When you decided to become a web designer, I bet you didn’t expect email to be a part of the job…right? At least, that’s how I felt. I loved most all of the aspects of web design except for one…EMAIL! I dreaded trying to figure out how to get emails through the website into my clients’ email and when it came to email migrations or spam problems, I was lost.
While I learned enough about DNS and emails to help clients on a basic level, I always struggled with email related problems. That is, until I met Amr Selim, my personal guru for all things DNS and Email Deliverability.
In this episode, Amr gives an overview of email deliverability, the tools, methods and best practices for getting your emails through your website successfully. We also cover the important, foundational things to understand when it comes to email, spam and the main problems that cause emails to get lost, go to spam or not come through at all via a website.
In this episode:
04:04 – Greeting to Amr
07:38 – Back in time
10:29 – Email deliverability
11:20 – Issue with WP
14:23 – Gmail or hosting
17:52 – Consider “neighbors”
18:35 – Dedicated IP
18:59 – What is VPS
20:04 – What is VPN
21:16 – Spam filters
23:06 – Sending or receiving
24:48 – Whitelist
27:58 – Email frat house
29:25 – Switching to G Suite
30:30 – or Microsoft 365
32:48 – What is SMTP
36:03 – Tools that help
38:49 – Use an email plugin
44:12 – “From” actual email box
46:55 – What is POP
49:46 – What is IMAP
54:24 – Recap
57:53 – Final thoughts
1:01:14 – Amr’s connect info
We cover the basics, along with some advanced tools, tactics and strategies in this one but if you’re ready to take your email knowledge to the next level after this, be sure to check out Amr’s new Email Deliverability Course at:
Josh Hall Web Design Show listeners get 10% OFF Amr’s email course by using code JHPODCAST at checkout!
Connect with Amr:
- Amr’s YouTube Channel
- Amr’s Facebook
- Episode 051 – Pivoting to Web Design During a Pandemic with Amr Selim
Featured links mentioned:
Episode #118 Full Transcription
Hey, friends, welcome into the podcast, this is Episode 118. And in this one, we’re going to have as much fun as we possibly can. When it comes to talking about a subject that is not so fun, but it’s very, very important as a web designer, and that is email, we’re going to talk about email deliverability. And if you’re curious about what that term actually means, maybe you’re new to web design. let me pose this scenario to you. Let’s say you build a website, you launch it, it goes live, but you’re not getting any submissions through your contact form. But you go in your website, whether you’re using the native contact form with Divi or Elementor, whatever theme you’re using, and or maybe Gravity Forms, which is what I use. And you see you’re getting a bunch of submissions, but they’re not actually getting through to your email. That is a massive problem. It’s very, very common. And I’m excited in this episode to share the solution with you big Well, there’s numerous solutions, but we are going to talk about how to practically help you out with email deliverability and how to get your emails from your website through to you or your clients email.
For this topic. I brought in my personal guru, my personal expert, with all things email domain DNS, and basically anything on the internet. This is my man Amr he’s been on the show before he was on episode 51. We talked about his journey going full time to web design during COVID. And this guy is the wealth of knowledge when it comes to email in particular, he’s really good at a lot of things. But email is his specialty. And if you can believe it, he actually likes it. He actually likes working with email, which was my personal like the worst, worst part of what I did as a freelance web designer for years. So this is a really, really important episode and I cannot wait to help you with the ins and outs of getting your emails through.
We do get into some nitty gritty stuff here. So heads up. This is a technical episode. But I can’t tell you and I can’t stress the importance of this because you’ve at least got to know the basics. And that’s what you’re going to be empowered with here we are going to cover the basics. And we’re also going to get into some more advanced ways to make sure you get your emails through. So I am personally super excited to share this with you because this is the podcast episode I really needed to hear years ago. And one thing I do want to say before we dive in Amr at the time of releasing this interview, just recently came out with his first online course about email and about how to get it through and it goes like if you’d like this podcast episode and you really want the next level, make sure to join his course it goes through everything and so much more detail. I do have a link in a special discount for Josh Hall Web Design Show listeners on the show notes for this page, go to Josh Hall co/118. And there’ll be a special discount for you and you can check out aimers course if you feel good about this episode and want to take the next step.
Now Additionally, before we dive in, what we talked about in this episode is specific to email but email is all connected with whatever hosting company you’re on. It’s also connected with a variety of things in regards to your domain and everything. So if you’re terrified with domains and hosting and DNS and cPanel, and MX records and a records and all this stuff, another great resource for you to help you with all this stuff is my cPanel course it’s a quick down and dirty no nonsense very quick course that will give you the foundation of all the scary stuff. So after this episode and after you go through Amr’s course if you want to learn the basics of all that good stuff, I would love to help you out with that you can join my cPanel course today. There’s a link for that in the show notes for this episode as well. And without further ado, here’s my man Amr we’re gonna have as much fun as we can talk in email.
Amr my man, welcome back to the show, dude, great to have you back on.
Hey, Josh, how’s it going?
Well, I’ve got a little bit of hair left after working with you, coincidentally enough on some email issues I was having on my site. I mean, we were joking that the timing of this could not have been more comedic, because what today we had scheduled to talk about email delivery, and to help people make sure their emails are going from their websites to the inbox. And of course, it’s the funnest talk to talk about ever in web design. But in all seriousness, it’s super important. So we had planned on talking about this and literally the day before I had some email issues and you came to the rescue and we we literally just fixed it right before we went live on this call. So the timing is perfect. Super excited to talk with you about this because we’re essentially going to have a conversation that normally you and I would just have but I figured hey, why not? To share it with the world because this stuff again, it’s not sexy. It’s not fun. But by golly, it’s important. And even for those of us who are not technical wizards, we need to understand the basics. Amr You’re the man, you are like, you’re my go to guy, my, you know, all my students in my web design club, everyone just loves you. They’ve realized that you are the guy. For those who don’t know you, can you refresh everybody where you’re based out of and what you do.
