how-to-get-wordpress-form-notifications-using-the-wp-mail-smtp-plugin

How to Get WordPress Form Notifications Using the WP Mail SMTP Plugin

Are you not receiving email notifications from your WordPress contact forms? Unfortunately, the WordPress contact form not sending email issue is very common.

However, you can quickly fix this issue and start receiving those emails by setting up Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) on your website. This tutorial shows you exactly how to fix the WordPress contact form sending email issue.

Why You’re Not Receiving Notifications

Are you frustrated because your forms aren’t sending emails and they keep disappearing? It’s a big issue in the WordPress community, and can really hurt your lead generation efforts. And if you’re here because you were searching for the answer to where does WPForms send emails? We’ve got you covered.

There can be a lot of reasons behind the lack of email notifications. Here are a couple of the most common:

  • Your WordPress hosting server (even unmanaged or managed WordPress hosting) is not configured to use the PHP mail function that WordPress uses to send emails that are generated by a contact form plugin like WPForms.
  • Your email server is blocking it as spam. To reduce spam emails, your email provider often checks whether your email is originating from the location it claims to be originating from. For example, if your email server is yahoo.com, chances are your form notification won’t even make into the spam folder since they are sent out from a completely different server.

This is why we recommend using SMTP to send emails from WordPress instead of using the default PHP mail function. SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) is an industry standard way to send emails that use proper authentication methods to ensure email deliverability.

In this post, we’ll be using the free WP Mail SMTP plugin to send form notifications using a simple setup with any email account.

WPForms is the best WordPress Form Builder plugin. Get it for free!

Note: This tutorial method is less secure because it stores your email login and password in your WordPress dashboard. Other WordPress administrators have access to this. For a more secure option, we recommend using one of WP Mail SMTP’s more secure options.

How to Fix The WordPress Contact Form Not Sending Email Issue

Follow these steps to fix the WordPress contact form not sending email issue.

Step 1: Install the WP Mail SMTP Plugin

The first thing you need to do is to install and activate the WP Mail SMTP plugin. You can see this guide on how to install a WordPress plugin for step-by-step instructions.

Step 2: Configure Your From Email

After installing and activating this plugin, go to WP Mail SMTP » Settings to configure the mail options.

adjust settings if wordpress contact form not sending email

Here, you’ll first be asked to enter your From Email. This is the email address that all of your site’s emails (and form’s email notifications) will be sent from.

Note: Make sure to enter the same email address you will be using to send SMTP emails (your Yahoo, Gmail, or Live email address).

Additionally, in WPForms the same email must be used in the From Email setting for your form notifications.

We strongly recommend that you also check the box labeled Force From Email. Since the From Emails from anything on your site that sends email must match this email address in order for SMTP to work, this will save you the trouble of editing the WordPress email settings throughout your site (in all form emails, etc).

Step 3: Configure Your From Name

Next, you can change your From Name. By default, this will be set to the site name. However, you can change this to anything you’d like, like your actual name for personalization.

You can also choose to Force From Name to apply this setting to emails site-wide.

Adjust-From-Name-in-WP-Mail-SMTP-settings

We also recommend checking the optional Return Path checkbox to Set the return-path to match the From Email. With this enabled, you’ll be emailed at that address if any messages bounce as a result of issues with the recipient’s email.

Set-return-path-to-match-From-Email

Step 4: Select Your Mailer

Next, in the Mailer field you’ll need to select the Other SMTP option.

select other mailer in wp mail smtp when fixing wordpress contact form not sending email

Feel free to check out our tutorials on some of the other mailers available like MailgunPepipost, Amazon SES, SendGrid, Gmail, or Microsoft.

Step 5: Configure Other SMTP Settings

After selecting Other SMTP as your mailer, a new section will appear called Other SMTP. Here, you’ll need to enter additional details to connect your site to your email provider.

Configure Other SMTP Settings

Each email provider requires slightly different SMTP configurations. In this tutorial, we’ll take a look at how to configure options for Gmail, Yahoo, and Live/Hotmail.

