Sending emails out of your WordPress site is a tricky setup. Most WordPress sites have experienced problems in sending emails through their site. This is usually due to mal-configured web servers, that causes the emails to be dropped at the server level. Below, we look at 3 reliable and robust plugins that will allow you to use Gmail as an SMTP service provider. This will ensure reliable email delivery from your WordPress website.
Why do most WordPress sites fail to send emails out with 100% delivery rates?
Self-hosted WordPress websites make use of the PHP mail function to send emails out. However, due to security reasons, web hosting companies block the PHP mail function. Your outgoing emails get dropped right at your web host’s server. And, if your host has the PHP mail function enabled, there are chances that it may not have been configured for seamless delivery to the target email address. PHP mail function does not use any authentication. It is so easy to exploit a server through a weak security function like PHP mail.
What can I do to improve my email delivery from the WordPress site?
For self-hosted WordPress sites, you will need to use a plugin. This plugin will form an interface between your WordPress website and the third party SMTP service provider. So, you will have 3 entities to make your outgoing emails get delivered 100%.
You have the WordPress site that sends the email. The plugin intercepts the email, and will use a third party SMTP service provider. The SMTP service provider maintains SMTP servers. These servers are continuously and professionally managed by the SMTP service company. The IP addresses of these SMTP service providers are clean; and the SMTP servers are hardened to prevent abuse of any sorts. All this contributes to improved email deliverability of the third party email service providers.
Gmail is one of the SMTP service providers, especially, when you use professional Google Workspace services for emails.
We will look at the three plugins that integrate well with Gmail SMTP services. For the purpose of the study, we have restricted our analysis to plugins that have been tested and deployed on a large number of WordPress websites.
WP Mail SMTP
WP Mail SMTP is by far the best plugin that works tightly with the Gmail SMTP services. It uses Google’s API to authenticate your WordPress site and send emails out through the Gmail SMTP servers.
Configuration is straight forward. WP Mail SMTP allows you to set the sender email address and name of the sender. Setup an application on Google, and use the API and OAuth authentication to link WP Mail SMTP with Gsuite or Google’s SMTP services. The plugin authenticates your site’s Google account with Google using OAuth, and this ensures authenticated email delivery through Google SMTP servers.
The WP Mail SMTP plugin is in use on over 2 million WordPress websites. It is also one of the most reviewed WordPress SMTP plugins around.
You could choose to take a PRO version of the plugin. WP Mail SMTP comes in multiple subscription plans. The Elite and higher subscription levels allow installation of WP Mail SMTP by the WP Mail team. So, all installation issues are taken care of by the developer. This plugin should be the de-facto standard for integrating with third party SMTP services through a self-hosted WordPress blog or website.
You can check out the free version of WP Mail SMTP here.
You can check out the PRO and higher versions of WP Mail SMTP here.
Mail Bank is the second most used SMTP plugin for integrating your WordPress blog or website with Google’s SMTP services. You could use your Google Workspace account to authenticate the site and plugin with Google’s email services and SMTP servers. The plugin is available in 16 different languages.
Mail Bank is in use on over 50,000 WordPress sites. This is nearly a fourth of the active deployments of WP Mail SMTP plugin. However, the plugin seems to have fallen off a creek when it comes to providing support to users. There are user complaints of a non-responsive support. The plugin was last updated nearly 8 months back. It has not been tested after WordPress version 5.6.5. That is quite a gap in terms of WordPress versions.
The free version of Mail Bank is available for download on this page.
PRO and higher versions of the WP Mail Bank plugin are available for download on this page.
I will, however, suggest that you talk to the developers before committing your money on the Mail Bank plugin. Just make sure that it is being actively developed and patched.
WP Gmail Setup
The WP Gmail setup plugin is deployed on over 3,000 websites. It helps to link up your website with Gmail SMTP servers to send out emails. This plugin is an open source plugin.
The issue with the WP Gmail Setup seems to be that the developers have forsaken the plugin. It was last updated 3 years back. It works only till the WordPress version 4.9.8. Effectively, the WP Gmail Setup plugins sounds like an interesting concept for the WordPress sites. But, we may want to steer clear of the plugin to ensure that we are not working on a non-supported plugin.
If you intend to use Gmail’s SMTP services for sending out emails from the WordPress website, your best bet is WP Mail SMTP. No other plugin comes close to it, in terms of regular updates, functionality and delivery rates. You are still tied with the email limits imposed by GMail SMTP services. Aside from that, WP Mail SMTP provides for a robust email delivery solution for self-hosted WordPress blogs or websites.
Helen is a geeky nerd who seeks to find and fix tech gaps in the latest gadgets. She is always on the lookout for resolving technical queries of users, and is an avid writer on technical subjects.