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[SOLVED] How to Fix WordPress Not Sending Email Issue

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One of the most commonly asked questions on WPBeginner is how to fix the WordPress not sending email problem.

Many of our beginner-level users ask us why their contact form plugin is not sending emails or why they are not seeing any WordPress notifications.

In this article, we will show you how to fix the WordPress not sending email issue so your website can send emails more reliably and bypass the spam folder.

How to fix the WordPress not sending email issue

Why You’re Not Getting Emails From Your WordPress Site

The most common reason for emails going missing is that your WordPress hosting server is not properly configured to use the PHP mail() function.

Even if your hosting is configured to use it, many email service providers, like Gmail and others, use a variety of tools to reduce email spam. These tools try to detect that an email is coming from the location that it claims to be from.

Emails sent by WordPress websites often fail this test.

This means that when an email is sent out from your WordPress site (from a contact form plugin, admin notification, etc), it may not even make it into the recipient’s spam folder, let alone the inbox.

This is why we recommend not using WordPress to send your email newsletter.

This is also the reason why we recommend everyone to use SMTP for sending emails in WordPress.

What Is SMTP?

SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) is the industry standard for sending emails.

Unlike the PHP mail() function, SMTP uses proper authentication, which leads to high email deliverability.

WordPress has a WP Mail SMTP plugin that configures your WordPress site to send emails using SMTP instead of the PHP mail() function.

You can use it to connect with any popular SMTP services like SendLayer, Brevo (formerly Sendinblue), Gmail (Google Workspace), Amazon SES, and more.

With that said, let’s take a look at how to fix the WordPress not sending email issue.

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If you’d prefer written instructions, just keep reading. You can use the quick links below to navigate through this article:

Step 1: Install the WP Mail SMTP Plugin

Whatever SMTP service you choose, you’ll need to have the WP Mail SMTP plugin installed on your site. This lets you switch WordPress from using the built-in PHP mail() function to using your SMTP service.

First, install and activate the WP Mail SMTP plugin. If you’re not sure how, then see our step-by-step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Next, click on ‘WP Mail SMTP’ in your WordPress dashboard to configure the plugin settings.

The WP Mail SMTP settings page in your WordPress dashboard

You will need to start by entering the name and business email address you want your site’s emails to come from.

Make sure you use the same email address here that you’ll be using for your SMTP mailing service.

Entering the name and email address that you want your WordPress emails to come from

You can choose to force emails to use this name and email address, even if other plugins, like WPForms, have different settings. WP Mail SMTP will override the other plugins’ settings.

After that, you need to choose an SMTP mailing service for your site. For this tutorial, we are going to set up SMTP using SendLayer.

WP Mail SMTP's mailer options

To finish setting up WP Mail SMTP, you’ll need to create an account with SendLayer. We will move on to that next and then come back to finalizing the setup on WP Mail SMTP, so make sure to keep this tab open.

Step 2: Set Up Your SMTP Mailing Service

SendLayer is a reliable email service provider. They let you send a large number of emails with high deliverability.

You can use SendLayer to send up to 200 emails for free, which is more than enough for most small websites to get started.

These could be emails from your contact form, new user account details, password recovery emails, or any other emails sent through your WordPress site.

First, you’ll need to go to the SendLayer website to create an account. On the Pricing page, click on the ‘Try our SendLayer free trial (send up to 200 emails)’ link to set up your account.

Click SendLayer free trial link

Once you’ve created an account, you’ll see your SendLayer dashboard.

Now that you have a SendLayer account, let’s set up your email provider with WordPress.

The SendLayer dashboard

Step 3: Connect Your WordPress Website with SendLayer

Before you can send emails with SendLayer, you need to authorize your domain.

This proves to email servers that you are the confirmed owner of your sending domain and that your emails are sent from a legitimate source.

To authorize your domain, click the orange ‘Add Domain’ button from the SendLayer dashboard.

Click the Add Domain button in SendLayer

On the next page, simply type your domain name into the field provided.

Then, click on the ‘Add Domain’ button.

Add your domain in SendLayer

Note: With other mailing services like Brevo (formerly Sendinblue), you need to set up a subdomain for your website first. But SendLayer will automatically add the subdomain to the sender domain’s DNS records.

So, you don’t need to add an extra subdomain when registering the domain.

Once you’ve added your domain, SendLayer will show you 5 DNS records that you need to add to your domain’s DNS record settings.

