WordPress SMTP: What It Is, How to Configure, and Best Plugins
WordPress’ email feature uses the Hypertext Preprocessor (PHP) mail() function by default. However, it is not the most effective tool as it may trigger spam filters and send error messages to its users.
The Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) server is better for WordPress website owners who frequently exchange emails with their visitors. It offers high security and deliverability to ensure properly sent emails. To use it, connect your email service to a third-party SMTP provider and install an SMTP plugin on your WordPress site.
This article will explain WordPress SMTP and how to configure the WP Mail SMTP plugin. In addition, we will discuss five plugins and solutions for your WordPress emails.
What Is WordPress SMTP?
WordPress SMTP is a mail submission protocol that allows users to send emails across the internet. It provides high security and email deliverability using SPF and DKIM records.
When using the built-in WordPress email function, consider the following:
- It doesn’t come with SMTP authentication – for this reason, it is often used for cyber crimes, such as spoofing.
- It doesn’t have Sender Policy Framework (SPF) and Domain Keys Identified Mail (DKIM) records enabled – the receiving mail servers will likely treat your WordPress emails as spam.
- Some web hosts disable the WordPress mail settings by default to prevent abuse and spam emails – this may harm your communication with website visitors and decrease customer trust since they won’t receive important email updates. For example, without WordPress transactional emails, customers of an eCommerce store won’t know if their order is confirmed.
Therefore, we recommend using WordPress SMTP over the default email function to ensure your messages are delivered properly.
Get to Know WordPress SMTP Settings
Before configuring WordPress SMTP, it is vital to know the following email settings:
- From Email – specify the email address you want to use to send messages – for example, email@example.com.
- From Name – determine your email sender name.
- Return Path – check this option to receive non-delivery receipts to your email address.
- Mailer – choose a mail server to send your WordPress emails. Choose Default to send messages using the PHP mail() function. Alternatively, pick a third-party SMTP server such as Google’s Gmail or Google Workspace, SendGrid, or Mailgun. Your web hosting provider may include an SMTP server in its service – to use it, choose Other SMTP.
- SMTP Host – the hostname or IP address of the SMTP server.
- SMTP Port – the port that your SMTP server uses.
- Encryption – the level of encryption enabled on your SMTP server. The options are None, Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), and Transport Layer Security (TLS).
- Auto TLS – enable this option if your SMTP server supports TLS encryption.
- Authentication – enable it if your server requires SMTP credentials to connect.
- SMTP Username – the username or email address used to log in to your SMTP server.
- SMTP Password – the password to log in to your SMTP server.
Keep in mind that the names for these settings may differ depending on which WordPress SMTP plugin you use.
How to Configure WordPress SMTP to Send Emails
This section will show how to configure WordPress SMTP settings on your site. Before proceeding, install and activate a WordPress SMTP plugin first.
An SMTP plugin for WordPress helps ensure that website visitors or customers receive the emails you send. For this tutorial, we will use the WP Mail SMTP plugin. However, you may use other plugins like Post SMTP.
Before we set up the tool, you need to get your SMTP information. Depending on your web host, the location of your SMTP information may vary.
Here’s how to create an email account and check the SMTP server information in Hostinger and configure the WP Mail SMTP settings:
- Log in to your Hostinger account.
- On hPanel, choose the Emails tab.
- Select the email plan you want to check and choose Create email account.
- Select Configuration settings to find the Hostinger SMTP configuration of your server. This includes the SMTP port, protocol, hostname, and SSL/TLS encryption.
- Open the WordPress dashboard, then install and activate WP Mail SMTP.
- Upon activation, the plugin will open the Setup Wizard interface. Click the Go back to the Dashboard button to configure the tool manually.
- Scroll down to the Primary Connection section and fill in the From Email field with your email. Be sure to replace firstname.lastname@example.org with your actual domain:
- Enter the From Name field:
- Select the Return Path email. Uncheck to disable bounce messages.
- On the Mailer option, choose a third-party SMTP service. In this example, we’re using Other SMTP to connect WP Mail SMTP with the Hostinger SMTP server:
- Another set of configurations under Other SMTP will appear. Insert your SMTP Host:
- Select the encryption level that your server supports. Choosing one will automatically set the SMTP port, Auto TLS, and Authentication settings:
- Enter the SMTP Username and SMTP Password:
- Click Save Settings to record the changes.
- Send a test email to ensure the WordPress SMTP settings work. Enter an alternate email account for testing and click Send Email.
- If you successfully receive the mock email, WP Mail SMTP is ready to use.
5 Best WordPress SMTP Plugins and Solutions
Before getting to the WordPress SMTP plugins and solutions list, it is essential to know the difference between them.
SMTP plugins help users integrate their WordPress site with a mail server to relay and send messages. Meanwhile, SMTP solutions are third-party services that improve email deliverability.
Here are the five best WordPress SMTP plugins and solutions:
1. WP Mail SMTP
WP Mail SMTP stats:
- Downloads: 2,000,000+
- Rating: 4.8/5
- Best for: blogs and eCommerce sites
- Price: freemium (paid plans start at $49/year)
WP Mail SMTP is the best WordPress SMTP plugin for emails. It configures the wp_mail() function to use the correct SMTP host credentials. It also lets you leverage a built-in mail provider to prevent emails from going to the spam folder.
Users can check message details sent from their WordPress site and summarize them into weekly reports. It also lets you send a sample email upon configuration to ensure the delivery system works.
The premium version – WP Mail SMTP Pro – is integrated with many popular email services, such as Amazon SES, Microsoft SMTP, and Zoho Mail.
This WordPress plugin also offers white glove setup for Elite plan subscribers. With this feature, a representative will help install, configure, and finalize your email and DNS settings to ensure the system works properly.
