You can send different types of WordPress Email
There are different types of email in WordPress because you can use email differently based on what your intentions are.
Email, and how you send it can be a difficult topic to understand. To better understand it, you need to think about how your email is used. Is it for notifications and alerts, do you just want to know what is going on on your site, or is email marketing a key part of your business.
Some WordPress site owners don’t know the difference between the types of Email or how best to handle the processing. This article is a tutorial about email, how it is used, and how WordPress is configured to handle it.
I’m also providing an architectural view and how to address some of the shortcomings of the delivery process.
This post is not meant to explain how to set up your site for email, but more to explain the logic behind how email is processed in WordPress.
If you want to know how to set up your site, there are a number of excellent posts and videos that will give you a step-by-step guide.
Types of Email
WordPress site owners create two types of email
We’re not talking about how the email addresses are captured, but about “how” the email addresses are used.
Transactional email is the most common type of WordPress email sent. When a user account is created, WordPress will send an email to the new user with account information
A transactional email can include event notifications, security alerts, task completion emails, feedback from completed forms, and more. Most of the notifications are short messages, less than a page.
If you capture information in forms, the notification/confirmation sent is a transactional email message.
Bulk, Promotional, and unsolicited email is mail sent to a list of people. Laws in most countries prohibit sending “unsolicited” email without prior consent.
Common types of bulk email include newsletters and announcements. Subscription forms are a common method used to get permission from subscribers before adding them to your lists.
Good list management also includes a method to unsubscribe.
Why WordPress email fails
I’ve heard a lot of complaints about WordPress not sending email. There are a lot of reasons (reasons within reasons) it doesn’t.
Most reasons revolve around the use of the built-in PHPmailer function. To use email, a user needs to be verified at a number of levels.
When WordPress email works
A more reliable way to send email is to use the internet standard SMTP protocol. WordPress email will work using SMTP because the client uses a verifiable method, using an email agent (a client) to connect to their mailbox on a post office and using a Message Transfer Agent (MTA) to send the mail.
As stated previously, The post office is designed to speak with clients and other post offices. If mail is within the same post office, message transfer is easy; the recipient’s email is moved into their mailbox.
If the message is destined for another domain a channel is opened between the post offices. Part of that setup is checking to see if the post office is valid. That check is done by querying DNS for the domain and specific DNS records (DKIM & SPF https://www.sparkpost.com/blog/understanding-spf-and-dkim/) to see if the post office requesting to send is authorized for that domain.
What about Bulk Email?
The internet recognizes that email sent from certain authorized email providers is acceptable. Email Service providers like MailChimp, MailerLite, Sendinblue and others have built a business around handling large volumes of email.
How do they do it and avoid being blacklisted? They manage the sending process.
There are clearly different types of email support required in WordPress. A site owner has to understand those differences. They must be prepared to handle transactional and bulk content. How that is done differs, just as those two types of email. When building out your WordPress site, it’s important to take how you process email into account.
It is an important part of not only how you manage your website, but also how you keep in contact with your visitors.