This article is not sponsored by any of the mentioned plugins/companies and contains no affiliate links.
SMTP plugins have become somewhat essential with spam filters becoming so strict about emails that are sent using the standard
wp_mail(); function. Simply, if you are relying on WordPress to send your emails then there’s a good chance that they won’t get to the recipient.
SMTP plugins are often used by website owners to send marketing emails, transactional emails, and other informational emails. WordPress SMTP plugins are used by millions of WordPress users around the world. Although we’re referring to them as SMTP plugins, they often don’t exclusively deal with SMTP. They also integrate with email providers such as Sendinblue, Amazon SES and Office 365 via their API.
When searching for SMTP plugins, you’ll inevitably come across WP Mail SMTP – this plugin has been around for a long time and is well-supported. However, some important features of this plugin are now limited to the pro version, It is also quite intrusive in the WordPress admin, adding a menu bar item and dashboard widget. If you ever work on client websites, then these can be confusing and ultimately require extra work to remove.
Introducing Fluent SMTP.
Fluent SMTP includes all the features you might expect from a premium SMTP plugin all for the price of $0. Yep, zero. The author has also promised not to ever create a pro version; the plan is for the plugin to remain free and open source. Why would the developer do this? They also own a form plugin (Fluent Forms), so it’s really in their interest to make sure emails get delivered correctly.
Being free and open source is great, but it means nothing if the plugin has a limited feature set. Luckily that isn’t the case here.
Fluent SMTP supports:
- Amazon SES API Connection
- Gmail OAuth API Connection
- Google Workspace OAuth API Connection
- Outlook OAuth API Connection (Office 365)
- SendGrid API
- Mailgun API
- Sendinblue API
- Netcore (formerly Pepipost)API
- SparkPost API
- Postmark API
- Elastic Email
- All Other SMTP
They’re also actively working on more integrations.
In addition to the integrations, there’s every feature you need to keep your email up and running, this includes:
- Automatic import from WP Mail SMTP and Easy WP SMTP.
- Add a backup email method in case your primary one is down.
- Client friendly – the menu item is within the standard WordPress settings menu.
- Documentation is available directly from the plugin.
- Log emails being sent (can be disabled).
- Resend any logged emails.
- Dashboard widget to show how many emails have been sent (can be disabled in screen options).
- Optionally, store credentials in wp-config.php rather than the database.
Super easy setup
We previously used WP Mail SMTP to send emails via Sendinblue. Upon installing Fluent SMTP it immediately offered to import settings from WP Mail SMTP, this happened flawlessly, and we were up and running within a minute of installing the plugin – super impressive.
If you don’t currently use an SMTP plugin then setup is still super easy.
- Head over to the Fluent SMTP admin – Settings >> Fluent SMTP
- Add a connection and choose your provider
- Fill in the settings (you’ll find these at your provider, there’s also documentation links to help you find the correct settings)
- Save and send a test email using the ‘Email Test’ tab
What about X plugin?
Sure, there are alternatives – the biggest being WP Mail SMTP – so why don’t we recommend this? For one, it can be intrusive in the backend of WordPress, adding an unnecessary admin menu item that can clutter the interface. Additionally, the plugin has a number of upsells that can be distracting and detract from the user experience. Another major issue with WP Mail SMTP is that many of its features are locked behind a paywall (such as logging emails and stats), which means that users have to pay extra to access basic functionality. This is in contrast to Fluent SMTP, which offers many of the same features for free. Overall, WP Mail SMTP may not be the best choice for users who want a streamlined email delivery solution that doesn’t come with a lot of extra baggage.
There we have it
Honestly, if you need an SMTP plugin then look no further than Fluent SMTP. It has the most advanced features of any free SMTP plugin and is in active development. If you are a WP Mail SMTP Pro user then save yourself some cash and make the switch. At time of writing, the plugin has 100,000+ active installs with an average review of 5 stars.