Transaction email services

What is it, and why do you need it for WordPress?

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    TL:DR

    Transactional email providers help you reach inboxes and avoid spam filters.

    Follow these 4 steps and improve your email delivery  FOR FREE!

    1. Sign up for a Postmark accounthttps://account.postmarkapp.com/sign_up
    2. Install the Postmark WordPress Plugin on your Website – https://wordpress.org/plugins/postmark-approved-wordpress-plugin/
    3. Follow the instructions from Postmark to add your API Key and DNS records
    4. Send a test email to make sure it’s working

    What are transactional emails?

    Transactional emails are emails sent by web applications. These emails are usually triggered by user interaction.

    Examples of transactional emails include, password resets, order confirmations, 2-factor authentication codes, form entry notifications… you get the idea.

    WordPress’s default method of sending email uses a PHP mailer and these emails get sent straight from your web server. Now this is bad, because without some additional set-up, these emails do not have the necessary ‘tags’ to verify where they actually came from.

    Many of the big email providers like Google, Microsoft and Zoho will mark these emails as spam, or sometimes they will got blocked from even reaching the inbox.

    Luckily, there is a free and easy fix!

    Transactional email providers

    Transactional email providers let you route your website emails through their mail sending servers. They usually provide API keys that make it really easy to add the service to your WordPress website, and give you easy to follow instructions on how to add the required DNS records to verify that your emails are actually coming from your domain. 

    By sending your email through a transactional provider, you increase the change of your emails reaching their intended destination, you can also view the analytics to see your opens, clicks, bounces and blocked messages.

    A transactional email provider takes steps to maintain their sending service’s reputation by blocking accounts that use their platform to send spam. In August 2020, SendGrid, a popular transactional email provider, got hacked. Hundreds of verified accounts were compromised and used by the hackers and scammer to send millions of phishing emails and malware attacks. As a result of this many email providers have added SendGrid to their block list. The bad news here is, even legitimate emails are getting blocked. 

    There are dozens of transactional email providers to choose from and many of them also have email campaign features like template builders and mailing list. Most offer a free plan that lets you send around 100 emails per month. This will obviously not be enough for an online store or membership site, but should be plenty for smaller websites.

    For websites with higher requirements, you will need a paid plan which usually starts at $10 for 10 000 emails per month.

    At Teracore we use MailPoet, SendGrid or Postmark on the websites we host. 

    Adding Postmark to your WordPress website

    We recommend Postmark

    Postmark is a reliable and affordable provider, they manually verify accounts to reduce the risk of spammers using their sending service. You get up to 100 free emails each month on their free developer plan

     

    Postmark Setup

    Step 1. 

    Get a Postmark account.

    Step 2.

    Add your sender signature.

    If you have access to your DNS settings, you can verify Postmark for any email address on the domain.

    If you do not have access to the DNS settings, you can verify Postmark for a single address by sending a confirmation link to that email address.

    Step 3.

    Setup you sending server.

    Step 4.

    Install the Postmark WordPress plugin from the plugin repository, or download it here – https://wordpress.org/plugins/postmark-approved-wordpress-plugin/

    Step 5.

    Add your API key in the Postmark plugin’s settings page. Your API key can be found under your server settings in the Postmark app.

    The Postmark settings page can be found under Settings -> Postmark, on your website. If you can’t find the Postmark plugin under settings, check that you don’t have another transactional or email campaign plugin installed.

    Step 6.

    Send tests emails, make sure to try different domains and providers to make sure they are all going through.

    Step 7.

    Rejoice in the fact that your emails aren’t going to spam.

    Conclusion

    Using a transactional email provider is not optional anymore, so make sure you are using a service you can rely on.

    If you need more detailed instructions or would like to know  more about Teracore’s hosting packages, hit me up at steve@teracore.co.za