Do you need to fix email delivery issues on your WordPress site? SMTP.com has been working to improve email deliverability for decades, establishing an extensive record as a reliable service.
In this tutorial, we’ll show you how you can use the SMTP.com mailer in WP Mail SMTP to make sure your emails get to inboxes successfully.
- What is SMTP.com?
- Setting Up Your SMTP.com Account
- Adding the SPF Record to Your Site’s DNS
- Setting Up WP Mail SMTP
- Sending a Test Email
What is SMTP.com?
SMTP.com has been ensuring emails deliver successfully for over 20 years, and has a reputation for reliability.
They offer a free trial, which allows 300 emails to be sent during the first 30 days. After that, you’ll need a paid plan which can include much higher sending limits (as well as some other benefits, such as 24/7 phone support).
In order to complete the SMTP.com mailer setup in WP Mail SMTP, you’ll need to have:
- A domain-specific email address (ie firstname.lastname@example.org)
- A credit card (this is required to complete registration)
- Access to your site’s DNS records
If you’re ready to get your emails delivering reliably, let’s get started!
1. Setting Up Your SMTP.com Account
First up, you’ll need an account with SMTP.com. This account will connect to your WordPress site so that your emails can deliver reliably.
For our example, we’ll be registering for a brand new free trial. However, the setup will be the same no matter what type of account you have.
Note: If you’re creating a new account with SMTP.com, you’ll need a few additional steps after registering. These steps help to prevent spammers from signing up, which is important to keeping their service so reliable.
First, be sure to check your email and follow their activation link. This will also require agreeing to their usage policy.
Next, SMTP.com’s team will review and approve your account (which may take up to 24 hours). This approval will likely require you to provide additional details/clarification, so please keep an eye on your email for any updates.
Once you’re SMTP.com account is all set up, or you’ve logged into an existing account, you’ll be ready to start the setup process. Keep this window open, though, as we’ll use it in the next step.
2. Adding the SPF Record to Your Site’s DNS
An important step in the reliable delivery of emails is authentication. This helps to show email inbox providers that your emails are being sent from a legitimate source.
SMTP.com uses an SPF record to help authenticate your emails, and so you’ll need to add this record to your site’s DNS settings.
Note: For more details on modifying your site’s DNS, we recommend WPBeginner’s tutorial on DNS settings.
If you have additional questions about DNS or feel unsure about what to do, please contact your site’s hosting provider before attempting any changes.
To get started, you’ll need to scroll to the top menu of your SMTP.com account (if you closed your account earlier, you can open it back up by clicking this link).
Within this top menu, click on Account » My Settings.
Under the General Settings, you should see an SPF record:
v=spf1 include:_spf.smtp.com ~all
You’ll need to add this record to the DNS settings for your site.
In your site’s DNS settings you may also see a TTL (Time To Live) field for the record. If you’re provided with a way to change this, we recommend setting the TTL to 1 day (or 86400 seconds, depending on the units your DNS uses).
After the SPF record has successfully been added, you can check whether SMTP.com has been able to validate that record yet. To do this, click on the Deliverability tab in your SMTP.com account (or follow this link).
Towards the bottom of this page, there will be a section titled SMTP.com SPF Record Domain Check. In the Domain field, enter your site’s URL. Then, click the Validate button.
The result will appear in a red box near the top of the page. If SMTP.com was able to verify your SPF record successfully, then it will display a “Pass” status in this box.
DNS changes can in some cases take up to 48 hours to be recognized, so you may need to check back on this later. No matter what your domain’s SPF status is right now, though, you can move on to the next step.
3. Setting Up WP Mail SMTP
Now that your SMTP.com account is ready to be used, we can switch over to setting up WP Mail SMTP. When you’re ready, go ahead and log into your WordPress site.
If you haven’t already, be sure to also install and activate the WP Mail SMTP plugin.
Once WP Mail SMTP is installed, you’ll need to click on WP Mail SMTP » Settings in the left WordPress menu. We’ll discuss each of this page’s settings in detail below.
The From Email is the email address that all of your site’s emails will appear to be sent from. In order for SMTP.com services to be able to work properly, this email address must be for your domain (ie email@example.com).
We strongly recommend also checking the box labeled Force From Email. This option will save you the trouble of editing the From Email settings throughout your site (in all settings where email could be sent from), and help to ensure your mailer can apply to your site’s emails.
The From Name will, by default, be set to the site name. However, you can change this to any text you’d like.
You can also choose to Force From Name to apply this setting to emails site-wide.
SMTP.com does not support the Return Path option, so you can skip this setting.
In the Mailer field, you’ll need to select the SMTP.com option.
Next up, you’ll need to fill in the API Key and Sender Name from your SMTP.com account.
We’ll show you exactly what to do in the sections below.
To quickly locate the API Key for your SMTP.com account, click on the Get API Key link (or follow this link).
After opening that link, you should see the API page in your SMTP.com account. On this page, carefully copy the full value in the Key column.
Now that you’ve copied this Key value, return to your WP Mail SMTP settings and paste that into the API Key field.
Now that your API Key has been added, we’ll move down to the next field in WP Mail SMTP’s settings: Sender Name. To find the value needed for this field, you’ll need to click on the Get Sender Name link.
This link should open the Senders page of your SMTP.com account. Here, you’ll need to copy the value under the Name column.
After copying the Name value, switch back over to your WP Mail SMTP settings and paste it into the Sender Name field.
Now that all of the WP Mail SMTP settings have been completed, be sure to click the Save Settings button.
4. Sending a Test Email
Note: Before moving forward with this step, please check your SMTP.com Deliverability Settings to confirm that your site’s SPF Status is set to Pass.
Now that your settings are all ready to go, you’re ready to send a test email. To do this, click on the Email Test tab in your site’s WP Mail SMTP settings.
On this tab, you can enter any email address that you have access to. Then, click the Send Email button.
Once the email has processed, you should see a success message.
Next, check the inbox for that email address. You should soon receive the email for this test.
Last, you’ll need to confirm that this test email was properly sent through your SMTP.com account. To do that, please click this link to open your SMTP.com Deliverability Settings page.
If the email was successfully sent through your SMTP.com account, you should see a Pass status for your domain.
Note: If you do not see a Pass status, then please review Steps 1-3 to confirm that all details have been completed.
That’s it! You’ve just completed the setup for SMTP.com with WP Mail SMTP, and your site’s emails should start being delivered reliably.
Next, would you like to keep a log of all emails that your site sends out? You can check out all the details about setting up and using WP Mail SMTP’s Email Log feature over in our email logging guide.