How to Make Sure Emails Don’t Go to Spam

Do your emails go to spam instead of the inbox? This is the common issue many bloggers and digital marketers face while working with WordPress.

The reason behind the failed email delivery is SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol). If you have not configured the SMTP properly, then your emails can either go to spam or fail to receive.

Here, we have written a detailed guide on how to setup WordPress SMTP to prevent emails from winding up in spam.

Most Common Reasons Why Your Emails Go to Spam

Like many web applications, WordPress uses the default PHP mail() function to distribute emails. Moreover, managed WordPress hosting service providers don’t give permission on the use of PHP ()mail to reduce automated spam.

And this the reason, your emails may get sent but will not be delivered to the recipient, and even if they are delivered would often likely to be marked as spam.

To fix this issue, you would need installing an SMTP server plugin. SMTP uses the PHP mailer library instead of PHP mail() function, so your emails get delivered to the inbox instead of landing in the spam folder.

To help you out, here we covered a detailed guide to set up WordPress SMTP using Amazon SES.

What is Amazon SES?

Amazon SES is a simple and reliable cloud-based email-sending service. It was developed by Amazon.com to serve its own customer base. It is a cost-effective service for digital marketers and application developers to send emails with high deliverability. The Amazon SES lets you send transactional email, marketing message or other types of high-quality content to your subscribers.

Note that this guide requires you to create an Amazon SES account which offers free access to their services for 12-months following your initial sign-up date. You may have to enter your credit card details during the registration process but you will not be charged unless you exceed your free account limits (the first 62,000 emails you send every month are free).

How to Set Up Amazon SES in Your WordPress Website

Here are the four simple steps to get started with Amazon SES to stop WordPress emails going to spam.

Step 1. Sign up for AWS

First thing, you’ll need to have an AWS account and log in to AWS console. Once you’re logged in, you’ll need to set up an IAM User. You can follow this link to go to the IAM Users page.

Once you’re signed up, click on the “Add User” button to set up a new user and enter the user name.

After that, check the box of “Programmatic access” next to Access type and then click on the “Next: Permissions” button to proceed.

Amazon SES SMTP credentials

Step 2: Set IAM User Setting Permissions

Once you reached to the Permissions page, you’ll see various policy names under “Attach existing policies directly” tab. To filter out the required policy, type “AmazonSESFullAccess” in the search bar.

Once you find the result, check the box next to this option to add permission policy for the user.

credentials with amazon ses email client

When you’re done with the settings, click on the Next: tags button.

You can skip the next page as this is optional. Just click on the Next: Review button.

On the next page, you will see all the details you’ve filled. If everything is correct, then click the Create user button.

You’ll see a success message on this page and you’ll also get an Access Key ID and Secret Access Key for your user.

Note: Please note this Access Key ID and Secret Access Key to a safe location because once you exit this page, you’ll not be able to see them again. We’ll be using these keys later.

Step 3: Move Your SES Accounts to Production Mode

In the next step, you need to move your SES accounts from Sandbox mode to Production Mode. This is because Sandbox is a default mode that lets you send emails to the only email addresses that have been verified with Amazon SES.

For this, click here to go to Amazon Web Services and select the “Service limit increase” box.

get your smtp user verified with amazon ses

After scrolling below, you’ll see a Case Classification form. You’ll need to fill out this form to tell Amazon SES that your site will be using it for legitimate purposes.

AWS Case description field

After filling the form, you’ll have to fill out the Case description field. Here, you have to write a brief description of your site and why you want to use it. It’s good if you write a detailed description if you want to get fast approval from Amazon.

Once you filled the form, hit the submit button to proceed further.

After that, Amazon services will send you two emails to confirm that a new case has been created successfully. Now, the AWS will review your application and let you know the result within a business day.

Step 4: Install the Plugin and Set Up WP Mail SMTP + Amazon SES

While waiting for the AWS approval, it’s good to set up WP Mail SMTP and Amazon SES mailer on your WordPress website.

Firstly, you need to install and activate the plugin. For this, go to Plugins >> Add New. Now, type WP Mail SMTP in the search bar. Install and activate the plugin.

To unlock all features, upgrade to the WP Mail SMTP Pro version.

Once you upgraded, enter and activate your license key to get started.

WP Mail SMTP License Key

After activating the plugin, it’s time to configure the settings. To do this, WP Mail SMTP >> Settings and go to General Tab.

Under the Mail section, enter your email address and name which emails are sent from.

Configure Settings of WP Mail SMTP

We also recommended you to check the box next to “Set the return-path to match them from email”. If you left it unchecked, your bounce messages may be lost.

Next, scroll down to the Mailer field where you’ll see different options like PHP, Gmail, Outlook, SendGrid, Amazon SES or Mailgun. Here, select the Amazon SES option.

select the Amazon SES option

Now, enter your Access Key ID and Secret Access Key you got from your AWS account.

Once you added both the keys, you have to select the closest region that should be matching with your Amazon SES API region.

Enter AWS Access Key ID and Secret Access Key

After configuring all of your WP Mail SMTP settings, click to Save Settings.

Now, you’ll see another setting option: Verified Emails. Click on the “Add an Email Address” button and enter a valid email address where you want to receive a verification email.

Verify sending email address for WP Mail SMTP

You’ll receive a verification email from Amazon Web Service. Click on the verification link and verify your email address.

Email verification for Amazon SES smtp

Once you’ve verified your email address, return to your site’s WP Mail SMTP settings page and refresh it. You’ll see all verified emails here.

Verified Emails list of WP Mail SMTP

Step 5: Send a Test Email

After configuring the settings, now it’s time to check whether the email issue has been resolved or not. So, in order to test the plugin to send emails, go to the Email Test tab next to the General settings section.

Email Test

Next, enter the email address where you want to send the test email. You will get a confirmation message once the email was sent successfully.

confirmation message

Congratulations! you’ve successfully configured SMTP on your WordPress site. Now, you’ll surely get every single email in your inbox.

Final Words

We hope this tutorial has given you the idea of how to fix email related issues using Amazon SES and the WP Mail SMTP. The free version of the WP Mail SMTP plugin is good but in order to access the great features, I recommend you upgrade to the Pro Version.

If you have any queries or suggestions about this tutorial, feel free to ask in the comment section below.

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