Email Set-up on WordPress

Hi there,

I’m a new CW custom and wondering the best way to set-up email for my WordPress sites. I’ve looked the various options CW recommends but I’m still confused.

I obviously want to receive emails from WordPress, Plugins and Feedback/Contact forms, so what do I need to set-up please?


I personally prefer Mailgun, but Elastic seems to work ok and is pretty easy to setup :slight_smile:

Use a plugin such as this one to connect your website with an email delivery service. It doesn’t matter which one. Jonah mentioned Mailgun and Elastic Mail. I use Send Grid since they provide you with some debugging information when an email does not reach its destination. After installing that WordPress plugin and signing up for a SendGrid account, all you have to do is add your SendGrid API keys to the WordPress plugin, and then your website will be able to send emails.

While Cloudways does have an Elastic Mail addon that is suppose to make it so that you can send emails without having to install a WordPress plugin, it doesn’t work reliably on Digital Ocean servers.

Thanks Guys.

Am I correct in saying if I use this plugin, WP Mail SMTP, I can link it to a third-party web host and use their SMTP server, by pointing the domains MX record to the third-party host?

I’m a reseller for several web hosts so I can use their free SMTP if possible?

I intended to move sites to CW to save money. If I have to pay extra for SMTP (SendGrid, etc), I may as well leave my sites where they are :-/


MX records are for controlling where emails that are sent to go. The WP Mail SMTP plugin is what allows WordPress to send emails. They’re solving different problems. You don’t need to change your MX records.

You can try to use any SMTP server for delivering your website’s emails, but your old web hosting company might not allow you to use their SMTP server. Their SMTP server would have to allow outside connections to it, and you would have to know the username/password for the SMTP service. But it’s really not that big of a deal to use a third party service, and it’s more reliable. Elastic Mail is only 9 cents per 1,000 emails. Mailgun is 8 cents. I have about 30 websites that I manage, and I checked my invoice for the last month, and it shows that altogether all of my websites only sent 6,576 emails. So ya, that’s literally only a few pennies per website. And don’t use Sendgrid like I am if you want to save money. They’re a lot more expensive than I’d remembered.

This article explains how to use Mailgun. Basically you just need to sign up for an account with them, and then add your API key to the WP SMTP plugin.

Thanks Russell, much appreciated.

So the only reason I have to use the WP Mail SMTP plugin is because CW haven’t set-up the server to send WordPress emails? I’m assuming that from the copy on the plugin page:

“The issue is that most WordPress hosting companies don’t have their servers properly configured for sending PHP emails.”

On other hosts I haven’t’ had this problem.

That is correct. Cloudways could install an SMTP service on your server, but instead they require you to use a third party service.

They also do not offer the ability to setup email inboxes which other hosting companies sometimes do. Cloudways does hosting only, and that’s it. They have placed all of the responsibility of anything to do with emails on third parties.

I don’t think they’ve released any official reasoning for why they have done this, but I can speculate:

  • less tech support for them
  • Third party email delivery platforms are often said to be more reliable (less likely to be blocked as spam).
  • By not having to worry about emails they can spend more of their development efforts on adding new features such as the recently added ability to create staging sites.
  • And in general, the time saved by Cloudways not having to worry about email systems allows them to offer us more value for the dollar.

It’s a little bothersome. They do have an Elastic Mail add-on that wouldn’t require you to use the WP SMTP plugin, but a) last time I checked it didn’t work on Digital Ocean servers, and b) it stops delivering your emails, instead of charging you more money, if you use up your allotment of emails. I think Cloudways needs to fix those 2 problems, and perhaps they are working on it right now, but for the time being we have to put up with the extra work of setting up the WP SMTP plugin.

Thanks Russell,

Email support for mailboxes is a major time-drain for web hosts so I can see CW logic there. But, I can imagine most WordPress users would expect to be able to send email from their websites without having to sign-up to a third party service.