Okay, guys, I’m Amr, My nickname is the internet guy. We’ll get into that a bit later. And also close friends call me the plumber, the website plumber. So that’s another nickname is because my first name is hard to pronounce. I’m based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, we have no snow. So we’re quite lucky. But we don’t see the sun as much so that there’s a little bit of a trade off there. And yeah, I’ve been I worked for, you know, corporate America for a long time for software companies and stuff like that. And from 2016, I started my boutique web design and development company. I don’t know, I don’t like the word agency much. So it’s not an agency. It’s a company. And I’m following Josh’s steps. And yeah, all the guidance as well that you Josh like, you know, give, and all the business stories of how you grew your company and how he sold it. And you know what you’re doing right now. And yeah, like this, I’m following these steps. Even though I’m a little bit older than you.
While you’re doing a great job, man, you killed it. Our last podcast was about your story going full time. And I’ve seen you just kill it. And I love it. I’m so pumped for what you’re doing. And you’re such a helpful guy, man. And you You’re just a wealth of knowledge. And particularly when it comes to anything domain, DNS, email related, you’ve been my dude for a while. So it’s been a pleasure to expose you to the community. And I love that everyone’s finding out, you know, just how valuable this this set of skill set is. Because it’s hard to find people who know this stuff. More importantly, like it. So let’s dive into we’re gonna have as much fun as we can talk about email, we, you know, we want to make this fun for everyone listening. But again, it’s super important. So let’s start out man with what is email deliverability? particularly for those who might be just getting into web design? It’s likely they’re not even thinking about this, like I did when I started building websites, I just figured you had a contact form and it goes your email, I had no idea that there is this he this shady term called email deliverability. So what is that? And maybe we can segue into talking about the issues that WordPress often has with that?
Go back in time when the internet was new and email was the sexiest application that worked on the internet. – Amr
Sure. To answer your question, we got to go back in time when the internet was new. And email was the sexiest application that worked on the internet. And you know, I don’t know I don’t have the statistics, the statistics in front of me, like the number of emails that get sent worldwide per day, I’m sure you can Google it. But it was the most important application of the time and you’re talking maybe 1995 1996, we had no fast internet, there was nothing there. No streaming. There was most of what was on were websites with just text and a few images, there weren’t even as good looking as they are today. And email. That’s it, like people were online just to send the email, because it replaced the older method of written communication, which was fax machines. So because there was so important, it, it’s built on the protocols of the internet. And I’m sorry if I sound a little bit geeky here, but it’s like you will be hearing lots of abbreviation terms like POP and IMAP, and SMTP, which is something they usually do when you’re setting up your new email on your phone or something. And then you get the port number, and SSL Do I need TLS or SSL, it’s like, it becomes a little bit like, I don’t know, too daunting of a task just to set up an email to work on it. Yeah, it feels like you’re learning a foreign language while you’re trying to get email set up. But it’s still very important. So fast forward to today. We have Netflix, we have everything on demand, we order food online, we use social media, we interact with each other, we use zoom, but we still use email, which is don’t talk about it anymore. Like it’s not the sexiest app alive. But it’s extremely important. Like if you’re locked out of your social media, use email to reset your password right? So it’s still very important.
That’s an interesting way to think about it. I like that it’s almost like it’s, it’s like an ancient tool, almost technical terms and technology, but it’s still like the most important and it’s obviously huge for even just email lists and connecting with us.
You can’t sign up to anything without an email if you’re doing any sort of No rushing to you know, your subscribers and people who follow you, you put them on a newsletter and you send them emails, right. And in most cases, these if you do it right, they work, like people click get to see more information. And if they like it, they buy whatever you’re offering. So and when you have discounts and the whole lot, right, so email lists are still a big thing as well. And email deliverability is about not losing any of this, like it’s for every message to be delivered to straight to the mailbox of the person who was intended to get that message. So for this email deliverability, there are so many factors that actually affect the ability of your message to reach his destination. And as we go on today, during this interview, will shed some light on, you know, bits and pieces, and what is spam and things like that?
Yeah, I want to ask about SMTP and POP and IMAP and spam. But let’s start out I think, maybe a little more practical topic would be WordPress in general, it seems to be an issue. And I’m speaking as a web designer of over 10 years, when you set up a WordPress website, and particularly which basically everyone who listens to this is doing, again, you would think a contact form, no matter what theme you’re using would just you know, you get the email, but often more cases than not, it doesn’t go through. So what is the issue here? What What is WordPress? So, you know, we’ve, we’ve realized, we’ve got a website, we got a contact form, whether it’s an a theme or a plugin, and then it should go to your email. But what’s the issue? I’m just kind of playing devil’s advocate, because I know, but I want to ask you ever to that to the layman? Who’s just getting started? What’s the issue? Why doesn’t that work on demand.
So your WordPress website sits on top of the hosting, which is on your hosting account, right. And your hosting account has an IP address. And most of us use shared hosting. So this IP address is used by everybody else on the same server. Right. And what what normally tends to happen is, WordPress, as you know, is built on top of, or is built with a programming language called PHP, and PHP itself has a function is called PHP mail, this function in the code of the PHP is the function that’s responsible to send those emails from your website, to wherever it’s going. The problem is that it’s also sitting on that server with that IP, that you probably have another 100 people using at the same time. So it’s not that reliable. Like if you just use PHP mail it, it can have delays, like the message would eventually arrive, like maybe 90% of the time, but it could arrive tomorrow or next week or whatever. Like if if and depends, it also depends on what hosts you’re using. Like, if you’re not using, like a top notch hosting company, they’ll be having a lot of spam going on, they’ll be having a lot of traffic of like bad traffic, getting out of their servers. Yeah, and this will negatively affect your email deliverability. So that’s one of the reasons we don’t recommend anyone to use out of the box, the PHP mail function, which is you know, whatever is built in, like, if you don’t take anything, if you just install WordPress, build the form, and leave it and you don’t do anything else, you’ll be using the PHP mail function.
That’s a good way to phrase it and to think about it. So it’s good for me to even hear that practically just the fact that a WordPress website on shared hosting is going to have the same IP as a lot of other websites. So it’s gonna, it’s gonna cause issues, a lot of email platforms are gonna look at it like it’s spam, or it’s not gonna let it through. So let’s talk about let’s actually, before we get into spam and se SMTP and stuff, let’s talk about email addresses, or actually, so I meant email on a hosting server versus Gmail. Why? Why is something like Gmail going to get through more often than not then a hosting server type of email.
