WordPress and your hosting provider suck at sending emails. 

In most cases, they flat out fail to send the emails at all. They never even leave the site. In a perfect scenario, the emails go out but the deliverability on those emails is terrible and they either never reach their destination or they end up in spam.

You can solve these problems with just one plugin, and it's completely free: FluentSMTP.

How does FluentSMTP Work?

FluentSMTP acts like the middleman between WordPress and email service providers. If you're using FluentCRM (more on that later) then it facilitates that integration as well.

Below is a diagram for you to follow along.

FluentSMTP connects your website to a provider rather than trying to use WordPress and your hosting provider to send emails. 

This is where most people get confused and mistakenly believe FluentSMTP is sending the emails. It's not. It's simply creating an interface for an email provider like Amazon SES or Sendinblue to send emails for your website.

The customer receives the email that by all appearances comes from you, but it was send by you through one of the providers.

Types of Email Your Site Can Send

There are two types of emails you can send send: Transactional or Marketing. 

Transactional Emails

If you're just getting started, or don't do any email marketing from your website, then you only need FluentSMTP to manage your "transactional" emails.

Transactional emails are automated emails triggered by account activity, notifications, or commercial transactions. These emails are unique to the individual who triggers them. Here are some examples: 

  • Shipping notifications
  • Order receipts
  • Customer service responses
  • Password reset notifications
  • Account credential welcome emails
  • Comment notifications

These emails can be pretty important, and when your website is responsible for sending them it's recipe for disaster, AKA they're never delivered.

Marketing Emails

If you're going to send marketing emails from your website, which is actually pretty uncommon since most people will use an external service like ConvertKit or ActiveCampaign, then you'll need another service that facilitates this and probably another Provider.

The makers of FluentSMTP have an email marketing platform for WordPress called FluentCRM (which is what I use), and it uses FluentSMTP without any advanced configuration required. In fact, FluentCRM works BETTER with FluentSMTP.

Marketing emails will typically exceed the limitations on free accounts, so you'll need to sign up for a service provider which have a cost associated with it.

Choosing a Connection Provider

FluentSMTP integrates with pretty much everything worth using for sending emails. These providers each come with their own pricing, sending requirements and limitations, and setup process. I'm going to recommend the three that I use below and caution you against using Google Workspace for marketing emails because it has limits and I've seen accounts closed too many times.

Amazon SES

I use Amazon SES, which is so cheap it's practically free. However, it has one of the most involved and difficult setup processes of all email providers. FluentSMTP has a detailed guide here.

Once you have your Amazon SES account set up and integrated with FluentSMTP, you'll need to apply for production access so that you can get out of the Sandbox.

The Amazon SES Sandbox limits your ability to send emails. While in the sandbox, you can only send emails for testing purposes, which usually means just yourself. The process of setup and getting approved took about 2 days for me.

Need help getting out of the sandbox? Here's the letter I used.

DISCLAIMER: Use this to help your write your email and know what you should say. Do not copy and paste.

Dear Amazon SES team,

My website is located at xxxx where users can opt-in to my emails and purchase my products/services.

I send transactional emails to my customers and students who have made a purchase from my business or requested specific emails from us that will contain links to things they've requested to download. I would like to use Amazon SES to send these emails as the integrations and price point are significantly better than my existing email service (SendGrid) which I have now used for three years.

As I develop more courses and products, I would like to send emails to my customers to let them know about those products. I want to be transparent and let you know that my intent is also to send those marketing-related emails to my existing customers who have opted-in ONLY.

All of my emails are extremely targeted to my customers because they're specifically requested or only sent to users who are engaged with my business. All bounced and complaints are handled through the tool I use (Fluent CRM) which integrates with the Bounce Handler through SES.

Thank you for reviewing my request for Amazon SES production access and sending limit/rate increase in above-mentioned region. Let me know if you have any questions.

Sincerely,
xxxxxx

I would only go through this hassle if you plan to send marketing emails to a large list.

Sendinblue: Easy, Quick Choice (FREE)

I really like Sendinblue as a quick, default pick for sending transactional emails. With a free account, you simply paste in your API key to FluentSMTP and you're all set. You can send up to 300 emails per day completely for free. 

You don't need to use the actual Sendinblue SaaS platform. They're like a MailChimp or ConvertKit service. You just want their API key that FluentSMTP will use to send through them.

Sendinblue is awesome for WooCommerce sites.

SendGrid

SendGrid is pretty much just like Sendinblue. You won't really use the SendGrid interface, you'll just copy and paste the API key into FluentSMTP and you'll be done.

I use SendGrid for my clients (I have a paid subscription) because it lets me track when emails are opened, delivered, and what the user does with them. This is crucial for me when I'm managing my client's emails because I can prove what's happening to almost every email.

Common Issues Fixed by FluentSMTP

Students aren't receiving my Thrive Apprentice emails with their account details.

Use FluentSMTP to fix your WordPress site so that it will send emails properly.

Emails sent from my website are showing the wrong from name.

FluentSMTP lets you choose your Sender Name (from name) and 'force' it so that recipients always see the right name.

Emails send from my website are showing the wrong email address.

You can choose a 'from' email address in FluentSMTP. This should be an email address at the same domain.

I don't get comment notifications or notifications when someone creates an account.

This is because your website can't send email. This is very common, and usually the first indication you need a plugin like FluentSMTP.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

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