Is your WordPress Contact Form Working?

This blog post was inspired by an email I received from a new client shortly after we jumped in and fixed her WordPress Contact Form issues:

'Since you got our contact page up and running again yesterday I have received 4 super important emails through it! How many did I miss before your fixed it???'Click To Tweet

Yikes and wow!

So often we set things up on our website and then forget about them.

But here is the thing. Technology changes. Software needs to stay up to date on both your WordPress website and on your Hosting. If one or either gets out of date you become prone to not only hacks but functional issues, like your contact forms breaking.

So what’s a small business owner to do? The answer is fairly simple. Test.

Every time you do an update or if your inbox has been too quiet use your own contact form to send yourself an email.

If it works, you are good to go. If not … well, let’s chat about that

So something is broken.

While this is not an ideal outcome at least you can do something about it.

Here are the steps I take to get WordPress Contact Forms up and running again.

Step 1: Check your spam folder

So often emails get caught up in overzealous spam filters.

If you do discover your emails in there you can skip to Step 4.

Why not call it good you might ask? Well if your emails are getting caught by your spam filter most likely they are being caught by your customer’s as well. Setting up SMTP  is a way to improve the health of your emails in the spam filters eyes.

Alas, if it was not in your spam filter … it’s onto Step 2.

Step 2: Update all WordPress Software

As you may, or may not know, your WordPress website uses 3 different types of software:

  1. WordPress Core (the foundation of WordPress functionality)
  2. Theme (controls how your site looks)
  3. Plugins (add functionality to your website)

We need to ensure each is up to date.

Now, if you have a Website Maintenance & Care Plan with your WordPress Developer then you should be all up to date on this front.

However, if you are maintaining your own WordPress website then doing monthly updates of this software is part of the responsibility of owning a WordPress website.

I know, one more thing for the to-do list.

I suspect that is why I take care of well over 50 WordPress sites for business owners so they don’t have to 😉

WordPress Website Updates Needed

To see what needs updating on your website head over to: https://{insert your website url}/wp-admin/update-core.php

This will give you an overview of the current health of your website.

Note: You’ll want to make sure you make a Backup or use a Staging Site before you start clicking update buttons.

Once you have a backup or Staging Site in place you can go in order down the list updating WordPress, Plugins & Themes as indicated.

Step 3: Update Hosting Software Setting

As I mentioned before, software updates need to occur both on your WordPress Website and on your Hosting.

Now depending on your host, they might take care of that for you. That is one of the reasons I love WP Engine as they take care of this stuff for you.

But if you’re not that lucky and use an alternate host like GoDaddy or BlueHost you’ll need to log into your host and check the PHP settings yourself.

The easiest way I’ve found for non-techy business owners to handle this is to hop on their host’s tech support chat.

As of the writing of this post (February 2019) the question you’ll want to ask is: Is my PHP set to 7.2?  If they answer yes, all is well. If they answer no, ask them to guide you through their system on updating it.

Step 4: Install SMTP eMail Support

I like to use the plugin: Post SMTP Mailer/Email Log.

Post SMTP Mailer and Email Log installation on WordPress website

You can find it and install it by logging into your website and going to: https://{insert your website url}/wp-admin/plugin-install.php.

Once activated you can begin setting things up by going to: https://y{insert your website url}/wp-admin/admin.php?page=postman where you will see a blue “Start the Wizard” button. Click the blue “Start the Wizard” button. This will take you through a step-by-step process to setup SMTP.

steps to install smpt so email forms work
start installing smtp for email

Depending on how you have your email configured, i.e. whether you use Gmail, Yahoo or your Hosting provider, the plugin will ask you for specific details to get you all setup. I use Google Suite for my email.

Once you are done with the setup it’s time to test!

https://{insert your website url}/wp-admin/admin.php?page=postman%2Femail_test

successful email from wordpress website with smtp
check your wordpress email
If all went well you should see a success message!

Head on over to your inbox and ensure you see it there as well.

The great thing about this plugin is that not only does it improve your email delivery, but it also logs every email sent my your website so even if you somehow miss one you have a record.

This is especially helpful if you are using a form plugin like Contact Form 7 which does not store emails on its own.

Step 5: Test

Time to give your WordPress Contact Form another spin … fingers crossed …

I’m hoping it is working and you are feeling a huge sense of relief.

If it’s not it might be time to look at another form solution, personally, I love Gravity Forms, or to reach out to a WordPress Website Developer like myself when can dig even deeper into how your email is set up for your site.

Till next time,

Jocelyn Mozak WordPress Website Developer and Agency Owner in Portland

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