So as we’ve just mentioned, because you’re using the IP address, which is shared between you and so many people, if anybody on that server sends even one spam message, or one message that maybe wasn’t spam, but the user the recipient, didn’t like it. So you know, especially now in your Gmail, when you receive an email, you could just go and say, This is spam, like you designated as spam. And this goes back all the way trace to the IP address, then that IP address gets blacklisted. So there there is, I don’t know how many they are. But like, previously, we had five, spam blacklists in the world that control email deliverability. One was called spam hose. And there’s like many of them. But that’s not the point. Like there are a lot of spam blacklists. And what gets blacklisted is not your email, it’s your IP address. That’s the problem. That’s exactly the problem. Because many people come and say, I never spam. I don’t send anything like, you know, I don’t even have a newsletter or anything. I don’t have a mailing list. When it’s not you, it’s somebody using that IP address. And, you know, God forbid, if, if not you getting hacked, but somebody, your neighbor on that server has bad security on their WordPress, and they get hacked. And then somebody is using their PHP mail function to send 1000s of emails, your IP is blacklisted.
It’s so wild you can just be you could be an innocent person trying to do good, you could get screwed over because somebody else yeah, so what about like Gmail versus email on a server.
Gmail and, and like Microsoft Office, which has outlook and so on, they build a specific email application that, like Gmail, for example, the only job it does is send and receive mail doesn’t do anything else, no one is sharing it. And they have 1000s of servers around the world, that are responsible for these transactions to route emails and receive emails and filter them and stuff. So because it’s specifically built for that purpose, it’s way more reliable, as an email tool than anything else.
And and it’s not that expensive, when you think of it is like, what, $5 a month or something?
Yeah, for people who are like, oh, five, like, are you kidding me is your email not worth $5 a month, that’s, that’s nuts, that’s crazy to not understand the value of that. And, look, I’ve had clients that have been like, I don’t want to sign up for G Suite, if it’s gonna be like, 60 bucks a year, I’m just gonna put the email on my server, because I have hosting, but they don’t understand this. And this is what I didn’t understand the beginning either. And I had to let them know, if you do your email on the server, first of all, I’m not touching it. And second of all, you’re gonna get spit, you know, you’re gonna have a lot of problems with spam. And it’s just the way it works. And I like how you’re making this very clear. For us. It’s, it’s that email providers like Gmail, or Microsoft, office three, or whatever, all these different email specific platforms are just for that. But email on a server, that server could be used for a website, it could be for document storage, it could be for all sorts of things. So it’s just like a part of, you know, what’s on the play of products with that.
Don’t just think as well about you. You’re if you’re on shared hosting, you’ve got neighbors that you don’t know about, you don’t know what they’re doing. Yeah. So you know, you don’t even know if they’re doing something that’s eating up your resources, or I know that hosting companies have safeguards in place so that if somebody is eating up a lot of resources, it doesn’t affect the next person. But unfortunately, that doesn’t work for email, because email uses IP addresses. And that that’s the other thing like that, no matter what you do, there’s no going around that IBM IP address thing unless you change your IP address.
If you’re on a hosting server, where you have your own dedicated IP, you may get away with having email hosted where the website is hosted by you got to ask your hosting company to verify whether you’re a dedicated IP is also used for email.
So is it only for the website? Or is it website and anything else?
What about private? What about private VPN? Do those help?
VPS? Yeah, yeah. If you have Yeah, if you have a VPS on your own, but again, see VPS. The V means virtual, right. So it’s basically a VPS is like a server, like the hardware itself of the server, and inside the server, you distributed, or you break it down into 10 virtual servers. So now you have this one big thing that has its own IP with the connectivity to the outside world. And then inside that you have done other sub server machines or virtual servers that have their own IPS as well. And, you know, the networking between them determines where everything is going and wherever things coming. And that gets a little bit too complicated. Because if the main IP of the main the big one gets blacklisted, then nothing’s gonna get out as well.
Yeah, no, I actually So that’s good. I was curious about what a VPS was, but also VPN, like personal networks.
Yeah VPN? No. I also think VPNs can contribute to spam as well.
Because you’re masking, you’re hiding your real IP address, and you appear as if you’re somewhere else right. Now, many of the email authentication services online, they’re set up to pick this up and figure out Oh, hang on a second. That’s a VPN. There’s not a real, you know, okay, real IP. So
It looks like a mask almost.
Yeah. Unless, again, unless you’re running your own, like, you know, it’s because your, even your VPN, they give you servers in different cities, right? So you can appear in London, or you can appear in Brisbane or whatever. But many other people are using that same VPN service like you. So that’s not your own IP still. Okay,
Gotcha. It’s like a expensive, more expensive shared IP, basically, or Yeah, like a premium IP. Okay, that makes sense. Let’s talk about while we’re on the subject of what’s happening with a lot of these issues, let’s talk about spam, we are going to get to the good stuff. We’re talking about the solutions next. But let’s wrap up with the problems here, by talking about spam and how spam filters work. I mean, you’ve covered a lot about a lot of that so far, just with platforms, you know, seeing different IPS and how they filter out spammy IP’s or, you know, have a website got hacked, the likely block that IP but yeah, how, what about spam in general, between just email to email or email through website, how to how do email clients look at spam? And how do we what’s the what’s the issue? What’s going on there.
So most of the email clients before getting the email to your inbox, automatically, they check spam, online, spam, blacklists. And if the email the from is on an IP address that’s on that list, they just discard the message is not going to get there. If it doesn’t look like they, it’s an algorithm. And it’s very complicated. So it’s got like some weights. And it’s like a point system. So it’s almost like to make it easier. Let’s say we have 10 points, anything about five will be discarded. If you’re like four or five, they’re not sure is it spam is it not spam, it may come to your inbox, but in the spam folder, okay. And then if it’s between zero and two, or zero, and three, it looks legitimate, so it will come to your inbox. And that that’s why sometimes you send an email to somebody, it ends up in the spam folder, even though that email is not spam. Right. But some spam filter there is not sure. Is it a yes or no? If it’s a definite yes. And they’re sure it’s spam, it’s never going to get there.
Yeah. And how do we alleviate that? If we if there’s a there’s a email that we know we should be getting, but it keeps on going to spam? What can we do to receive that? And then I guess On the flip side, well, I’m sure what we’ll get into that.
