The best WordPress SMTP plugins allow you to send emails with better deliverability rates so you can reliably communicate with your customers or website users.
In this post, we’ll take a look at why you need a WordPress SMTP plugin and what the best WordPress STMP plugins are. Let’s get started!
What Is a WordPress SMTP Plugin?
Simply put, a WordPress SMPT plugin is a plugin that allows you to send emails generated from your website via a dedicated email sending service (ESP), rather than from your website’s server.
Specifically, if you run an ecommerce website, a membership site, or even just run a standard blog but allow users to register and leave comments, your website will be sending a lot of transactional emails.
Transactional emails are emails like password resets, order invoices, new user registration emails, and more. Usually, these would be sent by your host, and that’s where the problem comes in. A lot of your transactional mail could end up in the spam folder or not be delivered at all.
A WordPress SMTP plugin saves you from that fate thanks to sending via dedicated email sending service providers (ESP).
Why Do You Need a WordPress SMTP Plugin?
The main reason to use a WordPress SMTP plugin is to improve the deliverability of the emails sent from your WordPress website.
WordPress uses the wp_mail function which hooks into PHP Mail and allows you to send emails via your WordPress site using the standard mail function of your host.
The problem is that your email deliverability can be impacted by noisy neighbors and lack of care on the part of your web host. This is often why you may see an issue with WordPress not sending emails.
Most WordPress managed hosts don’t handle email for a reason … email deliverability is hard!
Email deliverability relies heavily on the reputation of the sending server, along with the domain. That’s why it’s always better to send your emails via a dedicated email sending service provider (also known as an ESP).
Some popular examples of ESPs include:
- Amazon SES
A WordPress SMTP plugin works by hooking into the wp_mail function and then sends the emails via your selected SMTP email service provider.
The Best WordPress SMTP Plugins
To help you choose the best WordPress SMTP plugin, we tested multiple WordPress SMTP plugins to highlight the features that each plugin provides, from the simple to the complex.
We’ve included both free and premium plugin options, so you can also decide your level of investment. Each plugin includes information on features, pros, cons, pricing, and our final verdict.
Before we dive into the best WordPress SMTP plugins, you need to be aware that none of the plugins (even if they have a premium version) are the actual senders of the emails.
Some ESPs do offer their own official plugins. But regardless of who makes the plugin, you need a sending service plan with your selected SMTP provider. Some providers are more simple to set up than others which we’ll explore in this post.
1. WP Mail SMTP by WP Forms
WP Mail SMTP was originally developed by Callum MacDonald and was then acquired by Syed Balkhi and his team at AwesomeMotive and WPForms back in 2017.
WP Mail SMTP was already the dominant player in the WordPress SMTP plugin market and the new ownership solidified that.
Originally when the plugin was acquired, it had 600,000+ active installs. It’s now got more than 2 million+ active installs and boasts more than 1,000+ 5-star reviews on WordPress.org.
WP Mail SMTP by WPForms Pros
Without a doubt, this is the most feature-rich and well-supported SMTP plugin for WordPress.
Out of the box, it supports all the major SMTP email service providers including:
- Sendinblue SMTP
- Mailgun SMTP
- SendGrid SMTP
- Gmail SMTP
- Microsoft SMTP (Outlook.com and Office 365) [Pro]
- Amazon SES SMTP [Pro]
- Zoho Mail SMTP [Pro]
- All Other SMTP
As you can see, some like the popular Amazon SES service is restricted to the Pro version only. However, one nice feature is that the plugin also supports all STMP service providers.
Because of the nature of an SMTP plugin what’s nice for those on a budget is that you don’t need to buy the premium/pro version. The free version will do everything you need.
WP Mail SMTP by WP Forms Cons
There aren’t really any cons to WP Mail SMTP. The free version offers everything you need and the premium plugin offers even more advanced functionality which we’ll explore later.
WP Mail SMTP by WP Forms Pricing
There are four pricing tiers for WP Mail SMTP and the pro version adds features like a mail log to check that email is actually sending, a nifty feature although there is also WP Mail Logging by MailPoet which does the same function and its free.
So what exactly are you paying for if you buy WP Mail SMTP by WP Forms?
Primarily you’re paying for the support and updates, along with the Amazon SES support. If you buy the elite plan then you also get a white glove set up by the experts at WP Mail SMTP which is definitely beneficial for anyone but especially those newer to the world of SMTP and email deliverability.
The plans for WP Mail SMTP are as follows:
- Pro ($99) — A single site license along with support, and plugin updates for a year.
- Elite ($149) — A single site license along with support, and plugin updates for a year, plus a white glove setup.
- Developer ($249) — A 20 site license along with support, and plugin updates for a year.
- Agency ($449) — A 100 site license along with support, and plugin updates for a year.
Our Opinion About WP Mail SMTP by WPForms
This is the most feature-rich WordPress SMTP plugin and is a must for any WordPress website that sends transactional emails of any kind.
It’ll increase your deliverability and allow you to sleep easier at night knowing that all your important email isn’t landing in the spam folder or just not being delivered at all.
2. Easy WP SMTP
Easy WP SMTP is a straightforward SMTP plugin for WordPress that offers no-frills and just does exactly what it sets out to do (send email via SMTP).
