Make Sure WordPress Emails Don’t Go to Spam
Your website visitors fill out forms on your website for a variety of reasons. They either want to ask a question about your products or service, leave you feedback, or some other important reason. To secure those visitors and turn them into customers, a fast response rate is imperative, but what happens if you are not receiving email notifications from your WordPress contact forms? How can you respond, if you don’t receive notification that they contacted you?
We have a fantastic solution to ensure you receive those notifications. Never miss out on a potential sale, again, by setting up Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) on your WordPress site. is the best choice for ensuring high email delivery.
We’ll show you how to set up WordPress SMTP using Amazon SES and the WP Mail SMTP plugin – simply the best choice for ensuring a high email delivery rate.
Not sure what WordPress SMTP is? Here’s a brief explanation.
WordPress uses the PHP mail function to send emails that are generated by a contact form plugin on your site. The trouble is, often WordPress hosting servers are not configured to use the PHP mail function, so chances are your WordPress emails, won’t even make into the spam folder, let alone your inbox. See the problem now?
So how can I fix this?
The industry-standard way to send emails that use proper authentication methods to ensure email are deliverable using SMTP to send emails from WordPress instead of using the default PHP mail function.
Sounds great! How do I get started?
While there are lots of different ways to set up WordPress SMTP on your site, most options place a limit on the number of emails you can send.
We recommend Amazon SES (Simple Email Service) and WP Mail SMTP
Amazon SES is a cost-effective email service built on the reliable and scalable infrastructure developed by Amazon.com. ( Note: This tutorial’s method requires you to create a free Amazon Web Services (AWS) tier account that expires in 12 months after signing up. Though you’re creating a free account, it requires you to enter your billing address and credit card information during the registration process. However, you will not be charged unless your usage exceeds the free tier limits. You can learn more about the AWS free tier offer here.) There are alternatives programs, which you can search for on google, but today we are talking about Amazon SES.
How to Set Up WordPress SMTP Using Amazon SES
Please note that this is quite a technical guide to setting it all up. If you feel that this is beyond your skillset, please contact us for a quote to complete this for you.
Below are the steps you need to set up the Amazon SES mailer in WP Mail SMTP.
1. Firstly, let’s create a Free AWS Account
If you don’t have an AWS account, sign up for a free account with AWS here, otherwise, if you already have an account, you can log in and follow the next step.
2. The second step is to select Your Region
Once you sign up for, or log into, your AWS account, the website will try and automatically determine your region, based on your address. If they are unable to do this automatically, you will be prompted to manually select your region.
3. The third step is to create an IAM User
Now that you’ve created an AWS account, the next step is to set up an IAM User. By doing this it will provide you with access keys. You will need the access keys later.
Please click this link to open the AWA IAM Users page and sign in.
Inside the dashboard, once you are signed in, click the blue Add user button, and set up a new user.
Add any name you’d like in the username field. Our recommendation is to use the following name format:
For example, for Amaywebdesign.com.au we would use the user name:
The reason we recommend this is if you need to set up more users down the track, this will make it easy to keep records of which site is connected to each user.
Once that is done, next to the Access Type option,check the Programmatic access box.
You are ready for the next task. Click on the Next: Permissions button to proceed.
4. Step four is to configure IAM User Setting Permissions
Can you see “Attach existing policies directly” from the top row of boxes? Select it and then type – AmazonSESFullAccess – into the search bar. This should leave only 1 result displayed named “AmazonSESFullAccess”. Be sure to check the box next to this option so that this permission is added for the user.
Click the Next: tags button, once you have completed all those tasks.
Skip the next page and click the Next: Review button.
5. We are almost there. Next review – Your User Details
You will now see all the details you’ve chosen for this user. Review the details and make sure everything looks correct, then click the Create user button.
If all went to plan, you should now see a success message. An Access Key ID and Secret Access Key should be displayed for your user.
VERY IMPORTANT: Do not close this page until you have copied down, or downloaded the CSV with theses details, as the Access Key ID and Secret Access Key will not be shown again.
You will be using the Access Key ID and Secret Access Key later. Keep this information in a safe location, for easy access when required.
6. Step six is to switch to AWS Production Mode
All Amazon SES accounts begin in Sandbox Mode by default, for the purpose of testing. While in Sandbox mode, your account will only be allowed to send emails to email addresses that have been verified with Amazon SES.
Sandbox Mode needs to be moved to Production Mode so that you can send emails to all contacts In the following paragraph, we will show you how to do this.
First, you’ll need to click this link and create a request with Amazon Web Services.
