Today's post was brought to you by an email I received about making their website's email more reliable:
I am in the process now of launching a new event. I just did a test purchase, and unlike the previous events I did not receive an email alerting me that a new order had been placed. Do you know why this might be the case? I have not changed my settings in WooCommerce, and I just checked Settings>Emails>New Order, and it indicates email to be sent on New Order.
So it looks like they have all of the same settings, it sounds like it's going to the same email address, and this is happening on an otherwise working website. Sound work right? Unfortunately without using some really technical tools (which you might not have access to) to see exactly what your server is doing you don't really know what happened. Did something in WooCommerce break? Did the email get marked as spam before getting to your inbox? Or is the your web server limited in how much email it can send? All of those things could happen. Luckily there are some tools you can use to diagnose the problem and make your email a lot more reliable in the process.
Email Delivery Tools aka 3rd Party SMTP Providers
There are some pretty easy to use tools out there that make this process a bit more transparent. You can see if the emails were sent and if they were successfully delivered. I use a tool called Mailgun which has a very convenient log page. It lists all of the email my website sends and the status of the delivery.
There are a few other services that do very similar things. In addition to Mailgun there's Sendgrid and Mandrill. Each of these services has a free account up to some ridiculously high number like 10,000 emails per month as well as a free WordPress plugin on WordPress.org.
Understanding the Log
Once you have a log you can use it determine where the problem is occurring. If the email never shows up in the log it's most likely something going on with your website. Maybe the programming isn't functioning correctly.
If the email is in the log and reported as spam then there's something going on with your inbound email server. You'll have to reach out to your email provider and ask them why that's happening. Note: I haven't ever had this with gmail.
If something is in the log and it's been successfully delivered there's most likely something wrong with your email client. Maybe your email client is broken or there's some sort of issue with the account.
These 3rd party SMTP providers are free unless you run a massive website. You should definitely be using them to manage all of your email. You never know when there could be a problem so it's worth taking a few minutes to setup so that when you do have a problem you can track it down in five minutes rather than three hours.
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