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Configure WordPress to Use SMTP Authentication for Sending Emails

WordPress sites send emails to notify you of new user registration, lost password reset, automatic updates, and even notifications from your contact forms.

WordPress relies on the PHPMailer class to send these emails through PHP's mail function.

However this function does not work as expected due to a number of reasons.

Many 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.

In this article, we'll show you how to configure WordPress to send emails using SMTP authentication protocol.

First you need to install and activate the WP Mail SMTP plugin.

We are going to just mention the installation steps, read our article How to Manage WordPress Plugins for more details.

Go to Administration > Plugins, click Add New and enter in the search field smtp keyword.

Find WP Mail SMTP by WPForms plugin and click Install Now:

wordpress smtp mail

Click Activate:

wordpress smtp mail

Click Settings link or visit in the menu Settings > Email to configure plugin settings:

wordpress smtp mail

In the Advanced Email Option section enter:

  • From Email - the email address you want to send emails from – usually the admin email
  • From Name - the name that your emails will be received from
  • Mailer – select the first option via SMTP
  • Return Path - check if you want to match the return path for your emails to the sending email

wordpress smtp mail

In the SMTP Options setion enter:

  • SMTP Host - SMTP server hostname;
  • SMTP Port – SMTP port (SSL – 465, none SSL – 25)
  • Encryption – select SSL

HostPulse strongly recommends to use encryption when possible.

  • Authentication - select SMTP authentication option
  • Username – SMTP authentication username
  • Password - SMTP authentication password

Click Save Changes button.

wordpress smtp mail

It is time to test our SMTP configuration. In the Send a Test Email section enter any test email address – we are going to test with Gmail account:

wordpress smtp mail

After clicking Send Test button a long report will appear under Advanced Email Options:

wordpress smtp mail

Scroll down to check the authentication status:

wordpress smtp mail

Enter your GMail account to see if the mail was received:

wordpress smtp mail

You can check also the full email source code if you click on the small arrow at the right hand side:

wordpress smtp mail

Successful authentication:

wordpress smtp mail

Congratulations, you have successfully setup your WordPress site to send emails using SMTP authentication.

However, if you are planning on sending newsletter emails using WordPress, then you should use a mass emailing service provider, like MailGun or SendGrid.

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