From time-to-time you’ll need your website to automatically send e-mails on your behalf. You can make this whole process more efficient by using a SMTP plugin.


How do I find the WP Mail SMTP plugin?

Once again this is a free plugin made by the kind people at WPForms. You’ll find it in the usual plugins directory. Before you configure this plugin please make sure you’ve read the important accompanying information on this page. Here’s what this plugin looks like:

The WP Mail SMTP plugin for WordPress

What does this SMTP plugin do?

SMTP is Simple Mail Transfer Protocol. Sounds nerdy but it’s just how e-mails are sent from one computer to another. There are many scenarios where WordPress will need to send e-mails on your behalf. For example, if you have a ‘Contact’ form you’ll need the message from the form to be sent to you by e-mail. If you have an e-commerce website you’ll need your customer to receive automated e-mails about their order.

WordPress can handle this function ‘out of the box’ BUT it’s not very reliable – you can end up with all sorts of problems from e-mails ending up in spam through to them just vanishing in to the ether. By adding an SMTP plugin it makes this process much more reliable.

How to configure the WP Mail SMTP plugin

I’ll pre-warn, this is quite a complicated one but you only need to set it up once and it will resolve most common e-mail problems on a WordPress website.

Get your SMTP settings for your e-mail account

You may remember, back in Part 4 we created a ‘no-reply’ e-mail account. Well you need those details now. You also need to know your outgoing SMTP server name. You can find this on your web host in the mailbox details. Normally it’s just your domain name but you may want to double check. Mine looks like this:

SMTP account details

So the information you need to know is:

  • Mailbox username e.g. no-reply@mydomain.com
  • Mailbox password
  • SMTP server name – normally just your domain name mydomain.com or sometimes mail.mydomain.com

How to configure the WP Mail SMTP plugin

First of all set your ‘From Email’ address in the General tab. By default I like to use the ‘no-reply’ address set up in part 4. Don’t tick the ‘Force From Email’ box as there are situations where you’ll want WordPress to override this. For example you might have a shop that sends e-mails from shop@mydomain.com. You don’t want that being automatically changed to no-reply@mydomain.com:

How to configure the WP Mail SMTP plugin

Scroll down and add a friendly From Name. Normally the name of your website will suffice. You can use a wide range of mailers with this plugin. If your site sends out a LOT of e-mails you may want to use a dedicated SMTP service such as SendGrid. An example of a website that sends a LOT of e-mails is a busy support forum with thousands of daily users. For now we’ll just use ‘Other SMTP’:

How to configure the WP Mail SMTP plugin

In the Other SMTP settings select the TLS option. Don’t change the default port – leave it as 587. Add your username and password your your no-reply e-mail account:

How to configure the WP Mail SMTP plugin

Send a test e-mail

Click ‘Save Settings’ and then click on the ‘Email Test’ tab. Add any test e-mail address in the Send To box and click the ‘Send Email’ button.

How to configure the WP Mail SMTP plugin

If everything has gone according to plan you should receive an e-mail along the lines of this. It can take a few minutes to come through:

How to configure the WP Mail SMTP plugin

Disable notifications

Finally, this plugin can be a bit ‘pestery’ with endless notifications. As such I like to ‘Hide Announcements’ in the Misc tab. I also disable the Usage Tracking to avoid any potential GDPR complications:

How to configure the WP Mail SMTP plugin

If you spot any errors in this article please get in touch. If you’ve got any questions you can post them below by becoming a member. Don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube and please join my mailing list.

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Andy Mac

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