WordPress <3s Email.
WordPress likes to send emails. Forgot your password? It sends you an email so you can re-set it. Got a new comment on your blog? WordPress sends an email. Use a form plugin to get emails? Those are sent by WordPress’s email system as well. It’s important that these emails actually “make it” to the people that need them.
Why WordPress Emails don’t always “make it” to their destination:
WordPress sends its emails using the server it is hosted on. With shared webhosts (which most websites use), you share a server with thousands of other websites. Hosting companies do this to save money and pass the savings on to you.
This is where the problem starts: if there was EVER a spammer who hosted a website on the same server as you, that makes email spam checkers think YOU are a spammer too – because you share the same server IP. This means that your legitimate emails end up getting flagged for spam – and either go to the “spam” folder – or don’t get delivered at all!
Solution: Email Routing.
The solution to this problem is to send your emails through a different server. A few companies provide this as a service.
Fortunately for small online businesses, there’s a great company called “SendGrid” which has a free tier. And they aren’t just anybody. Their service sends emails for everyone from Uber to Spotify and AirBnB. They are very legitimate.
There is a SendGrid WordPress plugin already built to handle sending all your WordPress emails through SendGrid.
One thing to note is that you can’t start using your SendGrid account right away – so if you are planning to switch to SendGrid, it’s a good idea to sign up early. They will review you and your website to make sure you aren’t a spammer. It’s also a good idea to make sure your website is looking/working great before you sign up for SendGrid. This makes it great for everyone! Here’s their video which breaks that down:
Setting up SendGrid with WordPress:
Once you’ve signed up for SendGrid, you can configure it with your WordPress.
Step 1. Generate SendGrid API Key:
Log into your SendGrid account and generate an API key. You can do that here:
Create a “General API Key” and set it to have “Full Access” under “Mail Send”:
Once you’ve saved your API Key, make sure to copy it and save it in a safe place because they’ll only show it to you once.
Step 2: Install the SendGrid WordPress Plugin.
Log into your WordPress dashboard and go to “Dashboard” > “Plugins” > “Add New” and search for “SendGrid”. You can install/activate it right there. If you can’t seem to find it that way, you can download it directly here:
Step 3: Enter API Key:
Once activated, go to “Dashboard” > “Settings” > “SendGrid” and paste in the API you copied in Step 1.
And that’s it!
That’s all it takes to switch your WordPress to sending emails through SendGrid. If you were previously using the wpMandrill plugin, make sure to de-activate that now so there aren’t any conflicts as well.
P.S. If you want to investigate other options than just SendGrid, you can check out this great post about other potential options by remkusdevries: https://remkusdevries.com/transactional-email-alternatives-for-mandrillapp/
Editors Note: We edited this post on April 4, 2019 to be refocused on SendGrid only. Previously it had a focus on switching from Mandrill, who began charging a lot of money suddenly in 2016. With most people now aware of that change, we updated this instructional article to focus on using SendGrid only.