect via API to some popular sending services, including Gmail API, Mandrill API, SendGrid API and Mailgun API.
It also offers many other things like:
- It is compatible with WordPress Multisite.
- You can define a secondary fallback SMTP server to use if the primary server fails.
- It includes a built-in email logger to help you track which of the emails are sent by your WordPress site.
2. WP Mail SMTP
WP Mail SMTP is a WordPress SMTP plugin that helps you connect to any SMTP server by entering its details. Or, you can connect directly to the APIs of some of the popular SMTP services such as Gmail, Mailgun, SendGrid, Sendinblue.
The interface of the plugin is well-designed, which makes it clear which options are available to you. And you can also send a test email to make sure your configuration is functioning correctly.
There’s a pro version which adds detailed email logging, an option to control your site’s notification emails, but as well it supports for additional email sending services including Microsoft SMTP (Outlook.com and Office 365), Amazon SES SMTP and Zoho Mail SMTP.
Price: Free or starting $49.00 for pro
Gmail SMTP centres on helping you connect to Gmail SMTP server, only if you do want to use Gmail to send your emails, give this one a look. Otherwise, you will need to pick a different SMTP plugin.
Unlike other SMTP plugins featured on this list, Gmail SMTP doesn’t require you enter your SMTP username and password. Instead, the plugin will use OAuth 2.0 for authorisation.
Once you’ve set everything up, your site will automatically start using Gmail’s SMTP server to send your emails. Like some other plugins on this list, it includes a tool to help you send a test email to verify that everything is working fine.
4. Easy WP SMTP
Easy WP SMTP is a free WordPress SMTP plugin that lets you connect your WordPress site to the SMTP server of your choice. Once you have installed the plugin there are some options that you need to configure in the plugin settings go to Settings -> Easy WP SMTP to enter the details for your chosen SMTP server.
5. WP Mail Bank
WP Mail Bank is an SMTP WordPress plugin that goes further than just helping you connect to an SMTP server.
Most of its features are available within the free version, however, the plugin developer has locked some features behind a pro version.
This plugin can help you connect to any SMTP server, with options to choose from different authentication methods, either Login (username and password) or OAuth (Client ID and Secret, just like the Gmail SMTP plugin)
With the aforementioned Pro version, it also has direct integrations for the SendGrid and Mailgun APIs. Also, the Pro version also gives you the ability to view detailed logs for all the emails that your site sends and receive alerts via email, push notification, or Slack whenever an email fails to send.
Price: Free or pro starting at €29.99 per year