There are a number of reasons why WordPress emails are going into spam folders. Depending on your setup, we’ll troubleshoot and provide solutions to prevent your WordPress and WooCommerce notification emails going to the spam folder!

Issues Sending WooCommerce Emails With Gmail

So let’s assume you’re using your gmail email address to send emails from WordPress

I assume, what you actually mean is that in the “admin email” setting, you’ve set the address to your gmail account.

Let’s explain what ACTUALLY happens when you do this.
1.You receive an order

  1. This triggers WordPress to send a signal to your server to send an email
  2. Your server, which is probably shared by a tonne of other websites – then uses php to create and send an email that “appears” to come from an email address.

However – what your server is actually doing is “spoofing” the email address it’s sending from. As it’s NOT actually come from that email server – it’s been “faked” by your websites server

This is how spam emails work – I.e. this is the way those crappy bots send emails. So inboxes just filter this crap out as “serious” websites DON’T send their emails like this

Sending WooCommerce Emails With SMTP Server to Avoid Spam

So… you need to send your emails via an SMTP server

This is the way that “real” emails are sent

This is a 2 part recipe.

Part 1 – install a plugin so your WordPress site can communicate with an SMTP server

This is simple – just install the WP SMTP plugin in WordPress and you’re done for now

Part 2 – designate a Mail server provider for your website to talk to

You CAN use a free Gmail account and send emails via the Google Mail Server
BUT this can cause issues with email validation and verification on inboxes – so not the best solution

The better solution would be to use a Mail server provider.

Mailchimp’s Mandrill often gets mentioned as a Transactional Email Provider – but this is more than just a Mail server solution, and for now I’d avoid this complexity – it’s not necessary to solve your immediate WooCommerce spam issues!

My recommendation:

Sendgrid – they have a forever FREE plan for up to 100 emails a day (not a lot, but if it’s JUST order notification emails you’re trying to send then this should suit a small number of daily orders)

Check out sendgrid here.

Use Mailchimp for WooCommerce Order Notification Emails

Having said all of this – you CAN use Mailchimp for order notifications.

There are a degree of “transactional emails” that CAN be sent by Mailchimp within their standard eCommerce email plans.

If you’re just using Mailchimp for newsletters and not for your ecommerce emails – this may sound like a BETTER solution to the above.

If that’s the case – look at the Mailchimp For WooCommerce official plugin and connect your WooCommerce store to your Mailchimp account – this will mean You CAN configure Mailchimp to send order notification emails etc.

NOTE – if you send the order notification emails with Mailchimp YOU need to switch them off in the email settings of WooCommerce – so WooCommerce is no longer sending emails on your behalf. Otherwise you’ll send emails twice!

Once from Mailchimp and once from your SMTP server.

I would STILL take the above action of installing WP SMTP and setting up sendgrid so that emails such as password reset emails etc. For your Admin users comes via sendgrid and NOT via the “dodgy / spammy” php mailer on your random server

Difference between Mailchimp and Mandrill

Here’s the difference between Mailchimps “Mandrill” transactional emails and “built in” transactional emails Mailchimp will send

Mailchimp itself will send order notifications and abandoned cart emails as long as you set it to do so and use the Mailchimp for WooCommerce plugin to connect your store to Mailchimp

You don’t need Mandrill by ANY stretch of the imagination to solve this issue – it’s a solution that’s appropriate for pro developers

Authentication, Verification, DKIM and SPF records

If you stop here, things will be better (most likely) but NOT solved yet…

If you’re going down the “WP SMTP plugin and Sendgrid Mail server” route for order notifications, It’s also necessary to complete 2 levels of email verification

  1. Verify / authenticate your domain with Sendgrid – just follow steps once signed up to Sendgrid

This is BASIC and allows Sendgrid to send emails on behalf of your DOMAIN name.

Now… think about it. In theory, it’s possible that someone else could try and “Spoof” your email address – I.e. they try and send emails that LOOK like they’re coming from your domain…

So the way “the Internet” protects us against this is through use of “SPF records” within your domains “DNS records”

SPF records TELL the internet which Mail servers are ALLOWED to send emails on behalf of your domain.

As standard you may have an SPF record which is setup as standard when you register your domain or point the nameservers at your hosting account.

What you DON’T want to do is have MULTIPLE SPF records

So if you already have an SPF record in your DNS records this SPF record needs to be UPDATED with the Mail servers you’re permitting to send emails on your behalf.

In your case, if you already send Newsletters via Mailchimp – you should have Mailchimp listed on the spf.
If you use free gmail, but have configured gmail to also send emails from your domain address, Google’s Mail server needs also to be listed on the SPF record.
Now in addition, if you have setup Sendgrid – you should also list Sendgrid on the list of permitted senders on the SPF record.

And if you haven’t done so already, you should most definitely authenticate your domain with Mailchimp in your Mailchimp account

Mailchimp Vs Mailpoet

Isn’t it just easier to go with Mailpoet?

Well, no… not really.

Mailpoet is just a replacement for Mailchimp.

If you just configure Mailchimp to send your order notifications instead of WooCommerce – by installing the Mailchimp for WooCommerce plugin and setting up the order notification email in Mailchimp – you’ll largely be in the same positioning as moving to Mailpoet and configuring that to send your order notifications…

This isn’t a “software choice” issue – it’s a software configuration issue – and regardless of which service you choose (Mailpoet or Mailchimp) you STILL need to set stuff up properly!

So many store owners out there without a clue on the above – yes there’s some technicalities I’ve skimmed over for the purpose of posting on FB – but the steps to solve are all there.

I wish WooCommerce would provide some extensive education on this subject as it’s so damned important

I almost wish WordPress would refuse to send email UNTIL you connected an SMTP server!