When Contact Form Notifications Are Blocked by Spam Filters

When Contact Form Notifications Are Blocked by Spam Filters

Email spam filters are needed to dismiss the inordinate amount of spam and fake emails that people receive, but these filters don’t always work flawlessly. In particular, contact form notifications are frequently blocked by Microsoft Outlook’s spam filters.

The reason why Microsoft Outlook classifies many contact form notifications lies in the technicals of how these emails are sent. Thankfully, an STMP email plugin provides an effective technical solution that requires very little actual technical knowledge.

WordPress Servers Have Inherent Email Challenges

Sending automated emails from WordPress websites presents an inherent challenge. WordPress servers are set up primarily for hosting sites and only secondarily for sending emails.

While WordPress servers are capable of sending emails, they do so differently from how true email servers send messages. This is the underlying issue that eventually leads to WordPress website-sent emails being labeled as spam by Microsoft Outlook.

STMP Email vs. PHP Email

Most emails (likely including the one you opened last) are sent with simple mail transfer protocol (STMP). While other methods can work, they aren’t ideal.

WordPress Sends Emails Through PHP

WordPress websites aren’t built on STMP but rather HTTP, the hypertext transfer protocol that prefixes utmost websites’ addresses. Websites are able to send emails, but they must do so through a hypertext processor.

While PHP email sending works, it’s much like sending a package to one grandchild via another one who’s going to visit them. The package should theoretically arrive on time and in-tact, but this isn’t the easiest, most professional, or most reliable delivery method. Sending via the postal service or a courier would be much more efficient.

When Outlook receives PHP emails sent from your website, the emails look unconventional and therefore suspicious. Whether the contents are damaged isn’t the only risk with emails. Outlook is apt to identify these emails as “highly suspicious” and file them in a high-risk folder — they often aren’t even delivered to a recipient’s spam folder, much less an inbox that actually gets read.

STMP Plugin Reroutes Emails Through STMP

An STMP email plugin will route the emails that your WordPress website sends through an STMP server. In rerouting emails through an STMP email server, the plugin redresses the emails so that they look like Outlook expects emails to. The messages are formatted using the standard computer email language.

It’s as if that second grandchild dropped the package off at the post office for you. You don’t have to directly take the package to a currier, but your grandchild can run the errand for you. The package will be properly addressed and shipped, so the first grandchild should receive it without issue.

Use an STMP Plugin on Your Website

With an STMP plugin, contact form notifications:

  1. Can still be automatically sent to website visitors and team members
  2. Are properly dressed as standard emails
  3. Will have a much higher rate of reception

In order to set up SMTP on your website, you will need to provide an email address and password for an actual email within your organization that can send and receive emails – not an alias account.

Because this is done via a plugin, it requires no more than installing the plugin and adjusting its settings. The whole process takes no more than a few minutes for your development team. While a simple solution, it can ensure that your staff gets notified of contact form submissions and significantly increases how many visitors get your website’s contact form notifications.

To learn more about how our STMP plugin can improve your contact form notifications, contact us at CleverLight.

About the author

Lindsey is a senior project manager and content strategist at CleverLight. She leads our clients through the web design, development, and content marketing processes with excellent communication and time management skills. Since joining the team in 2020, she has become an integral part of the day-to-day operations at CleverLight.

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