Are you planning on sending e-mail newsletters? If this is the case then you have made the right decision since this is an extremely efficient marketing channel and it would be a shame not to use it.

However using the default mail server for your website might be a bit of a problem.

Why? Because you might overload it or get a negative spam score and thus you won’t be able to send any more e-mails whatsoever. Let’s not forget the delay problems while sending the e-mails. In other words – using the default mail server for regular e-mails (such as registration e-mails) is rather OK but when it comes to mass e-mail sending (such as newsletters) then you better find a better solution.

And such solution is the usage of a custom mail server or service. And in this post I will show you how to achieve this in WordPress.

But before I do this, let’s have a look at the beautiful external newsletter services such as Mailchimp and consider their usage for a moment. You won’t need to change your WordPress mail configuration, nor worry about the risk of being marked as a spammer. All you have to do is to create a MailChimp account, drag&drop the components in order to create a beautiful newsletter design and then send it to your subscribers. Extremely fast, easy and safe.

There’s even a WordPress plugin that allows you to add subscribers to your MailChimp lists from your WordPress site, with ease. It is called MailChimp for WordPress. It integrates subscription forms on your website in order to gain the needed subscribers. When a user subscribes the system redirects them to a custom “Thank you for your subscription” page. You can even use Contact Form 7 and other WordPress plugins to improve the integration.

Gain e-mail newsletter subscribers for MailChimp straight from your WordPress website

Easy, right?

But I assume that this might not be the thing that you are looking for. Then perhaps you might want to try out MailPoet in order to create perfect newsletters straight from your dashboard. Yes, this is possible and it is also extremely easy. Have a look at the article in TheCMSPlace that I have written about MailPoet and how to use it for efficient e-mail marketing campaigns.

In the linked article you will notice the option to choose between an external/custom mail server or the default mail server. When you enter the settings for an external service (such as Mandrill) all of your newsletters will be sent via this server and your own will be safe.

But this applies to the functionality of MailPoet only. If you want to use a custom server for all your e-mails then you might want to consider installing WP Mail SMTP.

This WordPress plugin will allow you to configure a SMTP based service or mailserver that is different than the mailserver for your hosting. This happens by reconfiguring the wp_mail() function to use SMTP instead of mail(). WP Mail SMTP also creates an options page to manage the settings. It is located under the main “Settings” menu in your WordPress dashboard and is called “Email”.

In it you can set the following options:

  • The outgoing e-mail name and address;
  • Set WordPress to use SMTP for mail sending purposes instead of the default PHP mail() function;
  • Set the SMTP host and port;
  • Choose between SSL / TLS encryption;
  • Select whether to use SMTP authentication or not;
  • Set a username/password for SMTP;
Integrate custom mail server/service for WordPress by using WP Mail SMTP

The options for WP Mail SMTP. The image is embedded from the WordPress.org page of the plugin.

So the only thing left to do is to choose a custom mail server or service, right? The great news is that there are some really good services for the task at hand. Below you will see some of the most commonly used ones:

  • SendGrid
  • Mandrill
  • Mailjet

Most of these services provide free and limited e-mail sending. This is simply great since you can try them without spending any money and if you are satisfied then you can purchase a paid plan. Also speaking of payment – there are different models for example: pay as you go, payment plans, etc. Just find the most suitable one for you and use it with WP Mail SMTP.

Share your thoughts in the comments below and don’t forget to mention you favorite custom server/service for e-mail sending in WordPress.

See you soon friends!