These lines of code let SendLayer authorize your domain name.

SendLayer's DNS records

You’ll need to add these DNS records to your WordPress site. This may seem complicated, but all you need to do is copy and paste them into the right place.

For the sake of this tutorial, we will demonstrate our example using our hosting account on Bluehost.

If you are using other hosting companies or if your DNS is managed at a domain registrar like Domain.com, Network Solutions, or GoDaddy, then follow their respective instructions.

First, open up a new browser tab and log in to your WordPress hosting account. Then, find your domain’s DNS records.

In Bluehost, you do this by going to ‘Domains.’ Then, click ‘Settings’ next to the domain you’d like to connect with SendLayer.

Opening Bluehost's Domains page and clicking Settings

On the next page, scroll down to the ‘Advanced Tools’ section.

After that, click the ‘Manage’ button next to Advanced DNS Records.

Clicking Manage in Bluehost to open the Advanced DNS Records Manager

You will see a warning message saying that DNS records should be edited by an advanced user. Don’t worry about this message, as the process for this is pretty easy.

Go ahead and click ‘Continue’ to proceed.

The Advanced DNS Records warning message in Bluehost

You will now arrive at the Manage Advanced DNS Records page.

To start, click the ‘+ Add Record’ button.

Adding a new DNS record in Bluehost

Now, let’s start adding the DNS records that SendLayer has provided.

First, select the type of the DNS record. In this case, we will use CNAME for the first record.

In the ‘Refers to’ section, click ‘Other Host.’ You will pick this same option for all of your DNS records later on.

Choosing the DNS record type and refers to setting in Bluehost

Scrolling down, you will see three fields: Host Name, Alias, and TTL.

The Host Name should be filled with the value in ‘Hostname’ provided by SendLayer. The Alias should be filled with the value in ‘Value.’ As for the TTL, you can leave it at 15 minutes.

The Host Name, Alias, and TTL fields when adding a new DNS record in Bluehost

The screenshot below shows what our screen looked like when we added our first CNAME record.

Once you’re done, just click ‘Add.’

Filling out the Host Name, Alias, and TTL fields when adding a new DNS record in Bluehost

You can repeat these steps for all of the DNS records (both CNAME and TXT).

When adding the TXT record, make sure to paste the ‘Hostname’ value from SendLayer into the ‘Host Name’ field and the one from ‘Value’ into the ‘TXT Value’ field.

Here’s what it looks like:

Adding a TXT record in Bluehost

After you’ve added your records, go back to SendLayer and check the box next to ‘I have added these DNS records and am ready to proceed.’

Then, hit the ‘Verify DNS Records’ button.

Verify DNS records SendLayer

It may take 24-48 hours before SendLayer is able to verify your records. In our experience, it took several hours.

If nothing happens when you click that button, the records can’t yet be verified. You can check again later to see if they’ve been verified by going to ‘Settings’ and navigating to the ‘DNS Records & Settings’ tab from your SendLayer dashboard.

SendLayer DNS TXT records once they've been verified

Here, you’ll find a list of all of your DNS records in one place. Once your domain has been successfully authorized, you’ll see green checkmarks next to each DNS record in the ‘Status’ column.

You can keep going with this tutorial while you wait for the authorization to take place.

Step 4: Finish Setting Up WP Mail SMTP to Use SendLayer

Let’s finish the setup. First, go to your SendLayer account to find your API key.

From the SendLayer dashboard, simply go to the Settings » API Keys page. Here, you’ll see a default API key that was generated when you authorized your domain in SendLayer.

Finding SendLayer API keys

You can copy the API key from this page by clicking on the copy icon.

Like so:

Click to copy the API key in SendLayer

With that done, you can head back to your WP Mail SMTP setup wizard tab.

Then, paste the API key where appropriate.

Paste the SendLayer API key into WP Mail SMTP

Congratulations. You’ve now set everything up. The final step is to send a test email to make sure everything is working.

Go to WP Mail SMTP » Tools. In the ‘Email Test’ tab, enter an email address to send an email to. This will default to the site’s admin email. Click ‘Send Email’.

Sending a test email using WP Mail SMTP

You should see the message ‘Test HTML email was sent successfully!’

Check your inbox to see whether it’s arrived. It’ll look like this:

The test email from WP Mail SMTP

Note: If your SendLayer account isn’t yet activated, you’ll get the message: [permission_denied]: Unable to send email. Your SMTP account is not yet activated.

