Are you having trouble sending emails from your WordPress site? One easy way to solve this is by sending emails from WordPress using the Gmail SMTP server. In this article, we will show you how to send email in WordPress using the Gmail SMTP server.
Why and When You Need Gmail SMTP Server for WordPress Emails
Your WordPress site sends emails to notify you of new user registration, lost password reset, automatic updates, and even notifications from your contact forms.
By default, WordPress uses the PHP mail function to send out email notifications. However this function does not work as expected due to a number of reasons.
Most WordPress hosting companies restrict usage of this function to prevent abuse and spam.
Spam filters on popular email service providers check incoming emails to monitor if they are sent from an authentic mail servers. Default WordPress emails fail this check and sometimes may not even make it to the spam folder.
SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) is the industry standard for sending emails. Unlike PHP mail function, SMTP uses proper authentication which increases email deliverability.
Gmail provides SMTP service that you can use to send out emails from your WordPress site. If you just want to send WordPress notification emails to yourself and few users on your site, then Gmail SMTP servers are the best option.
However, if you are planning on sending newsletter emails using WordPress, then you should use a mass emailing service provider, like MailGun or SendGrid.
Free vs Paid Gmail SMTP Service for WordPress
You can use your free Gmail account to send out WordPress emails. However, for better deliverability, we recommend using paid Google Apps for Work with Gmail.
With Google Apps for Work, you get your own professional branded email address such as (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Google Apps require you to add MX records to your domain name which means that your emails will appear to be coming from your own domain name boosting authenticity and ensuring better deliverability.
We use Google Apps for Work in our business, and can honestly say it’s the best.
How to Send WordPress Emails Using Gmail SMTP Server
If you decided to use Google Apps for Work, then you first need to set up your domain to work with Google Apps. We have a step by step tutorial on how to setup a professional email address with Google Apps and Gmail.
Rest of the instructions are the same whether you are using paid or free Gmail account.
There are two ways you can connect your WordPress site to Gmail SMTP servers.
The first method uses OAuth Authentication. This is a more secure method to send emails using Gmail Servers.
The second method is by allowing Gmail to be used with less secure apps. This method is not recommended because it’s less secure. You have to type in your gmail password in WordPress which is visible to all admin users. It should only be used if you are unable to use the first method.
Method 1: Setting up Gmail SMTP using OAuth Protocol
Upon activation, you need to visit Settings » Gmail SMTP to configure the plugin settings.
You will see a notice that requires you to create a web application with your Gmail account to generate API keys. These API keys will authenticate your site’s use of Gmail SMTP servers.
Creating an App and Generate API Keys for Gmail
First you need to click on the web application link provided in the plugin settings to create an app.
This link will take you to Google Developers Console website. You need to sign in with the gmail account that you want to use for sending WordPress emails.
Once you are logged in, a new project will be created for you with the Gmail API enabled in it.
Click on the go to credentials button to continue.
After that click on the ‘What credentials do I need?’ button to continue.
Under ‘Authorized redirect URIs’, you need to paste the URL shown on Gmail SMTP plugin’s settings page in your WordPress dashboard.
Next, click on ‘Create client ID’ button to continue.
You will now reach OAuth Screen setup. Simply select your gmail address and provide a name for the App that is accessing your Gmail Account. In this case, it will be your own website name.
Once you are done, click on the continue button to proceed.
You have successfully setup Gmail API with OAuth authentication enabled for it. You need to click on the Done button.
Now you will see the list of client IDs (apps) that you have created to access your Gmail API.
Click on the name of your website or project client to continue.
On the next screen, you will see the Client ID and Client Secret keys.
Simply copy the keys and paste them in your Gmail SMTP plugin’s settings page on your WordPress site.
After that fill out rest of the plugin settings. You need to add your gmail email address in OAuth Email Address and From Email Address fields. You can enter your name or the name of your website in the ‘From Name’ field. In our emails, we use Syed from WPBeginner.
Next, select TLS for encryption and use 587 as port. Finally, click on the save changes button to store your settings.
After the plugin’s settings page reloads, you need to scroll down to the bottom and click on the Grant Permission button.
This will take you to Google Accounts where you will be asked to give your website permission to access your Gmail account. Click on the allow button to continue.
You will be redirected back to Gmail SMTP plugin’s settings page on your WordPress site. You will notice the SMTP Status icon has now turn green.
That’s all, you have successfully setup WordPress emails to be sent using Gmail SMTP server. You can now click on the test email tab and send yourself a test email message.
Method 2: Setting up Gmail SMTP with Less Secure Apps Enabled
This method allows Gmail to be used with less secure apps. This method is not recommended and should only be used if you can’t use the first method.
Since security and spam is a main concern for most email service providers, it is likely that Google may discontinue this method at some point in the future.
If you are using Google Apps for Work, then here is how you can allow users to manage their access to less secure apps.
Visit your domain’s admin dashboard for Google Apps. Next, go to Security » Basic Settings and scroll down to less secure apps section.
Click on ‘Go to settings for less secure apps’ link to continue.
On the next screen, check the option next to ‘Allow users to manage their access to less secure apps’. Don’t forget to click on the save button at the bottom right corner of the screen.
Rest of the instructions are the same for both paid and free Gmail accounts.
Simply visit the less secure apps settings page in your Google account settings and turn on access to less secure apps.
Now that you have enabled less secure apps to access your Google account, it is time to setup your WordPress site to connect with Gmail SMTP servers using the less secure method.
First you need to install and activate the WP Mail SMTP plugin.
Upon activation, you need to visit Settings » Email page to configure the plugin settings.
Here is how to fill out the plugin settings:
- From Email: Enter your Gmail address.
- From Name: Enter your name or title of your website.
- Mailer: Select ‘Send all WordPress emails via SMTP.
- Return Path: Check the box to use the From email as return path.
- SMTP Host: smtp.gmail.com
- SMTP Port: 465
- Encryption: Use SSL encryption
- Authentication: Yes, use SMTP authentication
- Username: Your complete Gmail address, e.g. email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Password: Password of your Gmail account
Click on the save changes button to store your settings.
After saving your settings scroll down to the bottom of the page, and you will see ‘Send a test email’ section. Enter an email address to see if everything is working fine.
That’s all, you have successfully setup your WordPress site to send emails using Gmail SMTP servers.
Troubleshooting Gmail SMTP Not Working Issues
We have seen issues of Gmail SMTP not working with certain shared hosting configurations.
Take the following steps to fix the Gmail SMTP issue:
- Login to your cPanel account and create an email account that matches your Google apps email address. This might seem strange because you’re not using your server, this step basically tricks your server into believing that you’re sending the email through the server.
- In your cPanel account, go to MX Records and change the MX routing from automatic to Remote. It might be a little tricky to find since each host now has custom cPanel interface, but look for a small link next to MX that says Email Routing: Remote Mail Exchanger.
- After that log back into your WordPress site and send a test email.
We hope this article helped you learn how to send email in WordPress using the Gmail SMTP server. You may also want to see our list of the 5 best contact form plugins for WordPress.