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Confirmation Emails not sending / Messages not loading (partially)

Posted: May 8, 2020 at 11:35 am


PlasmicSteve

May 8, 2020 at 11:35 am

Hello. I’ve just discovered that customers are not receiving confirmation emails for my wife’s business using Event Espresso.

Further, when I try to go into the Messages folder, not only can I not get in (the page never loads) but it temporarily knocks the site offline – both backend and front end do not load for a few minutes.

Five customers asked confirmed that emails are not going into their Inbox or Spam folders.

My wife (the business owner) was able to get into Messages. She’s confirmed that the messages are being sent – and she is receiving copies.

Can you let me know where we can look and what we can do – and why we’re receiving confirmations but the customers are not?

Thank you.


PlasmicSteve

May 8, 2020 at 11:43 am

Also – we’ve confirmed that the setting Messages are Sent on the Same Request is set correctly (on).


PlasmicSteve

May 8, 2020 at 11:44 am

https://imgur.com/a/o9Nn5wx

(screenshot)


Tony

  • Support Staff

May 8, 2020 at 12:47 pm

Hi there,

Event Espresso doesn’t send email itself, it passes the emails over to wp_mail() to do whatever your server is set up to do to send email. If they show in Event Espresso -> Messages as sent (a green status bar to the left) then it means EE passed the email to wp_mail() and it didn’t return false (meaning no errors were thrown). After that point, EE has no control over the emails but if users arent’ receiving them it usually means they’ve been flagged as spam and simply dropped from the mailserver (rather than sitting in a spam folder).

So, let’s start by getting your Event Espresso -> Message table working.

When it does load, how many message does it load on a single page?

If you can load the page at all, look at the top right of the page for ‘screen options’, click that.

You should see ‘Message Activity’ and a number, what is that value?

Like this – https://monosnap.com/file/r55TzJf7SK94PGPQTKzJd4J14uVu6y

It sounds like that may have been set to a high value, so then loading the message activity is putting high load on the server.

Also – we’ve confirmed that the setting Messages are Sent on the Same Request is set correctly (on).

That basically just tells EE not to use our ‘queue system’ for the emails, the emails are triggered and sent on the same request (the users request).

For now it doesn’t mean much, but we’ll come back to this shortly if needed.


PlasmicSteve

May 9, 2020 at 5:13 am

Thanks for the feedback. I was able to get into Messages this morning. It took about a minute for the page to load (any other backend or front end page on the site loads in a few seconds).

Here’s a screenshot. It’s only loading 20 messages per page so I don’t know why it’s taking so long. Screenshot below:

https://imgur.com/a/bCUJybZ

It looks like the messages are attempting to be sent since they’re all green – correct? If so, can you advise on next steps even if it’s beyond EE? We do use email services from our previous host while the website is hosted by another company. Again, we’re getting the confirmation emails.

Please let me know what you advise. Thanks.


Tony

  • Support Staff

May 9, 2020 at 3:26 pm

It looks like the messages are attempting to be sent since they’re all green – correct?

Not attempting to send, they are sent. Or at least, they’ve been sent to wp_mail() and that returned no errors, meaning as far as EE is concerned its sent.

If so, can you advise on next steps even if it’s beyond EE? We do use email services from our previous host while the website is hosted by another company.

How are you sending the emails on your site to your previous host? Using a plugin such as WP SMTP?

Again, we’re getting the confirmation emails.

Are they within the same domain? Such as from ‘admin@domain.com’ to ‘admin@domain.com’?


PlasmicSteve

May 11, 2020 at 6:28 am

Okay, I understand.

Also to point out, this was like a switch being flipped. For one event two weeks ago, 60 registrations, there were no complaints and everyone seemed to get the confirmation email (and this is the way it’s been for the past few years, hundreds of events – except for one other time more than a year ago when we had a similar issue and found out the email had been blacklisted temporarily for spam being sent from our contact form, which we corrected). For the next event last week, no one got it. So it seems like something other than spam/emails being dropped.

No, emails are being sent from info@domain.com and our own confirmations are being sent to and received from my wife’s address, sharon@domain.com

We used to use WP SMTP but apparently I de-activated that plugin a year or so ago. I don’t remember why, or even what it does. I also had a plugin logging outgoing emails. This may have been from the time when we had the spam/blacklist issue. Would re-activating WP SMTP help and if so, can you explain what it does and how it would help?

Please let me know what I can do. Next step, I assume, is checking either with our current host or with our previous host/current email provider.

Thanks.


Tony

  • Support Staff

May 11, 2020 at 7:52 am

So it seems like something other than spam/emails being dropped.

That’s actually exactly what would happen if the mail server was blacklisted or emails from your domain started to trigger a spam rules. Your own email host isn’t going to block your own domain emails.

No, emails are being sent from info@domain.com and our own confirmations are being sent to and received from my wife’s address, sharon@domain.com

Ok, but is domain.com the same in both those instances?