Alternative Ways to Fixing the WordPress Not Sending Email Issue

As you can see from the WP Mail SMTP plugin’s list of mailer options, you don’t have to use SendLayer. While it’s our top free recommendation, there are other options that you can use, including Microsoft 365, Gmail (Google Workspace), Amazon SES, etc.

Using Gmail or Google Workspace With WP Mail SMTP to Fix WordPress Emails

If you have Gmail, then you can use that to send your emails. You won’t need to enter your email login details in WordPress when you’re using the WP Mail SMTP plugin.

To use Gmail or Google Workspace, set up WP Mail SMTP as shown above, and then click the ‘Google / Gmail’ option for your mailer.

Next, you can configure the mailer settings by using WP Mail SMTP’s one-click setup.

This method doesn’t require you to create your own app, which is much easier. You only need to sign in to your Gmail account and click ‘Save Settings.’

Setting up Gmail on WP Mail SMTP

There are a couple of key drawbacks to using your professional Gmail or Google Workspace, however.

One is that you may need to contact your web host to get them to install the right certificate to get it working.

Another is that if you change the email address in the future, you’ll need to go through the entire process again. This will include creating a new web application.

Using Microsoft 365 With WP Mail SMTP to Fix WordPress Emails

If you use Microsoft Office 365 or Outlook for your regular email account, then you can also use that to send out emails through WordPress. This isn’t a recommended option, though, because it’s less secure.

You’ll need to set up WP Mail SMTP as above, then click the ‘365 / Outlook’ option when choosing your SMTP mailer. Then, you need to register an app on Microsoft Azure so that you can fill out the fields below.

Choosing Outlook as the WP Mail SMTP mailer

For more details, see the detailed guide on how to set up Outlook with WP Mail SMTP.

Using Amazon SES with WP Mail SMTP to Fix WordPress Emails

Amazon AWS platform has a Simple Email Service (SES) that you can use to fix the WordPress email issue.

The best part about Amazon is that it lets you send up to 62,000 emails every month for free. The downside is that the setup is a bit more challenging for beginners, which is why we don’t recommend it as our preferred option.

But as you can imagine, a lot of professionals and experts use Amazon SES for their WordPress email SMTP service, so we couldn’t write an article without mentioning it.

If you’re interested in setting up Amazon SES with WordPress, then see the full instructions on how to set up Amazon SES with WordPress.

Whatever mailer you decide to use, always remember to use the ‘Test Email’ feature to ensure that emails are being successfully sent.

You must make sure to check your inbox, too, and confirm that you’ve received the test email.

We hope this article helped you learn how to fix the WordPress not sending email issue. You may also want to see our list of the most common WordPress errors and how to fix them or our picks of the best WooCommerce email customizer plugins.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

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Editorial Staff

Editorial Staff at WPBeginner is a team of WordPress experts led by Syed Balkhi with over 16 years of experience in WordPress, Web Hosting, eCommerce, SEO, and Marketing. Started in 2009, WPBeginner is now the largest free WordPress resource site in the industry and is often referred to as the Wikipedia for WordPress.

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Reader Interactions

155 CommentsLeave a Reply

  1. Syed Balkhi says

    Hey WPBeginner readers,
    Did you know you can win exciting prizes by commenting on WPBeginner?
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  2. Jiří Vaněk says

    Im using WP Forms paid version with WP Mail SMTP in free version and this combination work pretty well together.

  3. Jiří Vaněk says

    Currently, the most problems that I have solved in the last year with sending emails on WordPress was the missing DNS record for SPF and DKIM. Specifically, it is most evident on the side of Google and Gmail, which rejects such emails. It is therefore a good idea to also focus on SPF and DKIM records for the domain.

    • WPBeginner Support says

      If the method in this guide does not work then that could certainly be something to check :)

      Admin

  4. Moinuddin Waheed says

    Sending emails and being hundred percent assured that it has got delivered is a must for any kind of online businesses.
    This is where comes the role of this excellent plugin called wp SMTP mail which ensures that the email that has been sent has also been delivered to the recipient.
    I have implemented wp mail SMTP to my websites and planning to use on all my wordpress websites.

  5. Abubakar Bala says

    Wow! WP Beginner is my number 1 go to destination for WordPress bugs. I have been facing serious issues with the issues discussed in this article. Thank you so much for these detailed solutions.

