And why do I need them?
First you need to know how email is sent and received. When you write an email and when you press send whatever you are using to write the email authenticates with your email server, uploads the email, and then the email server finds the email server of the person that you are sending to and delivers your email to that server. When the person that you sent the email to authenticates with their server the email is downloaded to their device and they read your email.
Now how does your website send email. For example when someone fills out a contact form. Your website doesn’t have an email server of it’s own. If your email server allows it the website can be setup with credentials so it can authenticate with your email server and send email. But what if you don’t have a email server? For example you have a website “mywebsite.com”. The email you use is “[email protected]”. Well gmail will NOT let “mywebsite.com” send mail through it, unless you want to pay for a business account. Gmail will not even let “mywebsite.com” send email to your personal email “[email protected]”.
This is where transactional emails come in. They are for your website to communicate with the world. Are they free? No. The main function of transactional emails is mass mailing. Typical billing is by the thousands of emails. While your website could be sending thousands of email, it may be hacked, normal traffic is just less than 100 per week.
For website providers the email, which they don’t usually provide, is one the the biggest headaches. Any basic website has a “Contact” form. That means that the website has to be connected to a mail server. The usual way is to use SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol). Silver City Web Services uses FluentSMTP. This is a free plugin and has the ability to failover to another mail server if the primary mail server quits accepting mail.
Why would a mail server quit accepting mail? Here are some of the possible reasons:
- The mail has been piling up in the server and there is no more storage space.
- This happens when the mail is suppose to be retrieved to keep the storage requirements low but for some reason it isn’t being retrieved. This has happened to my customers before. They changed something on their mail program and it quit retrieving email.
- The credentials have been changed.
- The mail server got bombarded with thousands of emails from mywebsite.com and it is now blacklisted.
Personally I have connected WordPress websites with Gmail, Office 365, Zoho Mail, Zoho Transactional Mail, and MxRoute. Every one of these services are quite different. To complicate maters webhosts like GoDaddy use Office 365 but the interface is not the same.
In the next post I will explain in detail what needs to be done to setup your website to MxRoute.