So let’s make the difference between sending and receiving, okay. You can you control the sending part. So you need to make sure that again, like we’re what we were saying earlier, if you’re using an email, which is hosted on your hosting where your website is, expect that some of your emails will not end up where they’re supposed to be, that’s normal, there’s nothing you can do about it, apart from moving to G Suite or Microsoft or something similar, right. But if you’re still using that, make sure like you don’t spam, of course, make sure you use authentication. So whatever you’re using to send has to be secured like with with similar to the SSL certificate that we put on our website, the same certificate can also be used to send email security in the mail. So you contribute to making sure your sending environment is safe. Right? You can’t You can’t affect your neighbors. If you have a bad one. You know, it all goes on, we can.
But we could do all we can to make our emails send safely and Exactly.
So now receiving you have no control because the sender is the person who’s got the control. I know it’s annoying, the only thing you can do is to whitelist them through your own email, you know, application, whatever you use, if as Gmail, you can just add them as a contact and that whitelist the sender.
Okay, but that was actually that was wonder. Yeah, that was one question I had is what is for folks who are new to this. And I didn’t know for a long time what whitelist meant. How would you explain that and just like you said.
Give an example of my website when somebody fills the form. The email comes from firstname.lastname@example.org I probably was too lazy. I didn’t put like a proper
Didn’t put the plumber at?
Yeah, like email@example.com. But so it comes, let’s say My website is is, well, it’s human talents.ca. So it comes from WordPress@human talents.ca. I actually don’t have an email address called WordPress@human tons of CA. So the first time someone fills the form, it ends up in my spam folder because that that email actually does not exist. WordPress just created something in order to get this message sent out. So all what I need to do on my Gmail, I just add WordPress at human talent.ca as a contact. Previously, there was something in the settings that says whitelist or whatever, I was gonna say it wasn’t there anymore. I don’t know. I don’t see it anymore. I think the fact that you designated as a contact, it means you want to receive email address.
I was I’m glad you clarified that because I have an email right now that comes through that keeps on going to my junk. And I wanted to do just that. I wanted to to whitelist them. And I was Yeah, actually perfect time to ask you. I didn’t realize making them a contact could alleviate that.
One of my websites, no matter what I do keeps going to spam. And that email is host it’s not it’s not an important one. It’s a website I use for testing. Okay, right. But eventually, some people find the form there and fill it. Usually it’s a question like, I get 90% spam 10% real questions out of that testing site. And because it was testing, I didn’t really spend much time on it. So it’s hosted on the hosting, and it’s using PHP mail function, and I just left it alone.
Yeah, basically, everything he said not to do for a legit…
Whitelisted it like 100 times. And then tomorrow the messages in my spam folder. Okay, so it’s like, there’s nothing I can do apart from move the email system outside the hosting server.
If your clients are neglecting to sign up for security and your maintenance plan, let them know. It can be their entire not only website, but their email as well. – Josh
Interesting. Interesting case study, right there. Okay, so we’ve talked about a lot of issues, a lot of what’s going on one thing I wanted to mention, I meant to mention mentioned this a little bit ago, you talked about blacklist, when when websites blacklist and their domains are blacklisted. This is something I experienced with websites that I got hacked when clients wouldn’t go in my maintenance plan, and they got hacked eventually. And then all of a sudden, not only was their website down, but they were really confused because their email wasn’t getting through. And I let them know the whole I mean, a whole IP. So just for everyone listening, if your clients are neglecting to sign up for security and your maintenance plan, let them know. It can be their entire not only website, but their email as well. Everything that’s hooked in there together. And this is obviously typically the problem with email is on a server. So if you have if you have a website on Bluehost, and you have your email on Bluehost, and it gets hacked, yeah, guess what’s going to happen, that whole IP is going to be blacklisted. And your website’s gonna be down your emails not gonna come through. So, so just wanted to make that differentiation before.
Think of an IP address, like an address. So if you have a house, and you’re in your neighborhood, where people are always drunk, and they have parties, and they’re very loud, right, the police is going to be here all the time.
It’s like a campus, your email is basically a campus frat house. So there we go. You know what, that’s the best way to explain this.
So that’s the IP address for you. The IP address has a problem, everybody there will suffer.
And then once something really goes down, then your IP becomes the drug, you know, the drug house or something? Yeah,
That’s the best way to are there are ways actually you can remove. So you can request the removal of an IP address from the blacklist. Yeah, but it takes a few days.
So yes, that’s that’s what so I use Secury
On the labor for 10 days with no email, no orders coming right website, nothing.
Right. I’ve used security for email, and website, malware removals and stuff, which they do help but it does take time. And some of these processes we’ve already talked about not going to cover you’ll have to do over and over once you kind of rebound from that, because it’s kind of like, it’s like me living in a bad neighborhood. And then the drug house, you know, they get evicted, but you still it’s gonna take a little while. So we need to prove yourself, we need to move out of this neighborhood. So let’s talk about what look we’re making it practical. Now. We’re having some fun. How do we move out of that email neighborhood Amr
So Okay, so first thing is your email has to be sent from another IP address. So use a dedicated email service. And okay, there’s a third one that people don’t know about was the cheaper. So you’ve got Google and Microsoft, they’re pretty much the same. I think it’s $5 per user per month. Or if you pay annually, you get a little bit of a discount, let’s say 60 annual to make it easier. Microsoft is quite similar, but Microsoft so if you’re using Microsoft software anyway, yeah,
Real quick. When you say Gmail, you’re talking G Suite, not just a standard email.
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Because you want to use your domain as your like, you want to move. Email ads mydomain.com? Not, you know, my personal Gmail. Yeah, yeah, you’re moving out of your hosting, and it will be hosted on G Suite, but it’s still your domain name and your business name. So it’s not any different. And we set it up this way, of course. But Microsoft as well, like, for example, on many cases, I have advised people to move to Microsoft 365, rather than move to G Suite, because you’re already using. So for example, many of the small businesses like the between one and 20 employees are already using Microsoft Outlook as their email application of choice. So if you’re already using Outlook, Microsoft Word and PowerPoint, and you’re in a Windows environment, it makes more sense for you, that your email be hosted by Microsoft, because everything is in the same place. And when you’re paying for your software, when you’re paying for your you know, the suite itself, the Microsoft Office Suite, it comes with email, so you don’t have to pay extra to host you just bring your domain. That’s it. That’s the only thing you put your domain and, and we’ll make it easier. Just in a second, just let us finish that. Because Yeah, but what does point my domain mean? And how can I have my website somewhere on my email somewhere else?