If your sending emails to yourself, whatever is receiving those emails will know your domain and is unlikely to block them unless you set the to spam which may explain why you (the admins) receive the emails but not anyone else.

We used to use WP SMTP but apparently I de-activated that plugin a year or so ago. I don’t remember why, or even what it does. I also had a plugin logging outgoing emails. This may have been from the time when we had the spam/blacklist issue. Would re-activating WP SMTP help and if so, can you explain what it does and how it would help?

It will likely help to explain a little bit about how email sends but I’d simply be repeating what an article like this one is:

https://www.wpbeginner.com/wp-tutorials/how-to-fix-wordpress-not-sending-email-issue/

Your current web host, can send email and basically pretend to be whoever you set to send the email from. It sends from the server and gets to my mail server which does some checking (there are many different checks it can do and it depends how your mail is set up) to confirm that email is legit. Let’s say my email is tony@email.com and hosted within Gmail, your mail arrives from info@domain.com and email checks who is actually allowed to send emails from domain.com (how it does that is important, but doesn’t change the explanation so I’ll leave it out for now) and identifies that your web host is NOT on that list. That email is dropped or possible, flagged as spam and allowed into your spam box (it depends on the server config and how ‘spammy’ your email is).

That means that your web host can pretend to be whatever domain it wants to be and send email to whoever, but that doesn’t mean that email will actually make it through.

Plugins like WP SMTP allow you to connect to whatever mail server you set it up to do using your credentials. Instead of your emails going from your web host directly, your web host passes the email to your mail server and that sends the email for you (which should hopefully be correctly configured to send the email). As you need credentials to authenticate with your mail server, it’s likely that email was legit and will send from the mail server, Gmail does the same above checks it did previously and finds that that particular mail server is allowed to send emails on your domains behalf. Now you have valid emails again.

Make sense?

Please let me know what I can do. Next step, I assume, is checking either with our current host or with our previous host/current email provider.

What I would do, is activate WP SMTP and use that to connect to your email provider using the credentials from them, then check if that fixes the problem. Right now everything on your web server (including Event Espresso) appears to be sending emails as expected, but if your current host doesn’t have permission to send email on your behalf, you’ll get the exact issues you’ve mentioned above.


PlasmicSteve

May 11, 2020 at 11:36 am

Yes, the domain is the same in both instances. Which explains why it’s getting through to her but not to the customers, assuming it’s a blacklisting issue.

That explanation helps clarify things. I’ll be setting up WP SMTP in the next day and seeing if that helps. Thanks Tony. I’ll report back as soon as I’m able – most likely tomorrow. Much appreciated.


PlasmicSteve

May 12, 2020 at 4:33 am

I’ve checked our domain on three trusted “is my email/domain blacklisted” site and it’s come up clear every time. I’ve also emailed to the info@domain.com address from a non-domain email and gets through immediately. I’m hoping this confirms that it’s not the email itself but its connection with WordPress that’s the issue.

I did re-activate and configure WP SMTP yesterday, but I don’t yet know if it’s working. Aside from contacting customers or filling out a registration myself, which I’d like to avoid, is there any way to use EE to send a test message through Messages? I looked but I couldn’t find one. Please let me know.


Tony

  • Support Staff

May 12, 2020 at 4:44 am

I’ve checked our domain on three trusted “is my email/domain blacklisted” site and it’s come up clear every time.

May I ask, how you tested this?

is there any way to use EE to send a test message through Messages?

Sure, go to Event Espresso -> Messages -> Default Message Templates.

Go to a message type, say ‘Registration Approved’ and click on ‘Edit Registrant’.

On the right, in the sidebar you’ll see ‘Send a test email to *’.

Add an email address to send a test to and click Test send, EE will generate an email with dummy content and send.

If you create a test event I can register onto I can run some tests on that with a free ticket. You can set the event to be password protected and post the password here so I can register, that will prevent your visitors from registering onto it.


PlasmicSteve

May 12, 2020 at 6:22 am

I used this site plus two others, entered my domain and it came up clear:
https://www.ultratools.com/tools/spamDBLookup

Thanks for the help – I sent a test email to myself about twenty minutes ago but it hasn’t come through yet so that doesn’t seem to have worked.

I created a test event for you. Password is: eventespresso
https://sugarplumstudio.com/events/test

Let me know what you find out. Thank you Tony.


Tony

  • Support Staff

May 12, 2020 at 6:45 am

I used this site plus two others, entered my domain and it came up clear:
https://www.ultratools.com/tools/spamDBLookup

Unfortunately, you’re not testing the same issue.

You remember those checks I mentioned earlier about servers sending mail on your domains behalf, the above test doesn’t check that, it simply checks your domain.

So you’re checking your domain hasn’t been blacklisted but that doesn’t mean the mail sent from your web host is authorized to send.