With more than 500,000+ active installs on WordPress.org it also has more than 150+ 5-star ratings but it does also have a rather high number of 1-star ratings of 39 relative to the number of overall ratings.
Pros of Easy WP SMTP
WP Easy SMTP is straightforward to use and offers a single setting screen to input your SMTP details. While it isn’t as slick as WP Mail SMTP by WPForms it still works just as well.
Cons of Easy WP SMTP
One of the main downsides of Easy WP SMTP is that unlike WP Mail SMTP it doesn’t offer any direct integrations with sending service providers.
So while you can still use all your favorite SMTP providers there’s no easy-to-use integration or path that makes configuration easier.
To compound that there is no paid version or setup available either so for more beginner users it can be a challenge getting started and getting everything set up correctly.
Easy WP SMTP Pricing
There’s no confusion here as the pricing is quite straightforward… Free! Can’t get much more straightforward than that.
Meaning that it’s a great plugin for people on a budget but then so is WP Mail SMTP by WPForms. So there’s no real positive to be had from the pricing.
Our Opinion on Easy WP SMTP
A good plugin that is easy to use as its title implies. However, the lack of a paid version and paid setup options like WP Mail SMTP means that WP Mail SMTP still comes out on top.
Still, it’s always good to have alternatives plugins available, especially if for whatever reason you don’t like Easy WP SMTP.
3. Post SMTP Mailer/Email Log
Apart from the mouthful of a name, Post SMTP Mailer/Email Log is a very comprehensive SMTP plugin for WordPress that includes an email log out of the box without the need for any additional plugins.
With more than 200,000+ active installs and 229, 5-star ratings and quite amazingly only 4 1-star ratings which for a plugin with that number of installs is quite an achievement!
Post SMTP Mailer/Email Log Pros
As we mentioned this is a very comprehensive plugin and supports all major SMTP email service providers (ESPs) including Amazon SES, Mailgun, SendGrid, and more.
More than that though it has some of the best functionality in the SMTP WordPress plugin market including the ability to fall back to a second SMTP provider if the email sending is failing which gives you that peace of mind that whatever happens your emails will be delivered.
Aside from that, there’s also WordPress multisite support, a chrome extension to get alerts inside Google Chrome if emails are failing to send.
But what’s really interesting about Post SMTP? Unlike other WordPress SMTP plugins, it doesn’t use the default WordPress SMTP library or anything like that. It replaces the library completely making use of the zend_mail which means that you should never lose another PHP Mail ever again.
Post SMTP Mailer/Email Log Cons
There aren’t any cons to Post SMTP Mailer/Email Log. It’s a comprehensive plugin that offers everything you need, has some smart features such as the SMTP fall back.
However, there is one con, and it’s not against the plugin itself. Because there’s no premium version the support seems to not be in place to help with any issues.
In fact, recently only 4 threads have been resolved on the WordPress.org support forums relating to the plugin.
While that may be fine if you’re a more advanced user or have a development team to turn to, for the average user it could turn them off the plugin as if they have an issue they’ll likely need to turn to a professional.
Post SMTP Mailer/Email Log Pricing
Like we mentioned already Post SMTP Mailer/Email Log is completely free, there is no paid version, no paid add-ons, and no paid support. Which makes it a very wallet-friendly option for anyone just getting started with their site.
Of course like all SMTP plugins you still need to pay for the SMTP service itself which will vary in price depending on which service you pick. In general, though, most SMTP services are very wallet-friendly.
Our Opinion on Post SMTP Mailer/Email Log
Post SMTP is a great plugin that offers more advanced functionality than any other plugin we want, and if the lack of support doesn’t bother you then it’s an excellent option for your WordPress website.
If support is important to you then you’ll still want to go with WP Mail SMTP by WPForms, especially if you like the sound of the paid white-glove setup.
Honorable Mention: WP Mail Log by MailPoet
WP Mail Logging was acquired by MailPoet back in 2019 and was already a popular plugin with more than 80,000+ active installs.
It now boasts more than 100,000+ active installs, and has 40+ 5-star ratings on WordPress.org.
While WP Mail Logging isn’t a WordPress SMTP plugin, we still wanted to bring it to your attention as it’s a great way to check what emails are sending (and what ones aren’t), along with useful information about the overall email health of your site.
One small caveat of WP Mail Logging is that it can only log email that uses the wp_mail function whilst almost all plugins use the wp_mail function there may be the odd one that doesn’t and as such those emails won’t (can’t) be logged b WP Mail Logging.
WP Mail Logging helps you see everything there is to know about the emails your site is sending including the full email headers, error statues (that’s where the email health comes into play), IP address and so much more.
It’s worth noting that WP Mail Logging can’t actually tell you if the email was delivered. It only tells you that the email was successfully generated and passed to your host or SMTP to deliver. WP Mail Logging can’t say it was delivered, not delivered or if went to spam.
There’s no premium version of WP Mail Logging it’s 100% free!
Wrapping Up: The Best WordPress SMTP Plugins
Email deliverability is always something to watch out for as a business owner. If emails aren’t getting delivered it can cause a range of problems.
By using a WordPress SMTP plugin you can mitigate the risk, and land in the inbox rather than the spam box.
What’s your favorite WordPress SMTP plugin? Have you used any of the WordPress SMTP plugins we’ve mentioned in this article? Let us know in the comments below.