When entering your username and password for any email option, please note that this information is stored in plain text. For a more secure approach, check below the Password field for instructions on adding the password to your site’s wp-config.php file instead.

For more details check out WPBeginner’s tutorial for details on how to edit wp-config.

smtp password

Here are the SMTP settings you’ll need for the most popular email providers:

Gmail / G Suite SMTP Settings

If you want to send notifications using your Gmail or G Suite accounts, you can use the below SMTP options.

  • Host: smtp.gmail.com
  • Port: 587 (or 465 using SSL encryption)
  • Username: Your Gmail account email address (e.g. john@gmail.com)
  • Password: Your Gmail account password
  • Encryption: TLS

Then, enter your Gmail username and password and save these settings.

Note: Please note that we recommend using the built in Gmail integration instead of this less secure Other SMTP mailer. If you use SMTP, though, don’t forget to enable less secure apps in the next step.

Hotmail / Live SMTP Settings

If you want to send notifications using your Hotmail or Live email, you can use the below SMTP options.

  • Host: smtp.live.com
  • Port: 587
  • Username: Your Hotmail account email (e.g. john@hotmail.com)
  • Password: Your Hotmail account password
  • Encryption: TLS

Then, enter your Live or Hotmail username and password, and click Save Changes.

Yahoo Mail SMTP Settings

If you want to send notifications using your Yahoo email, you can use the below SMTP options.

  • Host: smtp.mail.yahoo.com
  • Port: 465
  • Username: Your Yahoo Mail account email (e.g. john@yahoo.com)
  • Password: Your Yahoo Mail account password
  • Encryption: SSL

Then, enter your Yahoo username and password and click Save Changes.

Note: Please note you will need to enable less secure apps, found in the next step.

AOL SMTP Settings

If you want to send notifications using your AOL email, you can use the below SMTP options.

  • Host: smtp.aol.com
  • Port: 587
  • Username: Your AOL screen name (e.g. john)
  • Password: Your AOL account password
  • Encryption: TLS

Once these details are entered, be sure to click the Save Settings button.

Step 6: Enable Less Secure Apps

In order for SMTP to be used on your WordPress site, you may need to enable less secure apps on your email account. Below, we’ll show you how to do this in:

How to Enable Less Secure Apps in Gmail

To enable less secure apps on Gmail, log in to your Gmail or G Suite account.

Then, go to less secure apps by clicking this link. Next to Access for less secure apps select Turn on. (If you have Two Factor Authentication enabled, you will need to disable it before you can enable this option.)

less secure apps on for when wordpress contact form not sending email

Sometimes for security reasons Gmail may automatically block the sign-in used by SMTP, even with less secure apps enabled. When this happens, your recovery email address will be sent an email with a sign-in attempt warning like this:

google smtp block when wordpress contact form not sending email

To remove this block, you’ll need to click the Review Your Devices Now button (or visit your account’s Recently Used Devices page) and follow the instructions to let Google know this was a legitimate login attempt.

How to Enable Less Secure Apps in Hotmail/Live

If you’re using Live or Hotmail email, you don’t have to enable less secure apps on your account to configure SMTP on your site.

How to Enable Less Secure Apps in Yahoo

To enable less secure apps on Yahoo, log in to your Yahoo account.

Then, click here to go to account security settings.

Now scroll down to Generate app password and click on it.

yahoo account security screen for if wordpress contact form not sending email

A screen will appear to generate your password. From the dropdown, select ‘Other App’. Name it whatever you’d like, and click on the Generate button.

generate app password yahoo when wordpress contact form not sending email

Your password will be displayed on the next screen. Copy it and click done. You’ll need this to paste into the WP Mail SMTP settings area.

generate app password yahoo

You’ll see the app password generate for you.

app generated password

Once the password is generated, you can paste this password into WP Mail SMTP.

smtp password

Step 7: Send a Test Email

Once your SMTP settings have been added to WP Mail SMTP, it’s important to send a test email to ensure that everything is working right.

