Stop wordpress emails going into the spam folder

By Jodie Pryce
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Why when I’m trying to send emails from wordpress are they going into the spam folder?

In short it’s because you should be using an Email Service Provider (ESP) for your emails to increase your ‘deliverability’ and sender ‘reputation’. You should then make use of the Sender Policy Framework (SPF) to validate the sending IP addresses that the emails go out from.

Email Service Provider (ESP) : Specialises in sending out emails, en masse, successfully. They usually have IPs with a good sender-reputation.

Sender Policy Framework (SPF) : Validates that an IP address is allowed to send out emails from a domain.

In this post we’ll walk you through why your emails are going into the spam folder and how you can fix the issue.

For example, if you send an email from one gmail account to another gmail account directly then the recipient account sees it as trusted – it came from their own email service and it’s Google so what’s not to trust! But when the email comes from a simple webserver (especially when using shared hosting like LiquidWeb Cloudsites, for example) to a gmail account it’s likely to go into the spam folder and here’s why:

1. IP Address reputation

Gmail will look at whether the IP address used by the server has a good reputation or not. Reputation can be based on factors such as whether the server has ever sent an email before and whether the emails previously sent were registered as ‘spam’.

2. Does the content seem trust-worthy

Is the content ‘spammy’? Does it say “I am the Queen of England and I want to invest your money and make you millions?”. It may have picked up that this wording has been sent from other IP addresses known for sending out spam.

3. Is the IP authorised to send out email using the domain

For example is there just a random IP sending out spam emails from @fastfwd.com – well we sure hope not but if there is it should be ending up in the recipient’s spam folder or be completely blacklisted.

These reasons may be why when sending out email directly from something like WordPress via your shared web hosting provider, you’re finding the email is going straight into junk mail.

Here’s how to fix it:

In short you should use an Email Service Provider (EPS) with a Sender Policy Framework (SPF) rather than be relying on a web host. A common EPS to use is Mailgun which has a plugin available for WordPress for a simple integration. The IP address that Mailgun will use for you is usually going to have a higher sender reputation than your web host’s shared IP address.

Next step is to set up your SPF details as a TXT record in your DNS (a lot of acronyms to digest there). Essentially an SPF record declaring: “We’re fastfwd and your should expect emails from the following valid list of IP addresses”.

This works because now gmail will look for the DNS record for fastfwd.com and see an SPF record showing the ESP IP address. It notes that that IP address is validated to send emails from fastfwd.com and all should be well.

Once you’ve gone through this process you should start seeing your emails in the ‘inbox’ folder rather than the ‘spam’ folder.

Now that you’ve read through everything it may feel like an information overload but we can help out if you have any trouble at all, just give us a shout and we’ll make a plan to support you.

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