Email receipts and/or notifications are not being sent

If emails in your store are not working reliably, please consult this guide for simple solutions.

First, you need to identify which emails are not working. If it is your email receipts that are not being sent, please confirm that your purchase records are being marked as Complete. Email receipts do not get sent unless purchase records are set to Complete. If your purchase records are not marked as  Complete, refer to the FAQ on resolving Pending payments.

Once you have confirmed it is an email delivery problem and not an issue due to payments being left as Pending, continue reading below.

Testing whether emails are actually being sent

Checking your email account

Before assuming that your website is failing to send emails, it is very important to ensure they are not being sent to your spam or junk folders. Check your email account's spam and junk folders as well as all custom message handling rules you may have configured to verify emails are not just missing your inbox. Attempting to send the emails to additional accounts will help further confirm whether the source of the problem is on the sending or receiving end.

If you do find emails sent by your site in your spam folder, you may want to consider using a third party email delivery service which will improve reliability and deliverability of your messages. Read more below about using a third party to deliver your site's emails.

Checking email blacklists

If emails are actually sending but are not ending up in the recipients' inbox, it is possible that the sending domain has been blacklisted and the messages are being rejected.

To find out if your domain has been blacklisted, enter your domain name into one of these services:

If you do discover that your domain has been blacklisted, you will need to work directly with the blacklist(s) in question to request removal. In some cases, this is as simple as filling out a form on their site. For others the process is a little more complex and time consuming.

Logging sent emails in WordPress

Within your WordPress site it is possible to keep a record of emails which are triggered. This does not conclusively verify that the email was sent successfully but it does mean that the site recognized the requirement to send an email and processed the necessary functions to do so.

Emails sent by Easy Digital Downloads can be optionally logged with the  EDD Message extension. There are also free email logging plugins available on the WordPress plugin directory which are not EDD specific such as WP Mail Logging.

Testing different emails

There are many different emails which can be triggered and sent by your site. An important part of the email troubleshooting process is determining which emails are actually failing. Here's a quick list of different email messages which can be sent by your site and how to test them:

Emails sent by WordPress

  • New user registration - Sent to the email address saved in your site's General Settings when a new user account is registered. 
    • To test: In your dashboard go to Users → Add New and create a user. If you check the box labeled "Send the new user an email about their account." an additional email will be sent to that new user's email address.
  • New comment notification - When non-administrators leave comments on posts or pages on your site, and your Discussion Settings have emails enabled, an email is sent to the site's General Settings email address, with information about the new comment.
    • To test: Go to Settings → Discussion and for "Email me whenever", check both boxes. Then login to your site as any user which is not an administrator and leave a comment on any post.

Emails sent by Easy Digital Downloads

  • Purchase receipts - As soon as a customer completes a successful transaction on your site, Easy Digital Downloads sends them an email with a link to the files they purchased and a summary of their purchase details.
    • To test: Complete a purchase of any product on your site as any user.
  • New sale notifications - Unless new sale notifications are disabled in Downloads →Settings → Emails → New Sale Notifications → Disable Admin Notifications, every newly completed purchase will trigger an email to the addresses set in Downloads → Settings → Emails → New Sale Notifications → New Sale Notification Emails.
    • To test: Check your settings for new sale notifications and make sure they are enabled and that at least one email address is specified as a recipient. Then complete a purchase of any product.

Using a third party for email delivery

Reliable email delivery is incredibly important for eCommerce sites. Unfortunately, non-reliable email delivery is a common problem with cheaper and low-end hosting accounts. See our  detailed blog post on the subject. Depending on your hosting account to manage email delivery is not a good idea, especially as hosting accounts are often affected by a number of limitations:

  • Low sending limits, sometimes less than 250-500 emails per month
  • Slow email processing, resulting in delayed delivery
  • Poor support for modern HTML emails, resulting in frequent delivery failures
  • Overly aggressive spam filters, resulting in emails getting improperly flagged as spam
  • Shared email servers, meaning other accounts with the same company can negatively impact your service

These limitations can frequently result in your emails not working. To resolve the problem, you need to connect your site to a dedicated email delivery service. 

There are a number of services available that you can choose from:

These services will provide you with near 100% email deliverability at an incredibly affordable cost. They also offer a number of other excellent features, including:

  • Open rate reporting
  • Delivery rate reporting
  • Re-send capabilities
  • Better spam protection
  • Reputation monitoring
  • Email authentication
  • 24/7 technical support

Each of these services also offer WordPress plugins available from the  WordPress.org plugins repository that make it exceptionally simple and quick to connect your site to the service.

If you prefer not to use one of these services or have your own SMTP server, there are a number of SMTP plugins options available from the  WordPress.org plugin repository that will route your email through an SMTP server. We do not recommend using a custom SMTP server unless you're comfortable with configuring the server and know what you are doing.

Further Reading