To send a test email, click on the Email Test tab on WP Mail SMTP’s settings page.

fixing wordpress contact form not sending email with wp mail smtp send test

On this tab, you can enter any email address that you have access to and click the Send Email button.

button to send wp mail smtp test email

After sending the email, you should see a success message.

success message smtp

If you check the inbox for the email address you just entered, you should receive the email for this test. If you’re using Yahoo email it may take about 5 – 10 minutes for it to arrive in your inbox.

wp mail test success message email fix for wordpress contact form not sending email

Be sure to also test out your form emails by submitting a couple of test submissions after completing this setup. That way, you can check that emails deliver successfully.

And don’t forget to set the From Email in your form’s notification settings to the same email you set up this SMTP with.

Final Thoughts

That’s it! You’ve successfully configured SMTP on your WordPress site. You’ll now start getting notifications from your WordPress forms.

And now that your email notifications are working properly, you might also want to check out our post on how to reduce shopping cart abandonment so you can learn more about sending abandoned cart emails and other tips.

What are you waiting for? Get started with the most powerful WordPress forms plugin today.

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Comments

  1. I have tried everything you suggested – set-up my SMTP correctly – sent the test email which worked. But I am still not receiving emails sent from my contact form which I set up using WPform Lite. The form looks great and when you send a message you get the confirmation message that the email has been sent. I’ve got an automated email message from WPforms to let me know how my form is performing. I’ve followed all the instructions on how to set-up a form and made sure the form notification in setting is correctly filled out. I’ve Elemenator to edit my website. I’ve checked with my web hosting company LCN and they said the problem is not at their end. I am lost and don’t know what the problem could be. I’m sure this is not uncommon. Please HELP!

    1. Hi Paul – I’m sorry to hear you’re running into so many issues with this (and sorry, too, for my late reply)! If the test email is working, then the good news is that your mailer is working just fine. In most cases like this, the last step is to go to WP Mail SMTP > Settings and check the “Force From Email” box.

      And if you’ve already done that, then my next recommendation would be to try a different mailer. I know that this is a frustrating solution, but it may be that something about the specific mailer just doesn’t work as well with your specific site.

      Last, please know that we’re happy to help with WP Mail SMTP questions over in our WordPress.org forum. Just please be sure to copy/paste your detailed message into the forum post, since that’s all useful to know.

      I hope this helps!

  2. SMTP Host: smtp.mail.yahoo.com
    Encryption: SSL
    SMTP Port: 465
    Auto TLS: ON
    Authentication: ON
    SMTP Username: [details removed]@yahoo.com
    SMTP Password: •••••••••••••••• (WP Mail SMTP app password)
    It also doesn’t work with my regular Yahoo mail password.

    It gives the error:

    There was a problem while sending the test email.
    Could not connect to the SMTP host.
    This means your web server was unable to connect to smtp.mail.yahoo.com.
    Typically this error is returned for one of the following reasons:

    -SMTP settings are incorrect (wrong port, security setting, incorrect host).
    -Your web server is blocking the connection.
    -Your SMTP host is rejecting the connection.

    I’ve also tried changing to TLS port 587 it gives the error:

    There was a problem while sending the test email.
    Error due to unsolicited and/or bulk e-mail.
    This means the connection to your SMTP host was made successfully, but the host rejected the email.
    Typically this error is returned when you are sending too many e-mails or e-mails that have been identified as spam.

    If I turn encryption off it just sits there “waiting…”

    It seems every time I try to set up email with WordPress, no matter what plugin I’m using, it is a serious PITA.

