Is WordPress PHPMailer not working on your site, causing you and your users to miss out on important emails?
By default, WordPress uses PHPMailer and the wp_mail() function to send emails from your web hosting mail server. However, this isn’t a reliable way to send email, and sometimes your messages will fail to send or end up in the spam folder.
Fortunately, you can send email from your WordPress site using Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) instead of your web host to fix your PHPMailer delivery issues. We’ll show you how to switch your WordPress site to SMTP with the help of a beginner-friendly plugin.
What Is PHPMailer in WordPress?
PHPMailer is a code library that PHP applications can use to send mail. Lots of Content Management Systems (CMS), including WordPress, use PHPMailer.
More specifically, WordPress uses a PHP mail function called wp_mail() to send emails using your web hosting server. Because it comes with wp_mail(), you can start sending emails from your WordPress site right away. This includes WordPress admin notification emails, user management emails such as password reset emails, and emails from plugins such as contact form submission notifications.
The downside is that PHPMailer and wp_mail() do not add any authentication to your emails to prevent them from going to spam. Also, if your web server isn’t set up to send high volumes of email, then you could get in trouble for sending bulk emails that exceed the limits set by your hosting provider.
Connecting your WordPress site to a 3rd party SMTP provider helps you avoid these email issues and fix PHPMailer not working.
How to Fix WordPress PHPMailer Not Working
To fix PHPMailer not sending emails from your WordPress site, you need to authenticate your sending domain and set up SMTP on your website. We’ll show you how in just a few simple steps:
In This Article
Step 1: Install an SMTP WordPress Plugin
The easiest way to connect your site to an SMTP server is to use a plugin. There are a lot of SMTP WordPress plugins to choose from, but we recommend WP Mail SMTP. It’s easy to use and offers lots of advanced features for tracking your emails after you set it up.
If you need help installing the WP Mail SMTP plugin, check out this tutorial on installing a WordPress plugin.
The free version of WP Mail SMTP will improve your email delivery, or you can upgrade to access email logging and other advanced features.
Step 2: Configure Your SMTP Mailer
Once you’ve installed WP Mail SMTP, you’ll need to set it up to connect your site to your 3rd party SMTP service provider, also called a mailer.
If you’d prefer to have a professional configure WP Mail SMTP for you, our support team offers a White Glove Setup service at an additional cost.
Or, if you want to do the work yourself, you can open your WordPress dashboard and head over to WP Mail SMTP » Settings. Then click on the Launch Setup Wizard button.
The Setup Wizard guides you through the process step by step, starting with choosing a mailer.
There are lots of options here, but we recommend SendLayer, SMTP.com, or Sendinblue. These mailers are easy to use, affordable to get started, and super reliable for sending transactional emails.
You’ll need to create an account with whichever mailer you choose. This may involve adding DNS records to your domain settings to add SMTP authentication to your domain name. See the documentation for your mailer for details on how to set it up:
- Amazon SES
- Google Workspace / Gmail
- Microsoft 365 / Outlook.com
- Zoho Mail
- Other SMTP
When you’re done, click Save and Continue to move on to the next step. Depending on which email service you chose, you’ll see some additional SMTP settings on the next screen. Here you can choose the From Name and From Email you want to use and enter the API key for your mailer, if you need one.
After you’ve entered all the required settings, click Save and Continue again.
Step 3: Enable Email Logging and Alerts (Optional)
WP Mail SMTP will then ask you which features you want to enable for your site. Improved Email Deliverability, Email Error Tracking, and Complete Email Reports are turned on automatically.
You can also choose to enable Detailed Email Logs, which will store the headers for your emails and show you the delivery status of each email your site sends, as well as open and click tracking.
To receive an email with a summary of your website’s emails each week, check the box for the Weekly Email Summary. This email shows you an overview of the statistics for your website from the past week.
Finally, if you would like to receive a text, email, or Slack notification when your site fails to send an email, you can turn on Instant Email Alerts. This is super helpful for troubleshooting problems that occur with your WordPress emails.
The Setup Wizard will ask you to configure a few additional settings for any features you enable, such as asking which metrics you want to track in your email logs and what content you want to include.
And that’s it! Finish the Setup Wizard and your PHPMailer WordPress emails will now be sent using SMTP. Just to be sure, you’ll receive a test email from WP Mail SMTP to check that everything is working.
Next, Find the Best Contact Form Plugin for WordPress
Contact form plugins like WPForms help you land sales and grow your business by giving visitors an easy way to get in touch with you.
Check out our list of the top WordPress contact form plugins for the best recommendations. You can also read our tutorial on how to send contact form email notifications to multiple email addresses.
Ready to fix your emails? Get started today with the best WordPress SMTP plugin. WP Mail SMTP Elite includes full White Glove Setup and offers a 14-day money-back guarantee.
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