In this article we’ll lay out the most reliable method for email delivery on WordPress.
Most of WordPress sites are, unfortunately, hosted on mass-market, poorly configured web hosts. The most recent issues I’ve seen were on Godaddy. These web hosts either:
- aren’t configured properly to send email, or
- block email sending (SMTP) by default as a precautionary measure against SPAM relays
So what’s your solution? It might sound a little crazy: Email that doesn’t use SMTP.
We’re going to show you how to do it in 3 easy steps.
Before You Start
Before doing any of this, you must be aware of the following points. If you ignore this, you will eventually run into trouble:
- MandrillApp is free for up to 2000 email sends per month. If you think you’ll exceed this level, this isn’t for you – though the pricing is very reasonable.
- Disable any other plugin on your WordPress sites that handles email. There can be only one.
Stage 1: Setup a free MandrillApp account and verify your domain
MandrillApp is a transactional email service from the same provider as Mailchimp.
- Sign-up for MandrillApp
- Add your domain as a permitted sending domain by Mandrill (see screenshot right)
- Verify your sending domain (follow their instructions within the sending domains screen)
- [Optional but highly advised] You should add the DKIM and SPF records to reduce the chances that your emails are marked as SPAM.
Stage 2: Create an API key for your websites
- From the Settings sub-menu, select the SMTP & API Info item
- Click the blue button to create a new API Key
- Give your API key a description so you’ll recognize it later
- Make a note of the API key that was generated to use in the following stage
Stage 3: Install the wpMandrill plugin on your WordPress site(s)
The final piece of the puzzle is to install the WordPress plugin that will send emails from your Mandrill account.
This plugin is a little rough around the edges, but it works when you have the fields properly filled in.
- Log into your WordPress admin area and click to add a new plugin
- In the search field, type: wpmandrill, and press enter
- Click to install and then active the first plugin in the search results
- In your list of installed plugins look for wpMandrill and click on the Settings link below the plugin title.
- In the next screen paste in the API key you noted down in part 4 of the previous Stage 2; click Save.
- The setting screen will show more options for your email preferences which you should fill in.
- Once you’re happy, save your changes.
[BONUS!] Stage 4: Send A Test Email
At the bottom of the settings page for wpMandrill, there is a test email button. Use this. Now.
Ensure that your configuration is working before leaving. If it’s not, or you have doubts, disable the wpMandrill plugin. No harm done.
100% Trouble Free WordPress Email
This should have taken around 5-10 minutes to complete, but for every site you add going forward, it’ll take you about 2 minutes each time.
Not only does this give you reliable email that by-passes your web host’s SMTP restrictions, it gives you insight into the deliverability of your emails using MandrillApp’s dashboard.
If you have other suggestions on how to achieve trouble free, non-SMTP email on your WordPress sites, I’d love to hear it. Please leave your comments below!