Yeah, it’s confusing. For me. It’s confusing in general. So for clients or like, what, for me, the way I like to explain it is for clients, you want to have your email with Gmail, because of the deliverability and the security and just have a lot more options in space, you don’t have to worry about space getting filled up like you would on us. Exactly, yeah. And I would always tell them, you know, you don’t want you know, your name at gmail, because, for one, it doesn’t look professional. There’s a lot of other aspects of that. Whereas if you do G Suite, you can still have your full domain name, you can have, you know, at, you can have your name at your website, but it’s actually going through Gmail, it’s just the professional the upgrade version. So that’s kind of how I explained it. But yeah, there’s the step I’d like to talk about is with some of these tools for that these, there’s sendgrid. There’s a bunch of plugins I want to talk about. Maybe even before we talk about some of these tools we can use, because those are important, whether you’re using G Suite or Microsoft, it doesn’t matter. Yeah, you still need a third party to go from WordPress to a good email. So maybe let’s talk about what SMTP is and why that’s important.
So SMTP, Simple Mail Transfer Protocol. It’s responsible for the email going out. And in the past, again, if I’m mentioning the PHP mailer function, but there was because when they build this into PHP as a programming language, that was a great thing to do, because they allowed people to send messages straight from any website, even before WordPress was created. Right. But the problem is that, that you have one line of code that can be hacked, or like, even if somebody just knows your like your specific function, where where is it. And they know your IP address, which is not hard to find, they can send massive emails, spam emails from your IP without you knowing. So because of that specific thing, most hosting providers, and almost everybody had to bring in an extra layer of security, which is SMTP authentication. So in the past, you didn’t need to do this, you just put the name of the SMTP server or the IP address. And that’s it, all the mail goes out nothing. Now you still have to put your username and password. So you need the server name, or the server IP address. There’s a specific port number usually the SMTP uses Port 25 You don’t need to worry about that. It’s usually written like when you when you create the first email on a specific server, they give you this information anyway. Yeah. And then you have to put your username and your password so any message that uses that specific way of sending email is authenticated as you they know it’s coming from you. You can’t claim Hey, I’ve been you know, like if you’re if you’re caught sending spam, you can say it wasn’t me because it’s authenticated unless you are of course unless of course you are hacked.
And this is all for outgoing like from WordPress why this is content
Anywhere even even your Gmail even your actual personal my firstname.lastname@example.org when you send the message using Gmail, you’re actually using Gmail SMTP server.
You just don’t know it because it’s it happens in the background.
So that’s the question with WordPress I want to transition to is a lot of people will just upload an SMTP plug Again, thinking that will do the trick. Sometimes it does. And you have a really good resource for that. But so I’ve used sendgrid, which for anyone who’s brand new to all this sendgrid is basically the easiest way I like to think about it is when a message comes through WordPress, whether it’s my contact form, or an order, or anything on my website, in order for it to get to me to my Gmail, it goes through sendgrid. Sendgrid, basically authenticates it. And the issue that we had an hour before we went live was I had an issue with sendgrid, balancing my main email, so the email, I wasn’t getting my emails there for a hot minute. So that’s, you know, we figured it out. But by the way, the solution was just to make sure my email address wasn’t on the list for getting bounced, and then we were good to go. But there are some other tools that are very similar. So can you make that differentiation for us Amr between sendgrid, and some of these other stmp SMTP, excuse me plugins, and then maybe let’s talk about the one that you recommend.
Sure. So the first thing is that like your first line of defense, move your email outside, outside your hosting, if you need help with that, just call me we’ll we’ll figure it out together. But once you’ve had that, so let’s say you’re on G Suite or in your Microsoft or somewhere else, not on your hosting. The next thing is, is to tell WordPress, which SMTP server to use. So you download a plugin and you install it. And then you have to put in your account details like again, the server name, port number, and your username and password. And this would actually route anything that comes out of your WordPress website, through your new email server, which is not on the same hosting. So the first thing is you can use just the regular SMTP. So username password bang. Now sendgrid, there are other tools that are actually specialized in email deliverability, like no email gets lost. And let me take your case, as an example. When we went to the sendgrid dashboard, we could see why it wasn’t sent. So even if the email doesn’t get there, sendgrid itself will show you what the problem is so that you can fix it. So you’ve got some other tools theres Sendgrid, Sending Blue, there is one called Mail Poet. And I’m sure there’s many more, I think even Amazon AWS, they have something called s e s email service. And these are just services, basically, they give you SMTP capability.
It’s kind of like the mailman, right. It’s like a really good mail. My real good man, man, they’re gonna make sure that mailman is gonna make sure all right, your website just had a contact form, let’s get this message. And let’s make sure it goes to the right house, not the drug house this house, the
And let’s make sure you’re not spamming anyone. So if you start doing something, or if your website is hacked, and someone is trying to use it to send mass email, it will get stopped at sendgrid or whatever tool you’re using. And basically, it’s just an IP, like, sorry, it’s just an SMTP service. So you you rented or bought yourself an extra SMTP service. So you’re no longer using your regular SMTP mail from your
Can I ask really quick to where the step before this setting up the SMTP stuff. Do you do it? Can you do that through WordPress for everyone’s reference can do that through a regular server?
You need a plugin? Yeah, you need the plug in. I mean, unless you want to go and code something in the PHP function file, which I don’t advise anyone to touch.
That’s it. I see. Just so just a simple SMTP plugin, because I’ll link this in the show notes.
Yeah, so everybody used to use a plugin called WPSMTP. Before the problem it got it didn’t get hacked, but they had like a security problem. They fixed it already. But in the two or the one day when they had the problem 30,000 sites were infected with malware as a result. So that’s the only reason why I wasn’t recommending WP SMTP I use something else called Postman I think it’s called WP Post. And the reason why I like it is because it It keeps the log for me. So any email message that has gone or that has not gone but was supposed to go? shows on the log and then you can open and figure out why is it not going what’s the problem? It tells you.
