WPForms Blog

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How to Setup Reliable WordPress Email Notifications with SendGrid

by Shahzad Saeed on Nov 17, 2016

Have you noticed that you’re not receiving WordPress emails? Unfortunately, WordPress not sending emails is a common problem, but it’s easy to fix. In this tutorial, we’ll walk you through how to set up WordPress email notifications with SendGrid.

When Email Notifications Don’t Work

This can be a tricky problem, because you may not notice that WordPress isn’t sending form notifications until people start filling out your form, and their messages don’t reach your email inbox. You might notice form entries in your WordPress dashboard that haven’t been sent to your email, or discover there’s a problem when frustrated visitors reach out to you using social media or other methods.

Here’s what usually causes the problem…

By default, WordPress uses the PHP mail() function to send emails generated by WordPress or any contact plugin like WPForms.

The most common reason for missing these emails is due to your WordPress hosting server. Usually it isn’t configured to use the PHP mail() function.

Thankfully, you can work around this issue by using SMTP.

SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) is the industry standard for sending emails. Unlike PHP mail function, SMTP uses proper authentication which increases email deliverability. That’s why we recommend using SMTP to send emails in WordPress.

Why Use SendGrid?

There are many different SMTP services available, but in this article we will show one that we recommend, SendGrid.

While other methods require you to store sensitive login information in your WordPress dashboard, SendGrid will keep your email passwords secure.

SendGrid offers a free plan for sending up to 3,000 emails a month, or up to 100 per day. For most small businesses and personal websites, that’s plenty. If you need to send more, you will likely need a paid service.

Note: Though SendGrid doesn’t list a free plan on their pricing page, you can still get a free option limited to 100 emails per day. To get their free plan, you’ll first need to sign up for their free 30 day trial. At the end of the trial, you’ll be given the choice to continue on a free plan for under 100 emails a day.

If you want to learn other ways to fix the WordPress not sending emails problem, visit How to Send Emails in WordPress using SMTP.

How to Find Your SendGrid API Key

Before we can configure your website to work with SendGrid, we need to find your SendGrid API key. This key is a unique identifier and a secret token for authentication that will allow your website to interact with your account at SendGrid.

First, you’ll need to create a SendGrid account. Just click over to their website and click the Get Started button to sign up.

After creating an account, click the Start button next to Integrate using our Web API or SMTP relay.

sendgrid integrate web API

Next, you’ll be asked to choose a setup method. You can now choose SMTP Relay.

choose smtp relay for sendgrid setup

Now enter an API key name and then, click Create Key.

create sendgrid api key

Then, you can copy the API key.

copy sendgrid api key

Using SendGrid to Fix WordPress Emails

Now we can get started setting up SendGrid on your WordPress site.

First, install the SendGrid plugin. Here’s a step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

While in your WordPress dashboard, go Settings » SendGrid and paste your API key in.

How to set up WordPress Email Notifications with Sendgrid

Scroll down just a little. Do not enter your name and email address on this page. This has shown to be a source of problems. Instead, you can edit the email sender name and email address from the WPForms notification settings.

The content-type needs to be text/html to ensure the email is delivered. Other than that, you can leave the fields blank, and save the settings.

SendGrid mail settings
Lastly, you’ll want to send a test email to see if your website now sends email notifications with SendGrid.

How to send a test email in Sendgrid for WordPress

Note: In WPForms, the same email used to set up SendGrid must be used in the From Email setting for your form notifications.

That’s it! When WordPress can’t send emails, you’re able to fix the problem. Now you’re ready to fix WordPress email notifications with SendGrid.

Looking for more email notification tips? You might also want to check out our guide on How to Send Users Confirmation Emails from WordPress Forms, which will show you how to send a thank you message to anyone who fills out your form.

Don’t have WPForms yet? What are you waiting for? Get started with the most powerful WordPress forms plugin today.

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Comments

  1. Hi, I signed up for a SendGrid account and after verification, there was no extant API key under Settings. I would have to create one and I am waaaaay out of my depth on even where to start doing that — can’t find any layman’s directions in a Google, either.
    Where do I go from here?
    Thanks, Miranda

      1. She knows where to find API key but you don’t have API keys in account if you haven’t created any.

        And when you click to create there is bunch of confusing options. She doesn’t know what to enable and what not.

        You just need to enable send email permission if you dont need anything else.

    1. Hey Julia,

      You’re correct, they recently restructured their pricing and plans, which we will be updating this post to reflect!

      It’s worth noting that the free trial converts to a free plan after its over (and it’s in the VERY fine print it seems), but the plan is much more limited than their previous free plan. This is from the pricing page FAQ https://cl.ly/3i1B1a0R400R

      Thanks 🙂

  2. This is completely and utterly frustrating. After spending all kinds of time trying to get the WPforms plugin to work, I followed the instructions send to me after contacting them, which suggested I sign up for SendGrid. I have done that, gotten the API key, pasted it into the Sendgrid fields in the plugin as shown above, and keep getting the message “API Key is invalid or without permissions.”., and that was after verifying my email. I finally deleted that key and tried creating another one – got the same result. I also contacted my server – Bluehost, who looked and said there shouldn’t be any reason I am experiencing these issues. WPforms was easy to use, but if I can’t get it to actually submit the form and get the information to me, it is useless. So far, all of the suggestions given to me by WPforms have not worked and have been time consuming. It is advertised as being quick and easy to use, but you are not told that you will likely need a whole other step or more, and more plugins, which may or may not work.

    1. Hi Sandy,

      I apologize for the frustration!

      As I mentioned in our message earlier, spam has become a major issue and email providers are bulking up their barriers. WordPress emails, which include notifications sent by WPForms, will send exactly as they should with no errors, but these barriers by email providers will still sometimes block them.

      This is where tools like SendGrid can help, because they authenticate WordPress emails and so let them get through to your inbox. Since SendGrid is creating issues for you, you have a couple of options: you can contact SendGrid support so they can help you troubleshoot their setup process, or you can switch to one of the other options I’d mentioned, including Sending using Gmail (or Google Apps) via SMTP or WP Mail SMTP plugin.

      If you encounter any other issues, please know we’re happy to help!

  3. Please help? I can’t get WP forms to work – when I fill out my form on my website I receive no emails for it.. I installed sendgrid and put in the API key and I am able to send myself an email as a test using sendgrid but I still am not getting emails when I try filling out my form on my site. Am I missing a step?

    1. Hi Christine,

      If the test email for SendGrid works, then you’re good to go on SendGrid setup 🙂 In these situations, the issue is usually with notification settings. To check this out, you can open the form builder and go to Settings > Notifications.

      There, you’ll see a From Email field (shown in this screenshot). This must match the email you set up SendGrid with for the email to send properly with their SMTP.

      If you give this a try and have any questions, could you please let us know?

      Thanks! 🙂

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