Make sure that the Service limit increase box is selected, in the top row.
Once that is done, you’ll need to fill out the Case Classification form. This is an important step because it’s what Amazon uses to try and keep spammers from using their system. You need to prove to Amazon SES that your site will be sending emails for legitimate purposes, and not spam emails.
Below are all the details you’ll need for this form:
- Limit Type: SES Sending Limits
- Mail Type: Transactional
- Website URL: Your site’s home page URL ie https://amaywebdesign.com.au
- My email-sending complies with the AWS Service Terms and AUP: Yes
- I only send to recipients who have specifically requested my mail: Yes
- I have a process to handle bounces and complaints: Yes
- Region: Choose the same region as when you set up your AWS account (whichever is closest to where your site’s server is located).
- Limit: Desired Daily Sending Quota
- New limit value: Estimate the maximum number of emails you expect your site to send per day.
Fill out the Use Case Description. In this field, sharing details about what kind of site you have and why you need to send out emails. Make sure to include the type of emails that your website will be sending (ie confirmations of form submissions, purchase receipts, product updates etc).
In our experience, it is a good idea to be as detailed as possible in your description because Amazon may reject your request if you don’t provide enough information.
Once you’ve entered all of your details, you are ready to click the Submit button.
Check you inbox, as you should receive two emails from Amazon Web Services, confirming that a new case has been created.
In normal circumstances, AWS will review your request and inform you of the result within 1 business day. Until then, you can continue your WP Mail SMTP and Amazon SES mailer set up in the next steps.
7. Now you need to install the WP Mail SMTP Plugin
While you’re waiting for AWS to review your case submission, you can install the WP Mail SMTP on your WordPress website.
You will find instructions on how to install and activate WP Mail SMTP on your site here.
8. How to set Up WP Mail SMTP + Amazon SES once everything is installed and ready to go.
Once you’ve installed and activated the plugin, go to WP Mail SMTP » Settings. on your website dashboard.
At the top of the Settings page, you’ll see a From Email option. For the From Email, you can use any valid email address. Please note – for best results, we recommend using a domain-specific email address (ie we would use something like firstname.lastname@example.org).
You can also choose to check the box labelled Force From Email. If you’d like the From Email to be the same site-wide, this option will save you the trouble of editing the email settings throughout your website.
Scroll to the Mailer field and select the Amazon SES option.
Checking the Return Path checkbox to Set the return-path to match the From Email, is optional. If you do chose to enable this, you’ll be emailed if any messages bounce as a result of issues with the recipient’s email.
Once you’ve chosen the Amazon SES mailer, you should see a new section appear titled Amazon SES. This is where you will need to add the access keys you created in your AWS account earlier. Do so now – copy in your Access Key ID and Secret Access Key.
Double check you entered them correctly then you can check the Region field. Once checked, you should see that a region was already be pre-selected for you. This is based on where your site’s hosting server is located, so confirm that this is correct and matches what you picked in Amazon SES.
Click Save Settings.
After you’ve saved, an additional setting will appear – Verified Emails. This allows you to add any emails that you might like to use as the From Email on your website.
To add a new verified From Email, click Add an Email Address.
A pop up overlay will appear allowing you to add one email address at a time.
Next, click the Send Verification Email button. You will be shown a notice asking you to check that email’s inbox for a verification email.
Amazon Web Services will send you an email with a verification link. Click this link within 24 hours to verify this email address. Repeat the process if you wish to add additional email addresses.
After you’ve successfully verified the email address/s, you can return to your website’s WP Mail SMTP settings and refresh the page. All successfully verified email addresses are displayed.
9. Testing – You should send an email to make sure it all works
Now that your WP Mail SMTP settings are ready and any From Emails you want to use has been verified, it’s super important to send a test email. After all the work you have done to this point, you need to ensure that everything is working properly and your hard work has paid off.
Simply, go to Settings » WP Mail SMTP and open the Email Test tab.
The Send To field is filled in with your site’s admin email. If you like, you can change this to any email address you’d prefer (that belongs to you and that you have access to).
For HTML, you can also click the toggle off if you’d prefer to send a plain text email. For most sites, though, it will make the most sense to test an HTML email (ie keep the default setting).
All that’s left to do is click the Send Email button.
Now you should see a success message, letting you know your email was sent.
If you go to the inbox of that email address, you should see the test email from WP Mail SMTP.
That’s it… You have successfully set this all up… Congratulations!
Remember, if you find this guide outside your tech skills, you can contact Amay Web Design, and we can set it up for a small fee.
Feel free to ask any questions or leave feedback in the comments below.