How to Improve Email Delivery

One common problem with sending email from any WordPress website is ensuring deliverability. All hosts treat sending email differently – some have more strict controls than others. As such, you may notice some email gets delivered and some doesn’t. This may vary between plugins, themes, hosts, and an array of other methods depending on how they’re implemented into your website setup.

The document aims to give an overview of potential issues relating to email deliverability from your WordPress website and what you can do to improve deliverability. These are listed in order of recommendation, below.

1. SPF

This is a type of DNS record that identifies which mail servers are permitted to send email on behalf of your domain. The purpose of an SPF record is to prevent spammers from sending messages with forged ‘From’ addresses at your domain.
SPFWizard.net will help you to create the information that you need in order to create a new SPF DNS record.
Alternatively, there might be an easier method, such as ticking a checkbox in your hosting control panel, so it’s worth checking the documentation at your host to see what they recommend with regards to implementing SPF on your domain.

2. DKIM

This allows senders to associate a domain name with an email message, thus vouching for its authenticity. This is done by “signing” the email with a digital signature, a field that is added to the message’s header.
UnlockTheInbox has a handy tool which will help you to create the information that you need in order create a DKIM DNS record.
Again alternatively, there might be an easier method, such as ticking a checkbox in your hosting control panel, so it’s worth checking the documentation at your host to see what they recommend with regards to implementing SPF on your domain.

3. Use an SMTP Plugin

Whilst ensuring SPF and DKIM are set-up correctly at your domain are excellent first steps to ensuring email deliverability, the most popular and probably most successful method is to use an SMTP plugin. I recommend using the Postman SMTP Mailer/Email Log plugin as it features an easy to use set-up wizard to get you started. Additionally, the included email log allows you to check if emails have been sent out from your WordPress website. If emails are showing in the email log but not arriving in an inbox, it’s possible that they’re getting marked as SPAM.

4. Getting Marked as SPAM?

If you’re concerned your email are getting marked as SPAM by hosts and/or email providers, here are some tips to try to avoid this:

  • Ensure you’re sending emails from the same domain that your WordPress website is being hosted on. If you need to have replies go to another email address, use the ‘Reply To’ field instead.
  • Avoid using lots of spaces, all capitals, or too many exclamation marks or question marks in your subject field. Additionally, avoid spammy sounding subject lines, such as ‘BUY NOW’, or ‘CLICK HERE’.

5. Check Blacklists

It’s always possible that your host, server, or email address is blacklisted. For whatever reason, you can check your domain against blacklists using MX Toolbox. If you do appear on a blacklist, you’ll need to get in touch with whoever hosts your email and request that it be removed.

6. Move to Another Host

If you’re on shared hosting, it’s possible that your ability to send email via your WordPress website is less than optimal. A good recommendation for solid, WordPress managed hosting is Flywheel. When hosted with them. any email that you send via your WordPress website is routed through SendGrid, a 3rd party transactional email service, which helps to improve email deliverability. You can sign up for Flywheel here (affiliate link) and more information about their approach to email can be found in their help center.