And I’ll make sure to link that in the show notes. Yeah, it’s post post SMTP mail or an email log. Now a question for you Amr Can you just use that to go right to the email or do you need sendgrid alongside that or vice one of the other?
So the plugin gives us the option So it gives you the option to choose whether you want to use your G Suite or Gmail to send directly. In that case, you don’t need sendgrid, you’ll be it will be like you using Gmail on Gmail. So WordPress will behave as you like, your website will be you sitting there sending the email, but it will just happen automatically. Or you can use it with sendgrid. And a couple of other services. It doesn’t have all the services there. But it does have Gmail smtp. So if your email is still on your hosting server, and you still didn’t move it,
That’s still the problem.
You can use that SMTP with a plugin as well if you wanted to. And sendgrid and a couple of other services.
Yeah. Beautiful. Beautiful. Yeah, cuz I was curious about that. As far as the options for it to be separate from sendgrid, or alongside it sounds like it kind of depends on what you want to do. Obviously, it’d be good for most everybody with client sites to have a standard Pro, I just always use sendgrid. And then what we would do is we would just set up that website in sendgrid. It kicks out a particular API, we just use the sendgrid plugin for WordPress, which, as we talked about before went live. The only issue was that is it hasn’t been updated for a very long time. But I think he made a good point. I don’t think we were we were alive yet. When you talked about we were not know that sendgrid plugin, even though it’s been outdated for a long time. What did you say it’s basically just a direction
It’s an API connection. So it’s basically something to tell WordPress how to connect to send grid. So in all honesty, doesn’t need a lot of others.
It doesn’t have to,
It just creates a connection. That’s all what it does. It creates a connection and authenticates the user so that sendgrid knows it’s you. And that’s it. But I I was joking about it. I said like, you know what, just go make the title bold and call it version two. Because when you look and you want to download a plugin that hasn’t been updated in two years, it looks bad. Right?
Yeah. So hopefully the sendgrid plugin folks hear this. So that’s, that’s good. So okay, talked about sendgrid talked about the plugin you recommend for smtp. And again, you could use that and have the settings with Gmail or whatever to have it send from there. Or you could use sendgrid along with that, or vice versa. Like right now. I’m not using the SMTP. postman or the mailer log, I’m just using sendgrid. So and it’s working fine. Yeah, got it. We got it working before this call, we’ve worked it out. But I should say, too, if anyone’s curious the issue I had with mine because my email wasn’t down for longer just what I had done was I had kind of pulled up a newbie, a rookie mistake and changed my email, because I wanted to have my messages come from a different email at my website. And that threw everything off that like that must have must have triggered the filters or something to say that Oh, the email chains because then I changed it back. I was like, actually shoot, no, I don’t want to do that. I changed it back. And that’s when they started bouncing.
So we just wanted to sendgrid made sure that the email that they all those messages should be coming to is in fact they can get through and it’s not bouncing. And that was it that’s all I had to do so just there’s another good life lesson don’t change your emails it when it comes like WooCommerce orders and yeah, that’s we’re talking about the from part like this, you know, from Yep, that’s where we say it Yeah. What from Yeah, from so you know, what, what emails is coming from from the website? because like you said, you had WordPress that, you know, human talents ca or whatever? Well, that’s not a real email. You could actually yeah, you could put any email you want there. What’s that? Actually? Wow, talk about a segue. Yeah, one one question I had for you, though, was, what should those email addresses be for outgoing? Is there do a lot of platforms look at emails, like WordPress at website or sales? Or info? Or should it be a name? Like what’s your
I would say for, for combating spam and for making sure that everything is good. It doesn’t matter what the email address is, as long as it’s an actual mailbox.
So that it does receive as well, maybe, because many people do no reply or do not email@example.com. Right, if you want to do that, fine. But do have a mailbox that is called do not firstname.lastname@example.org. It doesn’t look like an email that doesn’t exist that doesn’t receive anything back. And then it will look spammy.
And if it’s a, I still don’t understand why people use do not reply. It’s a very corporatey thing. It’s like and then you get something that says this email box or this mailbox is not monitored, please don’t reply. And it’s like, okay, but what if I do want to contact you? What do I do? Like why is that Why can’t I just click hit respond and type an email to you? What’s wrong with that? Right? So I am not a big fan of the Do Not email@example.com. And I like you know, when I get your newsletter, Josh, or anything that you’re doing, it’s your actual email, like, I can just respond. And in many cases I did. Like, you know, if I, if you like, whatever I read in your newsletter reminded me of something. And I wanted to ask you a question. I would just hit reply. Yeah. So just make sure you’re using the from email address is an actual existing mailbox on your email system. That’s all. That’s great. Call it whatever sales info, whatever you like, as long.
As it’s real, as long as long as it’s real. That’s awesome. That’s great, man. I’m looking at my list of questions and stuff. And I feel like we’ve actually covered pretty much everything. I want to recap, and maybe, oh, yeah,
I want to address the elephant in the room before we go at people thinking that if I move to G Suite that’s too expensive, or too complicated, or, you know, think about because again, like, email isn’t sexy. We said that in the beginning. It’s like, we don’t we use it all the time. It’s very important, but it’s not sexy. And it’s not, you know, colorful, and stuff like that. Yeah. So people don’t think about a lot
Amr, can I? Can I save this for your final thought? Because I had a couple more questions. But I think this might I think this might be like the perfect final thought I wanted I totally meant to ask this earlier. But can we just make the differentiation for everyone between IMAP and pop? Because that’s a big deal. Particularly when it comes to someone moving their email. So somebody might hear this and say, Okay, I’m on my server, I’m sold, I want to move to G Suite or Microsoft. But then here comes the kicker, how do I move my email? I want to make sure I don’t okay stuff. And then a lot of people don’t know, I’m at first pop. So can you explain that.
