With the evolution of the internet, although mostly good, there also came a darker side. Scammers and spammers are everywhere. While a problem in itself, it has also become an issue for many normal website owners.
Due to the amount of spam online, ISPs (Internet Service Providers) had to develop ways to prevent spam, or at least to reduce it. Largely, this meant blocking the techniques and processes that were abused, along with filtering emails that appear to be spammy in nature. These filtered emails end up in your spam folder, or blocked and deleted by the ISP before they even reach you. Even the larger hosting providers have blocked the PHP mail() function (sending of emails without an actual email account) for years.
How Does Spam Affect Good Website Owners?
Unfortunately, the processes used by spammers are also still used by many business and personal websites. It is hard for the average owner to keep up with the industry, but because of this it is important to review your website sometimes. Hence, if you haven’t done so recently, you should consider testing your email services.
This is particularly important for websites that use contact forms and shopping carts. If your site uses the old PHP mail() function (doesn’t need to be setup with a real email account’s login information), then chances are that you are not receiving contacts, or that your customers are not receiving receipts for purchases etc., due to these emails being filtered before they arrive. Moreover, in many cases, these old contact forms and carts no longer function properly. To resolve this, contact forms or shopping carts need to be configured to use SMTP.
How to fix the problem with SMTP
One of the easiest ways to fix this is to use WordPress or a similar CMS (Content Management System) which allows easy to setup ‘plugin’ features. Most static sites can easily and cheaply be converted to one of these platforms, allowing easy management and updating by even novice users (an added benefit to fixing the issue).
With WordPress, there are numerous plugins that can create contact forms using SMTP, or to force the entire WordPress system to use SMTP for any mail. This means that when your contact form sends an email to you, or your website sends emails to customers, it will always use a real and registered email account via SMTP. This will, in turn, reduce the number of issues regarding emails going to spam, or being blocked … improving things for yourself and your visitors/customers.
Setting up a contact form to use SMTP with a static website can be more difficult. We would recommend that only experienced developers do this. However, a good developer shouldn’t charge you much to setup such a system and there are full guides and setups available for free here:
** Scroll down below the ‘files’ in order to see the setup instructions **
For WordPress, just navigate to ‘Plugins’ and ‘Add New’. Then, search for things like SMTP mail setup, SMTP contact form, SMTP configuration etc. Depending on your needs, there are many useful plugins. Make sure to observe the number of installs, number of reviews, and star rating to find something good. It is also worth taking to time to read these reviews.
Regardless of the above, it’s always advisable to regularly check your email is working, not being filtered, and even to test out your website features … as technologies are constantly changing, and websites need to be updated in order to remain effective and/or profitable.