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Your website is not sending emails? You probably experienced this problem already. Popular CMS platforms such as Joomla and WordPress usually rely on PHPMail script that's installed on the server. Is there a better solution for sending emails? Yes! Please keep reading...

Battle against SPAM will probably never be finished completely! There are two choices for modern webmasters: To invest a lot of time and run in-house mail servers or to invest some money and use a third company's services for handling the website's email messages. The most popular company for email marketing is probably Mailchimp. You can open your free account and maintain you're mailing list using their services[ for free. If your mailing list grows over 2,000 addresses, you must switch to a paid monthly membership.

However, besides marketing emails, your site should send other kinds of emails. For example, when somebody is trying to reach you using the contact form on your site. Your site should send an email message to your address, right? Also, when somebody opens an account on your site, in order to confirm his/her membership, your site should send an email to the potential new member to confirm his/her membership.

If you are running Joomla or WordPress website, by default, PHPMailer is set as the sender of these messages.

PHPMail script in most cases does the job. But, some hosting providers don't include this script in order to protect their servers from spammers. PHPMail is intensively used by those who are sending unwanted SPAM email messages. So, even when your hosting provider has PHPMail installed on the server and allows you to use it, you should consider a better solution. The main reason is increasing of deliverability of your messages. Actually, not all email messages that your site sends end up in the recipient's inbox. Many of your site's messages will be filtered and considered as SPAM, so they will never be seen by your site's visitors. There are many reasons for that. On some occasions, your hosting provider's IP address could be blacklisted because many SPAM messages come from that IP. No matter if you are not from the spammer's world and you never sent a single SPAM message, your site's emails could be considered as unwanted. Why? Because one IP can be shared between many different websites. If your neighbor's site sends some unwanted email messages, your site's messages could be filtered as well.

Like for marketing email messages (mailing lists), there are third party's services for transactional email messages. You can rely on their services and forget about PHPMail. You should also don't have to worry if how your web hosting's IP is blacklisted, because all messages that your site sends will be sent from the third party's servers and IPs (that's why it's called transactional).

People who care about email service only (third party transactional email providers) probably do the job better than people who are responsible for all server services (web hosting providers). So, if you have any problems with sending emails from your site, you should consider switching from PHPMail to a commercial transactional email provider. The previously mentioned company, Mailchimp, recently started a transactional email service called Mailchimp's transactional emails (formerly known as Mandrill). If your site sends less than 12,000 emails each month, this service is FREE for you! This is a large number of emails (400 per day), so it will probably be enough for all small to middle-sized websites. This is a very good tool for all webmasters because this service could fix all problems with your improperly configured PHPMail and also increase the deliverability of your site's emails for free! This means that less of your site's emails will end up in the recipient's Junk folders!

Mandrill SMTP parameters

After Mandrill registration, you can log in to your account and see your "SMTP & API Credentials". You can see Host, Port, and your SMTP username. Create a new API key which will be your SMTP password. This is what you enter in Joomla or WordPress configuration.

Configure Joomla to send emails with Mandrill

Login to your Joomla administration panel. Go to Site > Global Configuration and click Server tab. Under Mail Settings, select SMTP, and for SMTP Authentication select Yes. Leave SMTP Security to None and enter all data that you can find on your Mandrill account (port, username, password and host). You can save your configuration and check the next email that you receive from your Joomla site.

Joomla configuration for Mandrill

Configure WordPress to send emails with Mandrill

Unfortunately, WordPress core doesn't allow sending emails through SMTP. Therefore, you must install a plugin prior to sending the WordPress site's emails through Mandrill. We recommend Easy WP SMTP plugin. After installation and activation of the plugin, you should configure it to send emails using your Mandrill account. Under General Settings, you should enter all data that you can found in the "SMTP & API Credentials" section of your Mandrill account.

WordPress configuration for Mandrill

If you are using Gmail, you can see that all future emails sent from your site, have a via parameter, with value, for example mailXX.wdcXX.mandrillapp.com. Also, Mailed by and Signed by fields now have value mandrillapp.com (it's usually empty when sending by PHPMail). This confirms that emails that your site sends, are sent from a known server that is signed.