So pop is Post Office Protocol. It’s like a post office. So what happens, all the email goes to the post office, it stays there in the post office, until you check your email. So again, think real life scenarios, not internet, you’ve got a po box, somewhere a mail comes into your po box, you have a key, you go open, you take your email, and you get away. Now your po box, the pop is empty. There’s nothing there, right? Because you took your mail already. So now your mail is with you. Right, it saved in your Outlook or whatever mail application you’re using on your computer to check your email. But the mailbox is completely empty. So if you’re only using pop, and you’re going to migrate your email from your hosting to Gmail, it makes migration a little bit easier. Because your mailbox is kind of empty, like there’s nothing there are no old messages to move, right?
Or duplicated, right? Or replicated messages.
The problem is, is if you lost that, like if it’s used pop, and then your computer stops working. And you didn’t there’s a little checkbox when you do the setup that says leave messages on server. Yes. Right. So if that’s ticked, your old messages are still on the server that’s good. We can find them and move them for you.
Do you remember, I think it was maybe the first project we collaborated on, I don’t want to say the client’s name or anything. But when we had that big issue because we move their email
and ended up moving message by message, the name of the client but I remember the experience,
This may be this may have been before that one of them had everything with pop. But they didn’t have the backup or they didn’t have it saved elsewhere. And then when we change the email, they lost everything.
Yeah, because there’s nothing there like use pop, you took your mail to your house. Yeah, if you lost it in your house, we can’t get it for you. There’s nothing on the server right there. Like everything, just there are pros, pros and cons. If you want to take leave messages on server, you’re going to run out of storage soon. Because everything even your old mail in your sent messages is on the server. But the beauty of it that it’s like it’s in the cloud, so if your machine stops working, you change your phone or your computer, everything is still on the server.
Yeah, that was with UT Yeah, so like my will transition to iMac here because my email setup with IMF so when I got a new computer last year, yeah, I just set up my new email my new computer. And then once I you know, got to integrate it and had all the settings it was just too good to get to add to it just upload all the emails.
I’m not gonna say it’s better. I mean, I’ve always kind of preferred pop because it keeps the server clean. IMAP by default is Internet Message Access Protocol. So it gives you access to the message so the message doesn’t go anywhere. It arrives in the server, it arrives to the server. So when I send you an email Josh, my email goes to your Mail Server stays there. And then when you use a map, you’re only reading it.
I’m just seeing it yeah yeah. So if
It stays there by default,
When I deleted my email client, it’s still on the server. It’s still or actually no,
Not really? No, I mean, because in the settings, again, there’s a little checkbox that says, empty, like empty trash from the server, too. So if I delete it from here, it deletes it from the server. Yeah, IMAP is actually a little bit faster. Because you’re working straight on the server. It doesn’t go to a post office first then comes to you, you’re actually linked to the server live.
So when you delete stuff it deletes from the server unless you tell it not to. Gotcha.
Yep. I’m just the setup. It’s making everything Everything is it’s like everything is coming full circle. And it’s all becoming clear to me now, when I think about setting up email and what that meant, you know. So that’s, that’s a great differentiation between POP and IMAP. And again, you mentioned there’s, there’s pros and cons I, I like the IMAP version. But yeah, there’s. So there’s a lot of pros to having pop. Yeah,
You have to have ample storage. And, you know, the other thing is that, which is something that I tell my kids not to do, because I think, you know, people who are younger than like 20 years of age now don’t know that. But email protocols, IMAP SMTP and pop, were not made to share large files. They were made originally to share text. And maybe it was a document attachment or a photo attachment. But I’ve seen my kids trying to send a school project, which is a video, they want to send it by email. And of course, it takes three days it stays there.
Yeah, or the client that’s like, yeah, I have 100 images, but I couldn’t send them all the emails, I’m just gonna send you one at a time.
Exactly. And why don’t you just upload this to the
Right use Dropbox,
OneDrive, or Dropbox or whatever? Yeah, and then share the link with me. Yes, yeah, it was not made for that. And this is important for web designers, you will sometimes get clients who want to allow website users to do attachment to send an attachment via the form. While it makes a lot of sense, like I don’t know, if you’re a clinic, and you want people to sign a disclaimer or some things and upload it as part of the questionnaire that they you know, for the new patient intake or whatever you eat, like, okay, it’s a small attachment, it’s a PDF, but don’t think about one person think about 1000 people feeling this was gonna happen now.
It’s interesting, I was thinking back to a lot of my clients who were like, location like business that had locations with several workers there, they were often always pop, because it seemed like that worker would go there to their cubicle. That’s where that email was like they would, I’m sure they had a backup of it or whatever. But that was that seemed to be the case to where it seems like for entrepreneurs, and your average business owner who’s working remotely is probably going to have IMAP, especially if we’re using a lot of different devices. At one point, I was using three all the time. So I just wanted to make sure I could, you know, see the message instead of having a down up
IMAP is beautiful as well, because it’s device. It’s kind of the progress. So let’s say you saw a message on your phone and you read it, right? If you go to a computer, it shows us read or read like it knows the progress, it knows whether you saw it or he didn’t. Pop is a little different. Because once you get it, you get it and it empties the mailbox unless you leave it on server. If you do leave it on server, the next time you open it from another device, it’s unread. Pop doesn’t know. Progress doesn’t know whether he saw it or not. If it’s on the server, it means is going to give it to you again.
Okay. Gotcha. Interesting. Interesting. Yeah. And it really there. There it is. There’s the pros and cons is a little slower, though. Yeah, it was slower. So yeah.
So many messages, it will take take a while, especially if you move like if you change your device, it has to synchronize with the server and then you’re going to be waiting for a couple of hours until it does all your 1000s of messages.
Yeah, that’s a good heads up for anyone who’s setting up email on a new device or something. Well, man, Amr dude, we’ve covered a lot in less than an hour we talked about and I want to get your final thought in here. We talked about what email is kind of a, you know, let’s take a trip back to the late 80s, early 90s. That was kind of fun. What is email deliverability? We talked about the issues with WordPress and what’s going on there. We talked about how important it is to have your email off of your web server and have it on Gmail or Microsoft talked about what VPS is versus VPN spam filters. We talked a little bit about Gmail versus G Suite or Microsoft 360 SMTP, we covered that pretty well, as far as what that is on WordPress and why you need to have you have to have that for message through some good tools, which I’ll list below in the show notes for everyone, I will have those linked, talked a little bit about whitelisting. And what that means and how you can adjust that if you have a lot of messages that go to your spam that you don’t want to go to spam. Talked about the actual email addresses that should be on a form that are coming to you that are like, you know, from WordPress forums to you. And then also having those in a real mailbox and then poppers I’m app. So we covered a lot of good stuff. And just real quick, your recommendation before we get to your final thought, get email off web server and get it to G Suite, Microsoft or Microsoft 360. Is it as a Microsoft 365? Or 360?