  6. Tim says

    I understand having to set up the WP Mail SMTP Plugin. That’s fabulous.

    I suppose what I don’t understand is if I have SMTP with my hosting account and I can send through that, why use a third-party SMTP provider? Did I miss something? What benefit does the third-party provide? Thanks.

    • WPBeginner Support says

      It would be a personal preference if you use a third party as we recommend or some hosting providers do not have the option to use SMTP through them.

      Admin

  7. Qudus says

    Thank you for this great article.

    I followed every step successfully until I got to AUTHENTICATE THIS DORMAIN.

    when I clicked on manage domains, I couldn’t find any DNS record or TXT for me to add the codes from Sendinblue.

    Please what do I do?

    • WPBeginner Support says

      If you do not see where you can add the records, you would want to reach out to your hosting provider and they should be able to assist.

      Admin

  8. Brittany Pelegrino says

    Thank you so much for this awesome article! I was wondering if you could advise on where you need to point your subdomain to when creating the DNS record?

    • WPBeginner Support says

      Unless your hosting provider requires it, you shouldn’t need to point the subdomain to a specific location on your site or anywhere at all other than the records from our guide.

      Admin

  9. Oscar says

    hey i have the setup correct the test email went through however the email from the contact form was sent to promotions. what can i do to fix this?

    • WPBeginner Support says

      That would be determined by the email provider being used and not something the plugin would change sadly.

      Admin

  10. Michael says

    Tnx a lot for your guide. After not less than 10 different attempts to make my emails functionable, this did it. THANKS!

  11. Paul says

    What if email domain and web site domain are different? In your instructions and also the instructions of sendinblue it was confusing under which of the two domains am I putting the records, getting authorization, etc.

    • WPBeginner Support says

      You would want to set up Sendinblue for the domain that is in the email address

      Admin

  12. Paul says

    Excuse my SMTP ignorance but can I use Sendinblue for sending email from that email address from my wordpress account if I already have that email account functioning elsewhere (in my case outlook)?

  13. Marlene Elizabeth says

    It worked with the WP Mail SMTP Configuration perfectly. Literally just had to changed the E-Mail. Thanks.

  14. Lisa says

    Two days trying to resolve wordpress not sending attachment bigger than 1mb; nothing works.
    Resolved in 1 minute thanks to you.

  15. eva says

    Hi,i follow your steps. but my WordPress still don’t send an email now. I think i set up WP Mail SMTP successfully and test my private email, but when my clients subscribed, placed an order, canceled, and order, i didn’t receive a notification, either my clients. i have checked with my host server several times, they don’t know how to help me, and only clients’ reset passwords email was sent successfully after their help. Now they think there are must be something wrong with my woo commerce plugin or my theme.
    I don’t know how to deal with this problem now, can you give me your suggestion?

    • WPBeginner Support says

      You may want to check with the support for the plugin to ensure they don’t override the sending method for emails.

      Admin

  16. Harold says

    I was able to use sindInBlue and get it to work. Whenever a customer fills out my form, I get an email with all the customers information. They only problem I have is that I would like to send a “confirmation” email to my customers email address, stating that we received their email and will respond within 24 hours.

  17. Scott says

    In the tutorial, there is the line “Open up a new browser tab and log back into your web hosting account. You need to find your domain and open up the DNS records. ”

    Do I open up the DNS of my domain, or the newly created subdomain?

    • WPBeginner Support says

      You would open your primary domain’s DNS and add the records that Sendinblue has given you to that.

      Admin

  18. Tolu says

    I thought this guide would help as my issue seemed similar but after going through this guide, im still not sure how to fix my issue. I’ve been trying to change the Admin email so I can receive order details. when I try to change it says the new email will not be recognized until the confirmation email (sent to old) is accepted. But that confirmation email is nowhere to be found. How to I change the admin email?

  19. Rudy Ramkissoon says

    I’m receiving emails from non gmail accounts and getting error. Like the following below.

    Address not foundYour message wasn’t delivered to [email protected] because the domain example.com couldn’t be found. Check for typos or unnecessary spaces and try again.

    What can cause this?

    • WPBeginner Support says

      If the user did not type in their email address correctly would be the most common reason.

      Admin

  20. J H says

    I followed this guide and got “test email sent successfully” but I didn’t receive an email on my email account, how come?

