Ensuring that E-mails Sent by WordPress are Delivered Properly

Depending on the site there could be a lot of mail sent out from WordPress. The messages could be for example newsletters, contact requests from forms, order confirmations of webshops or reminders to renew passwords. These kinds of messages are basic functions for many sites and securing the flow of emails is an important part of a well-functioning website.

In Seravo the email solution for WordPress has been structured for the customer so that the WordPress' emails are sent in the proper way. This is turn guarantees the best probability for the WordPress' emails to reach their destination. Seravo's email service works calling the PHP mail() function directly and automatically, and the customer won't have to take any extra measures.

All outgoing mail goes through a service specialized in delivering email (at the moment Seravo uses Sendgrid). At the same time the amount of outgoing mail and their delivery is followed to detect bigger disturbances. The domains registered by Seravo have always all SPF and DKIM records that affect spam filtering set correctly. And if the customer chooses to handle the domain upkeep by himself/herself, the SPF and DKIM records can be set by following Seravo's instructions.

Troubleshooting e-mail delivery issues

Any temporary issues are quite common due to the global nature of e-mail. The recipient's e-mailbox might be full, their address might have changed or – as is most common – the recipients' spam filter erroneously handles e-mail sent by WordPress as spam. This might be result of the message seeming like spam or because the sending address and settings are wrong.

Seravo has made troubleshooting these issues easy.

Firstly, you should check your log files /data/log/php-mail.log and /data/log/mail.log for what happens when your WordPress website is sending e-mail. If the log files have no events recorded, the issue might be with the PHP source code, your theme or a plugin. If this happens, e-mail has not been sent. If you can identify that e-mail has been sent, the issue is with the receiving end.

To test e-mail reception, Seravo supplies a command line tool wp-mail-test. It requires a receiving e-mail address and can be given a sender address as an optional parameter.

$ wp-mail-test demo@example.com
Sending test mail from test@asiakas.fi to demo@example.com...
Test email sent!
Waiting for 5 seconds before checking the logs...

--> /data/log/php-mail.log
[01-Dec-2017 10:35:47 Europe/Helsinki] mail() on [/usr/local/bin/wp-mail-test:40]: To: demo@example.com -- Headers: From: test@customer.com Reply-To: test@customer.com X-Mailer: PHP/7.0.25-1+ubuntu14.04.1+deb.sury.org+1

--> /data/log/mail.log<br>Dec 01 10:35:47 host=172.17.42.1 tls=off auth=off from=no-reply@seravo.fi recipients=demo@esimerkki.fi mailsize=285 smtpstatus=250 smtpmsg='250 2.0.0 Ok: queued as D146D41E67' exitcode=EX_OK


It is possible to send to multiple addresses and then analyze where messages are received. If the message is received in some inboxes and un-received in others, it's possible to deduct the possibility of e-mail not being forwarded at all. If so, the issue can be solved by working with your e-mail service maintainer to investigate why the other e-mail service does not receive the message.

We also suggest you try Mail-tester.com. You can send test-messages to the service and it gives a report on how similar the messages were to actual spam. Using the report you can make your e-mail look less like spam.

Using your own SMTP service

Our customers may use their own SMTP service instead of Seravo's default Sendgrid. For example Mailgun can be implemented easily with a WordPress-plugin after creating a Mailgun-account.

With these changes, e-mail sent by WordPress moves through the configured service and the e-mail settings can be modified. Some service providers also provide the possibility to track and analyze e-mail, which provides valuable information for the website creator.

Troubleshooting Office 365

When e-mail has been proven to work as intended by using the previous steps but the message is still not received, you need to contact your e-mail service provider.

Contacting your e-mail provider

It's crucial to contact your O365 service provider, who will guide you in troubleshooting any issues with sending e-mail. The service provider might be the company which provided the O365 license or the Microsoft support. For troubleshooting the issues an O365 admin account must be configured so that necessary modifications can be made. You can contact the Microsoft support via their support pages.

Marking incoming e-mail as non-spam

There is an array of methods for the admin to ensure that incoming e-mail is not directly dumped into the spam folder. You can read more about enabling certain IP-addresses and modifying spam-filters for example in these two support articles.

If the e-mail is marked as spam regardless when using Office 365, you can send the messages to the Microsoft support team for further analysis.
Please note that if you're using an external SMTP service you can delist their IP addresses from O365 services spam lists by using the delisting form.

Seravo uses Sendgrid to send customer email from the sites. In the service we have currently two dedicated IP addresses 168.245.98.128 and 168.245.18.183

Using your own SMTP service

By default a WordPress site will send all its emails through a SMTP service that uses SendGrid as its base and is controlled and managed by Seravo. If the site owner wants to manage the sent email themselves, they can install a WordPress plugin and configure it to work with a third party SMTP service.

At Seravo we don't recommend any specific plugins for this use but below are a few that are popular amongst our customers:

The introduction of such plugin is on the customers responsibility, however. You must make sure that correct configurations have been put in the plugin and that the email is actually being sent via teh third party SMTP account
(for  example SendGrid, Mailgun, Mandrill). When using an external SMTP service the logs will not be found from the usual place on the server. The location of the logs depends on the used plugin/service.

We recommend using your own SMTP service of the site will be sending  massive amounts of email and you want to manage and analyse them more closely by using a UI designed for that and provided by the external SMTP service.

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