Yeah, they called it the remove the word office, it used to be called office 365 or something. But now it became Microsoft 365.
Okay, what was Microsoft 360? Was that something different?
I think it always had the five but I’m not sure. Unless the older version was called 360. And then they added it
It was probably 365. I would build it and fix it later. Yeah. I wouldn’t trust myself to say that, right. So yeah, it must have been Microsoft 365. So loving Microsoft, if anyone heard me say 360. I’m sure it was 365. any case, do that, use an se SMT plugin and will again mentioned the one I’ll link the one that Amr mentioned. Or you could also use sendgrid, which is still what I’m doing. I’m just using sendgrid. And I have all set up in there, you can actually use both or you can use a mix, depending on what you want to do. And then more importantly than anything with that email that is sending from WordPress, to your email to your customers make sure it is a real email with a real inbox. Is there any final recommendations that you I forgot to mention.
One thing that you just reminded me of it now? sendgrid. And it’s only happened with sendgrid? cannot send to the same email that is the from email.
Oh so the idea from Jimbo ? Yeah, yeah,
You won’t get anything. So like it on yours. It comes from hay. And it goes to Josh. It works. But if it was coming from Josh, and going to Josh sendgrid would just discard it. I don’t know why. But like, maybe they see this again as spam.
I could see that. Yeah, it’s going from the same mailbox to another mailbox. It probably looked I mean, practically, that would be weird. If you just think of how I
Set it up on your WordPress. Yeah, don’t put the email where you want to receive the messages as the one from.
Beautiful. Yeah, so don’t Yeah, so if it’s just going to your name at your website, com, don’t make it sin, from your name at your website. com have it come from like, you know, info or, or something? Or I guess you could put anything there as long as it’s a real mailbox, right?
So yeah, email isn’t sexy, isn’t colorful, as old and you know, but all this gold. It’s very important. It’s very important. Specifically, if you have a business, we rely on these emails and notifications. We communicate with our customers and prospect customers all the time, via email, and believe it or not, like even when you meet someone on LinkedIn, once you get to know each other a little bit, usually you exchange emails and you start taking the conversation on email, rather than LinkedIn. So
Email’s coming back! It’s already back! Like it’s already cool! It’s kind of like how mom jeans are in right now. – Josh
Oh, dude, emails coming back. It’s already back. Like it’s already it’s cool. Again, it’s kind of like how you like mom jeans are in right now. I talked about this because just my wife, we’ve been joking about how mom like she’s loving it. She’s loving the mom jeans and like, yeah, it’s like early 90s are coming back, you know, even with email, email used to be so uncool 10 years ago, and then all of a sudden, actually, email is still the most important thing because they’re not there may not always be on Facebook, or they may change platforms, or you don’t even you can’t even for sure reach everybody on your Facebook feed. So yeah, email is back. It’s huge. And I think your final thought you were alluding to earlier Amr was it’s worth the investment, right? Would you say you don’t work for Gmail or something you’re not. And this isn’t like, you’re just you’re just laying it out there.
There are some tricks. Let me give you a quick example, when we say it’s $5 per user, per mailbox per month, right? Or per month, per mailbox per month. You can have an alias. So like, yeah,
I have like six emails, and I’ll go to my main email
You just paying for one mailbox, but then you have five, six different names that feed into that mailbox. And you don’t have to pay per alias. It’s just one mailbox. There’s another one called Zoho that I’ve used so at some point, and I continue to use on some of the websites that are not my main ones. And I think it’s about 20 or $18 for the whole year. And that’s also as good as as as Gmail and Microsoft. They do have a free version, but it has like they add their own. You know Like add at the bottom, you don’t want that. But if you’re using it for testing purpose, for example, just you’re building a website for somebody, you don’t yet have details on what they’re using, whether they have a G Suite or whatever. Just go for a Zoho free one, create a new account and, you know, use it for testing. And then once you figure out what they’re using, you can change your settings on the form.
Or on the website.
On the website. Yeah, yeah. Awesome. error, man. I’m, I’m good. I’m good on email. Now I’m going to I want to do something related after this. This has been great though, man. Man, thank you so much for dishing out the expertise. This will give us a lot of resources to dive into and I might even make a little guide based off of this conversation to help everybody understand what the heck is going on with email. So this has been awesome, man. Thank you so much for your advice and your time today, Amr and man for being the dude, you’re just you’re continuing to crush it. I would just want to remind everyone check a morale. If you have questions with this stuff. He is the guy to turn to. I can say that very confidently after working with the past few years. So, man, thanks so much. For where would you like everybody to go to find you online?
Humantalents.ca it’s one word humantalents.ca. Remember Canadian?
Yeah, yeah. Yeah,
Not California. ca Oh, yeah, of course. California. ca Yeah. It’s warmer. warmer than Vancouver,
Well, we got snow out here right now. Man. We’ve got a pretty good here in Ohio. So yeah. Oh, by the time this comes out, I’ll probably be better at nowadays. Yeah. Yeah. Well, gamer Awesome, man. Thanks so much.
Always good to be here with you, Josh.
Yeah, man, always I would have liked it. Excuse me. I’ll have everything linked in the show notes. I’ll link to your podcast to you’ve got a sweet podcast going on right now. So I’ll link to that again. I saw video show going on. So I’ll link to that as well.
Thank you. Yeah, I do have a tutorial as well that I have shared with the like the club. It explains the DNS like what is a DNS record. And that will actually make people understand a little bit more. How can you have your website somewhere on your email somewhere else? Because it demands on the DNS records.
Can you send us a link so that Yeah, send me the link. I’ll make sure you have that in the show notes as well for everybody. Yeah, cuz I remember seeing that’s a great resource. I didn’t say it. Shame on me. I need to say that. Yeah, send that over. Send it again. Awesome. And we’ll talk soon, man.