By default, WordPress comes with a built-in mailing mechanism called: wp_mail. The core of this mechanism uses the native PHP Mail functions to send emails. Meaning? Your emails will be routed and handled by the hosting’s email server by default. This could be a problem for a few reasons:
- Your emails might get flagged as spam, if not initially, then somewhere along the road.
- If you have traffic and your email activity is high, it is wiser to switch to SMTP. Due to the simple fact, it will most likely handle the volume in a better way than the native hosting email server.
- Finally, and most importantly, the header of the email will display the hosting address. This could be bad because you will want your branded domain there.
As you can see above, these are the major downsides of the native way WordPress handles emails.
The Solution: WordPress SMTP Email Set Up
We can solve all these problems mentioned above by switching to WordPress SMTP and configuring our WordPress SMTP Settings. By doing so we switch the default way of handling emails in WordPress.
We connect our email account and route everything trough that Third-party email providers(Gmail, Gsuite, Yahoo, etc.).
By doing this:
- Your emails will not go to the spam folder, you are using official accounts of a formal and well-established provider.
- It is most likely that Google or Yahoo won’t crash under a lot of emailing.
- The mail headers will represent your brand and identity.
As you can see, we pretty much solved all the problems above. Now that we got that out of the way and we understand the differences between these two ways. We can go ahead and figure out how we go and implement this.
Making The Transition
In WordPress this can be achieved in two ways:
- With the help of a plugin
- without a plugin at all, coding required.
Now before we dive into it, I would like to briefly break down some common definitions in the world of SMTP:
- SMTP Host – the server hostname
- SMTP Port – the port your server works on( usually 25 )
- Encryption – if you have SSL/TLS encryption set
- Username – the username for the account
- Password – the password for the account
Now, let’s see the best SMTP Mailer plugins for WordPress.
Best WordPress SMTP Plugins
Here are some of the best plugins you can use to send emails via SMTP.
1.WP Mail SMTP by WPForms
WP Mail SMTP is a simple & lightweight plugin by WPForms. It comes in with a lite and a paid pro version. However, the lite free version is great. It allows for all the basic configuration we will need. Moreover, it supports numerous third-party email services and providers to choose from. All in all, this is a great plugin, fast, reliable and gets the job done.
Can easily connect to:
The PRO version adds even more support:
- Amazon SES
- Office 365
2. Easy WP SMTP
Easy WP SMTP is another great plugin that achieves our goals. However, this plugin comes with a more advanced oriented approach. In addition to the basic configuration, it comes built-in with other functions and configuration options for even more control. Finally, it even comes with a test email tool.
3. WP Mail Bank SMTP
Mail Bank is yet another good plugin. Mail Bank comes with a free as well as a paid version. However, even the free version comes packed with a ton of features and configuration options. Allowing a very wide range of control.
Furthermore, it takes a more wizard approach to set it up with option for a manual configuration. It can get overwhelming, but luckily they have great documentation online.
4. SMTP Mailer
SMTP Mailer is super simple SMTP plugin. This plugin is as simple as it gets. Probably making it the most lightweight SMTP plugin I can recommend. Ony basic configuration and that’s it.
5. Post SMTP
Post SMTP comes with a ton of features. Allowing you to fully configure it manually, or use the built in configuration wizard.
Moreover, it comes with support for the following API’s:
More unique features include:
- SMTP fallback server in case the first one is unresponsive or not working.
- Multisite ready.
- Has built-in email logs which make it easier to keep track of emails.
To sum up, it doesn’t matter which plugin you choose, they are all great and accomplish the job perfectly. However, if you have some trouble with one of them, just try the other.
There are quite a few in this article and there is no reason one of those shouldn’t be a great fit for your website. Experiment with those and choose the one that suits you best.