Moreover, WP Mail SMTP is easy to upgrade. Simply insert the purchased license key into the plugin settings and enjoy the premium features.
- White glove setup.
- Email logging.
- Email tracking.
- Email reports and summaries.
- The premium versions offer built-in integrations with popular mail providers, such as Amazon SES, Microsoft SMTP, and Zoho Mail.
- Extended SMTP plugin settings.
- Only supports a limited number of email providers, including Google Workspace or Gmail.
2. Easy WP SMTP
Easy WP SMTP Stats:
- Downloads: 600,000+
- Rating: 4.3/5
- Best for: personal blogs
- Price: free
Easy WP SMTP is one of the most popular WordPress email plugins. It is free and has a user-friendly interface and SMTP settings. Therefore, users can quickly set up and utilize the tool.
You can integrate a Yahoo, Hotmail, or Google Workspace account with the plugin.
Moreover, this WordPress plugin offers advanced features, such as debug logging to monitor email deliverability, a specified reply-to email address, and an option to export and import SMTP settings.
This plugin also provides a mock email feature to ensure that your WordPress site is ready to relay outgoing emails to the SMTP server.
- Supports popular email providers including Gmail, Yahoo, and Hotmail.
- Debug logging.
- Export and import SMTP settings.
- Test emails.
- No built-in integration system, so users must connect their email accounts manually.
3. Post SMTP
Post SMTP Stats:
- Downloads: 300,000+
- Rating: 4.8/5
- Best for: blogs, eCommerce, and production-grade websites
- Price: freemium (paid plans start at $39.99/year)
Post SMTP is one of the most powerful WordPress email plugins. It is fully compatible with many SMTP providers and email log services, as well as the Gmail API.
The free edition offers built-in integrations with leading mail providers, including Mandrill, Mailgun, SendGrid, and Sendinblue.
This plugin supports the latest security standards with the proprietary OAuth 2.0 on Gmail, Hotmail, and Yahoo. The plugin also doesn’t store your email password inside the WordPress database, where it’s easily accessible.
This plugin provides several automated tools. The Setup Wizard helps configure your WordPress SMTP plugin, while Connectivity Tester detects firewall blocks and server problems.
In addition, this tool offers email log settings to diagnose mailing issues. Using it, users can read, filter, debug output, and check the delivery status. Post SMTP will also send notifications via email, Pushover, or Slack if a message fails to send.
- Compatible with many third-party SMTP services, mailing APIs, and email logging providers.
- Setup Wizard to easily configure your WordPress SMTP.
- Connectivity Tester to detect server issues.
- Notifications for unsent emails.
- Built-in advanced SMTP settings.
- This plugin’s latest version may be incompatible with some security plugins.
- Downloads: 800,000+
- Rating: 4.2/5
- Best for: production-grade websites
- Price: freemium (paid plans start at $19.95/month)
SendGrid is a cloud-based SMTP provider that works as an email delivery engine. It allows users to send emails seamlessly without the need to maintain their SMTP servers. SendGrid also manages infrastructure scaling, reputation monitoring, ISP outreach, and real-time analytics.
SendGrid uses artificial intelligence (AI) to power its deliverability, marketing, and automation. This provider protects its delivery system by enabling SMTP authentication, SPF, and DKIM records to prevent phishing, reverse DNS, and branded links.
This email service provides an onboarding specialist to assist you through the setup process, ensuring the mail system works correctly. It also offers a delivery consultant who can evaluate your email program and identify areas for optimization.
Moreover, this SMTP provider offers a user-friendly dashboard, email alerts, and a reputation score to help you assess mail deliverability issues. It also sends regular email reports that track user statistics.
To use SendGrid, users need to gather additional information such as Client ID and Client Secret or API key from their hosting providers for a secure SMTP connection.
- Integration with the AI environment.
- A cloud-based infrastructure.
- Dedicated IP addresses.
- Adaptive Communication Engine (ACE).
- SendGrid’s Essential plan has the same features as the Free one.
- Downloads: 100,000+
- Rating: 4.4/5
- Best for: eCommerce stores or digital marketing agencies
- Price: freemium (paid plans start at $25/month)
Sendinblue is one of the leading SMTP providers worldwide. It is an all-in-one mail platform with many built-in digital marketing tools.
Sendinblue offers personalized emails based on subscriber behaviors. You can also set up multichannel workflows for email and SMS marketing campaigns. Additionally, this email service automatically tracks web page visits using the Sendinblue Tracker tool.
When it comes to deliverability, Sendinblue enforces advanced account validation processes such as SPF, DKIM, and DMARC to prevent spam. It automatically removes hard bounce contacts from users’ marketing campaigns.
Moreover, Sendinblue generates a performance report every time its users send out an email campaign. The statistics gathered include delivery, open, and click-through rates. It also contains geographic data, heat maps, and deliverability by email inbox provider.
- The pay-as-you-go pricing model.
- Marketing campaigns are delivered via email and SMS.
- Personalized email designs.
- Custom landing pages.
- Segmentation and marketing automation.
- No dedicated representative to help with the integration process.
Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) is a mail submission protocol that allows users to send emails over the internet. Upgrading from the default WordPress email function to SMTP improves deliverability.
We recommend using a third-party SMTP service and plugin to enhance the messaging experience. Especially if you are a WordPress site owner who actively communicates with visitors or customers via email.
In this article, we have explained the five best SMTP plugins and solutions:
- Best WordPress SMTP plugins – WP Mail SMTP, Easy WP SMTP, and Post SMTP.
- Best SMTP solutions – SendGrid and Sendinblue.
We hope this article has helped you connect WP Mail SMTP to your WordPress site and choose the best email service. If you have any questions or suggestions, leave them in the comments section below.
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