Looking for a way to use SMTP to handle your WordPress emails? WP Mail SMTP is the perfect plugin. We’ll show you how to set it up in 4 easy steps!
Approximate read-time: 5 minutes
Have you heard of the WP Mail SMTP plugin for WordPress? If you are running a WordPress site, you need dependable emails so you don't miss any leads. On many sites, if an email is lost, your lead goes with it. Gone forever.
Even if your leads are saved in a database with a form plugin like Formidable Forms, you may still rely on form email notifications. If you need to send or receive critical form confirmation emails, this guide will help.
Why should I use a WordPress plugin for email?
Unfortunately, even with the best WordPress web host, you may still have trouble with WordPress not sending emails. When emails are sent via the built-in WordPress PHP Mail function, email deliverability issues will always be looming.
Now, we should point out that there are ways to improve email deliverability without an SMTP plugin. But you’d have to crack into your WP config.php file. If you aren’t a coder, this could be a challenge.
So, what do you do when you need a new plugin? Head to the WordPress.org directory and search for an easy WP SMTP solution. Do that and you’ll see there are quite a few choices. But in this case, there really is a clear and easy winner: WP Mail SMTP.
This is a plugin made by the same folks behind the ever-popular WPForms. It makes SMTP authentication a breeze. The best part? Many of its features are free to use. Plus, it will work well with almost any mail server.
The new premium version also includes several easy ways of getting SMTP or transactional emails up and running quickly, securely, and reliably.
How to set up WP Mail SMTP
For the rest of this post, we'll show you how to solve your WordPress email problems with the WP Mail SMTP plugin. And we can do that in just four easy steps:
- Install WP Mail SMTP in WordPress
- Configure WordPress SMTP settings
- Enter your SMTP email details
- Send a test email
1. Install WP Mail SMTP in WordPress
Start by installing and activating the WP Mail SMTP plugin. To do this, open your WordPress dashboard, click Plugins → Add New. Search for WP Mail SMTP and hit Install Now and then Activate.
2. Configure WordPress SMTP settings
Once the plugin has been installed and activated, go to WP Mail SMTP → Settings in your admin menu. This will bring up a range of different options to configure.
Fill in the following fields:
- From Email – this is the email address you wish to send communications from
- From Name – the name you want your emails to come from
3. Enter your SMTP email details
The next step is to enter the SMTP details for your email account. To make WP Mail SMTP work, you’ll need to have a functioning SMTP host. If you have a web host, then you’ll likely have an SMTP email server too.
Choosing an SMTP Host
If you really want to ensure that your email deliverability is maximized, you might want to use an independent SMTP host. There are a ton of SMTP host out there, so it can be hard to know where to start. Our usual recommendation is Sendgrid, but there are many other choices.
For example, you could go with one of the many paid services like Amazon SES. Or you could use a free service like the Gmail SMTP server. The fact is that there are many options when it comes to WordPress SMTP.
However, SMTP servers are not all created equal. Using your own web host’s SMTP ports can even be a risky choice if your host has a bad reputation.
Will your web host be a better choice than the WordPress PHP mail function? If you use a reputable hosting service like Siteground, then yes. Just remember to look into the reputation of whatever SMTP host you use.
👉 Learn more about SMTP servers & email problems in WordPress.
Entering your SMTP account details
If you use a service like Sendgrid, you can set things up using their API. In this tutorial, we’ll show you how to set up WP Mail SMTP using the Other SMTP option. Just keep in mind that this option is less secure than the options that use an API.
Note: If you choose Gmail, the Reply-to option in your form settings will not be used. Gmail does not allow this to be customized.
Once you’ve selected an option for the Mailer, a new section will appear. Fill in all the details of your chosen mailer requests.
Here are the settings you’ll need to enter: SMTP Host, Encryption method, SMTP Port, SMTP Username, and SMTP Password.
These can usually be found in your web host’s admin area or your SMTP host back-end.
4. Send a test email
Once all your settings have been updated, send a test email to make sure it's working. Open up WP Mail SMTP → Settings and click Email Test.
Here, you can enter your email address and click the Send Email button. Once the email is sent, you will see a success message on the screen. Check your inbox to make sure you've received the test email. If you are struggling to find the email, be sure to check the spam/junk folder just in case.
Activate the WordPress email log
Once the SMTP settings are complete, the email logging can be invaluable for solving future email problems. This log will give you a ton of benefits.
- Know if an email is getting triggered
- Resend and forward emails
- Debug during site development
- Store copies of emails for your records
- Audit outgoing emails
To enable email logging, go to WP Mail SMTP → Settings → Email Log. This will bring up two options.
Click Enable Log to keep a record of basic details for all emails sent from your site. This will let you view general information such as subject, date sent, status, and technical information such as headers, TO, CC, BCC for all emails too.
Next, you might want to click Log Email Content to keep a record of all content for emails sent from your site.
This content will include personal information such as plain text passwords so you’ll need to think carefully before enabling this option due to security concerns.
Once you’ve selected your options, click Save Settings.
How to view the WordPress email log
To view the Email Log, go to WP Mail SMTP → Email Log in your WordPress sidebar menu. All new emails sent from your site will appear here.
That's all there is to it! I hope this tutorial has helped you set up a great SMTP system with an efficient way to log form notification emails.
Once you know your emails are sending, you can set up email autoresponders and notifications. With Formidable autoresponders, you can set up automatic email responses to each person who submits a contact form on your WordPress site.
Once your WordPress email problems are solved, you can spend your time growing your business.