    • WPBeginner Support says

      There are multiple possible reasons, you may want to ensure that the email did not get caught in your spam folder for a starting point

      Admin

  21. Joel says

    Thank You so very much for the step by step guidance… Was using the same plugin earlier and it stopped working… Following your instructions, have signed up for Sendinblue & now it works like a charm.
    I have always followed most of the instructions from your blog… Thank You

  22. lori says

    Hello, I’m a little confused. When I set up our site I contacted the web host (BlueHost) and they set up our email accounts using G-Suite so that we could use @ourdomain for our emails. They said it would be complicated to do, so they set it up without explaining the details. We pay for each email account set up this way. After reading this post, I’m wondering if I’m also supposed to set up the WP Mail SMTP plugin. Do I need to go back and set up this plugin also for the best email performance, or would that not apply in our situation? Thank you.

    • WPBeginner Support says

      We would recommend using SMTP to send your emails still as having a custom email address does not change how WordPress sends emails.

      Admin

    • WPBeginner Support says

      To ensure that connections going there are for email and not possible site visitors

      Admin

  23. Corinne says

    Followed along on how to fix the issue of WordPress not sending emails. Worked great until about half way through. What was on the website to what was actually happening totally off from each other. Did not successfully complete the task and not sure what to do next. Please update the help on the website. Thanks!!

  24. Kate says

    Thanks for the tutorial, it has changed a bit in google dev since you wrote it but I got there in the end. And emails are being sent and received!

    • WPBeginner Support says

      You’re welcome, it’s difficult to keep up with Google’s changes but glad our article could still be helpful :)

      Admin

  25. Shahbaaz says

    I am not receiving WordPress password recovery emails or WordPress confirm emails. What should I do ? I am using Google cloud hosting trial. I am a beginner. Please help!

  26. Carla says

    Hi there, thanks for this amazing tutorial and so well explained – However I’m still unable to overcome the problem on the main settings. I’m using contactform7 and forms aren’t working duo to this issue. I’m not receiving any email at all to be able to confirm the address change.

    • WPBeginner Support says

      If you set up SMTP properly and the emails are not sending correctly then you would want to reach out to your form’s support to ensure there isn’t an issue with the form itself.

      Admin

  27. Emmanuel says

    I am currently using Google Gmail setup and was able to follow the steps to create the Gmail api to connect the Client ID and Secret ID. I can test the redirection URL and login to Google all right. However, I’m unable to send a Test Email. All of sudden the “Force From Email” check box is also grayed out and uncheck. I can’t check that box. Please help

    • WPBeginner Support says

      For issues with the plugin, please reach out to the plugin’s support through the support forum and they should be able to assist.

      Admin

  28. Adi Hermanto says

    Thanks for brilliant tutorial mate, really did help solve an issue which wasted hours of my time.

  29. Pugazhendhi says

    I got an error message 403 forbidden at the last stage of setting up the gmail smtp.Can you suggest me something so that I can resolve it to send an email of the enquiry form that i have created using contact form 7.

  30. Joel says

    I installed the WP Mail SMTP plugin and although you made a great effort to demonstrate connectivity with mailgun, your info was not necessarily dated with Godaddy’s cpanel. I decided to go with Sendgrid which was a much easier set process than mailgun.

  31. brad says

    i successfully installed WP Mail SMTP and got the confirmation test email. However, I don’t know how to attach it to my website. The current contact form in zerif lite gives me an error message. Please advise. Thanks.

  32. Jason says

    I was able to set up WP Mail SMTP to work with Contact Form 7, but in all emails we receive they always show my gmail as the sender but not the real senders email. Is there anyway to fix this problem?

  33. Josin says

    I get the following error when I try to authorize the plugin to send mails using Gmail.
    “The Web server is configured to not list the contents of this directory or you do not have enough permissions to access the resource”
    How can I tackle this error?

  34. Alicia says

    I tried twice to follow these directions and everything was going according to plan… But then at the end… and error message! Anyone know what this means?
    The OAuth client was not found.

  35. Will says

    My problem is that wordpress won’t send emails to or from an address that is coming from my domain name. E.g. @domain.com. But it will send from any other email address type.

  36. Md Sajid says

    i successfully setup my site, and it is working very well.
    thanks for this nice and working tutorial..
    i used gmail api first method..

    SORRY FOR MY BAD ENGLISH

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