Sending and receiving email from your WordPress website can be a pain sometimes. When an email doesn’t hit its destination, what happened? What went wrong? Addressing the issue to correct it can take time and resources you’d really like to put into other things. Fortunately, there’s a pretty simple solution for most email woes that costs you nothing: using one of the great SMTP plugins for WordPress available in the WordPress repository.
Why Email Through an SMTP Plugin?
As we’ve discussed previously on ninjaforms.com, by default in a WordPress website your host is the agent that is actually responsible for sending email out from your site. You may have other plugins installed that pass email data to your host to be sent, like a Ninja Forms email action for example, but at the end of any such process it is the host that actually sends the email. If you’re having problems with your email, 9 times out of 10 there’s an issue with the process on your host’s end.
SMTP plugins for WordPress offer an alternative to the host as the agent responsible for sending the mail. With an SMTP plugin installed, that plugin handles sending email instead of your host. You’re essentially turning the responsibility over to a specialist!
Simple SMTP Plugins vs a Transactional Email Service
We’ve also talked before about transactional email services here on wpninjas.com. Services such as Mailgun, Pepipost, Sparkpost, and others offer full service email solutions which require an account with the service provider. While a certain number of emails can be sent for free this way, they typically become paid services after a certain volume threshold. Many of these services also send email via SMTP and have plugins in the WordPress repo to integrate with their external service.
The SMTP plugins for WordPress that we’re about to review are simple SMTP plugins that do not have an external service built up for them. If you’re just having email problems and want a quick solution, and/or don’t send a ton of email each month, these plugins represent a simple, lightweight, and free solution for your needs without the extra time and effort needed to get started with a transactional service.
SMTP Plugins for WordPress
Postman SMTP emphasizes security, simplicity, and reliability. It will work even on hosts who actively block SMTP ports, and has the capability to deliver over HTTPS as well. OAuth 2.0 support adds an additional layer of security. They’ve done a lot of work to distinguish themselves from larger SMTP plugins, and it shows. Postman SMTP is regularly updated and has over 80,000 active installs of their own.
- Connectivity Test for proactively diagnosing any server setup issues
- Setup Wizard to to eliminate any configuration mistakes
- Logging to diagnose exact cause of any failed emails
- Supports international alphabets and HTML mail
- Abundant security layers and support
- API integration with a variety of external services
2) WP Mail Bank
WP Mail Bank is one of about a dozen plugins built by Tech-Banker, an India based company with an array of plugins for the WordPress ecosystem. They bring a highly configurable option to the field of SMTP plugins for WordPress. WP Mail Bank is regularly updated with about 40,000 active installs and good, though few, reviews.
- Easily configurable general email parameters
- Configuration of less accessible options as well
- Test email utility to verify everything is set up and working properly
- Can toggle between custom SMTP server and inbuilt php mailer
3) Gmail SMTP
If you use Gmail exclusively and love it, Gmail SMTP may be the SMTP plugin for WordPress that you’re looking for. It obviously specializes in compatibility with Gmail, but it also has a number of other nice features going for it. They have an emphasis on security as well, which is always a welcome sight. They are a small but growing plugin with 5,000+ active installs. THey’re regularly updated with great reviews for their size.
- Works perfectly with Gmail
- OAuth 2.0 protocol for added security
- Native TLS/SSL authentication
- Easy setup
- Good configurability
4) Easy WP SMTP
Easy WP SMTP just works. If you need a truly simple SMTP plugin and don’t care about bells and whistles, this one is easy to install and get started, with clear directions on their repo page. They are regularly updated and have over 100,000 active installs.
- Easy to install and use, as the name implies
- Use Gmail, Yahoo, or Hotmail (hotmail!?) SMTP server natively
- Good basic security
5) WP Mail SMTP
Like Easy, WP Mail SMTP is a simple, lightweight, no frills option. They are probably the most widely used SMTP plugin in the WordPress repo, with over half a million active installs. They were last updated 4 months ago and have good reviews, though few for their size
- Easy, lightweight, and moderately configurable
Using a SMTP plugin for WordPress is one of the best quick fixes out there for email that doesn’t want to send. If you’re experiencing issues, it certainly can’t hurt to give one of these options a try and see if that gets you back on the right track. I hope you’ve found something useful here, and if you’ve got other recommendations or thoughts on these, please don’t hesitate to speak up in the comments. Happy blogging and safe travels to all your email!