  3. Hi I can’t send mails and gives this error code. Please help. Thanks a lot

    Versions:
    WordPress: 5.4.1
    WordPress MS: No
    PHP: 7.3.6
    WP Mail SMTP: 2.0.1

    Params:
    Mailer: smtp
    Constants: No
    ErrorInfo: SMTP Error: Could not authenticate.
    Host: smtp.gmail.com
    Port: 587
    SMTPSecure: tls
    SMTPAutoTLS: bool(true)
    SMTPAuth: bool(true)

    Server:
    OpenSSL: OpenSSL 1.0.1e 11 Feb 2013
    Apache.mod_security: No
    SMTP Debug:
    2020-05-15 10:00:23 Connection: opening to smtp.gmail.com:587, timeout=300, options=array ()

    2020-05-15 10:00:23 Connection: opened

    2020-05-15 10:00:23 SERVER -> CLIENT: 220 smtp.gmail.com ESMTP 94sm3049930wrf.74 – gsmtp

    2020-05-15 10:00:23 CLIENT -> SERVER: EHLO myonlinestore.byethost13.com

    2020-05-15 10:00:23 SERVER -> CLIENT: 250-smtp.gmail.com at your service, [185.27.134.50]250-SIZE 35882577250-8BITMIME250-STARTTLS250-ENHANCEDSTATUSCODES250-PIPELINING250-CHUNKING250 SMTPUTF8

    2020-05-15 10:00:23 CLIENT -> SERVER: STARTTLS

    2020-05-15 10:00:23 SERVER -> CLIENT: 220 2.0.0 Ready to start TLS

    2020-05-15 10:00:23 CLIENT -> SERVER: EHLO myonlinestore.byethost13.com

    2020-05-15 10:00:23 SERVER -> CLIENT: 250-smtp.gmail.com at your service, [185.27.134.50]250-SIZE 35882577250-8BITMIME250-AUTH LOGIN PLAIN XOAUTH2 PLAIN-CLIENTTOKEN OAUTHBEARER XOAUTH250-ENHANCEDSTATUSCODES250-PIPELINING250-CHUNKING250 SMTPUTF8

    2020-05-15 10:00:23 CLIENT -> SERVER: AUTH LOGIN

    2020-05-15 10:00:23 SERVER -> CLIENT: 334 VXNlcm5hbWU6

    2020-05-15 10:00:23 CLIENT -> SERVER: Y2hhbmRyYWppdGhzQGdtYWlsLmNvbQ==

    2020-05-15 10:00:23 SERVER -> CLIENT: 334 UGFzc3dvcmQ6

    2020-05-15 10:00:23 CLIENT -> SERVER: cGh5bHVtY2hhZDE5ODY=

    2020-05-15 10:00:24 SERVER -> CLIENT: 534-5.7.14 534-5.7.14 Please log in via your web browser and then try again.534-5.7.14 Learn more at534 5.7.14 https://support.google.com/mail/answer/78754 94sm3049930wrf.74 – gsmtp

    2020-05-15 10:00:24 SMTP ERROR: Password command failed: 534-5.7.14 534-5.7.14 Please log in via your web browser and then try again.534-5.7.14 Learn more at534 5.7.14 https://support.google.com/mail/answer/78754 94sm3049930wrf.74 – gsmtp

    SMTP Error: Could not authenticate.

    2020-05-15 10:00:24 CLIENT -> SERVER: QUIT

    2020-05-15 10:00:24 SERVER -> CLIENT: 221 2.0.0 closing connection 94sm3049930wrf.74 – gsmtp

    2020-05-15 10:00:24 Connection: closed

    SMTP Error: Could not authenticate.

    1. Hey there! Looking at the error message, it looks like your SMTP Username and/or SMTP Password may not have been entered correctly. Please double-check them and if it does not help, I would suggest contacting the WP Mail SMTP support team.

      If you have a paid license of WP Mail SMTP, you can reach out to them here or if you are a free user, you can reach out to them here. Have a good one 🙂

  4. I am having the same problem as Paul. Everything works correctly in the email test, the form looks great, and I get the “thanks for contacting us” message that the form went through when I test it. However, the form is not reaching my email account. I have tried this from other users as well as my own and it’s the same problem. Please help! This is so frustrating!

    1. Hi Julia,

      I was having this issue also. I believe I solved it by going to the WP Contact form settings-General and untick the ‘Enable anti-spam honeypot’. It could only be due to the content in the form I was entering when testing but seemed to solve it for me.

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