I can’t be 100% sure that is the issue but you mentioned your mail host is separate from your web host and from the above your sending mail from your web host, that mail then isn’t received and that a common problem. Its gets trickier when plaintext emails work but HTML emails (like EE’s) don’t work as it looks like it should be working but doesn’t, it all depends on the server setup.

Who host’s your mail now? (You can mark your reply private if preferred)

When you set up WP SMTP you specifically used the default for that provider, correct? (Just checking)

Thank you for the test event, I’ve registered to test on there but your thank you page is looking a little… bare.

Have you removed the [ESPRESSO_THANK_YOU] shortcode from this page:

https://sugarplumstudio.com/thank-you/

Can you see my email listed in Event Espresso -> Messages.

I can give you the recommendation we usually give for email deliverability issues which is to switch to using a transactional email service like the ones listed here:

https://eventespresso.com/wiki/postmark-app-mandrill-transactional-email-handling-services/

Some have free tiers depending on email volume and you’ll have some setup to do to allow mail to be sent from those servers but switching to the above fixes 99% of email issue we see like this (the services recommended rely on functioning email with high deliverability).


PlasmicSteve

May 12, 2020 at 7:06 am

Okay, thanks for explaining about the blacklisting check not being accurate. I understand.

I haven’t seen that Thank You page for a long time. I’m not sure what happened – I will look into it and add the default additional text/shortcodes back in.

I do see your message having been sent (or attempted to).

Our previous host was GoDaddy. Current host is Bluehost. We kept email with GoDaddy when we switched hosts because we use outlook and GoDaddy said it’s no simple task to “switch” emails to Bluehost as we were hoping. They said they’d have to send a de-authorization request to Microsoft, which would take days or maybe 2 weeks – then we’d have to set up email again with Bluehost. They said the process was slow and unreliable – they or we would have to manually to see when the de-authorization happened and we wouldn’t have email services during that process, so we’d be losing emails. We couldn’t have that happen which is why we stayed with GoDaddy for email.

The last thing I want to do is change email services. The current system has been working for over a year now and I want to do everything I can to make it work again without changing email services.

When I re-activated WP SMTP I used the same settings I had when it was last activated, which is:

from email: info@sugarplumstudio.com

(force from email is NOT checked)

from name: Sugarplum Studio

(force from name is NOT checked)

return path: Set the return-path to match the From Email (this is checked)

Mailer is set to PHP (Default – none) – but I now see the other options you suggested: SMTP (which says Recommended), Pepipost (which also says recommended), sendinblue, Mailgun, SendGrid, Amazon SES, Gmail, Outlook, Other SMTP

Should I try selecting one of those? SMTP?


Tony

  • Support Staff

May 12, 2020 at 7:26 am

Our previous host was GoDaddy. Current host is Bluehost. We kept email with GoDaddy when we switched hosts because we use outlook and GoDaddy said it’s no simple task to “switch” emails to Bluehost as we were hoping. They said they’d have to send a de-authorization request to Microsoft, which would take days or maybe 2 weeks – then we’d have to set up email again with Bluehost. They said the process was slow and unreliable – they or we would have to manually to see when the de-authorization happened and we wouldn’t have email services during that process, so we’d be losing emails. We couldn’t have that happen which is why we stayed with GoDaddy for email.

Outlook is its own beast but I’d be surprised if that was really the only option, wait up to 2 weeks for de-authorization and then re-authorize another provider seems very old school.

I assume you contacted Bluehost and they confirmed the above?

Mailer is set to PHP (Default – none)

Using this option is pretty much the same as not using the WP SMTP plugin, with the exception of it allowing you to set the specific options above it.

WP SMTP has its own outlook integration which I would normally recommend you use but you could try using the SMTP option and manually provide the details:

https://www.saleshandy.com/smtp/outlook-smtp-settings/

Tbh, it sounds like your email setup is a mess and your stuck in the middle of it.


PlasmicSteve

May 12, 2020 at 2:44 pm

No, I haven’t checked with BlueHost about PHP being the default. That’s just what WP SMTP defaulted to when I re-activated it – the plugin is calling PHP the default – not me. In fact it says “Default (none) – PHP”

Thanks for the info and link to the Outlook information. I can’t get to it today but I’ll look into it early tomorrow and will give it a shot, and I’ll post an update here. Thanks again, Tony.


Tony

  • Support Staff

May 12, 2020 at 4:28 pm

No, I haven’t checked with BlueHost about PHP being the default. That’s just what WP SMTP defaulted to when I re-activated it – the plugin is calling PHP the default – not me. In fact it says “Default (none) – PHP”

Sorry, I didn’t mean with regards to WP SMTP but how GoDaddy said it would take up to 2 weeks and you would need to wait until that was finished before BlueHost could take over the email service.


PlasmicSteve

May 22, 2020 at 4:19 am

Delayed update: I did nothing more than I mentioned above – never moved WP STMP from PHP to SMTP, and the issue resolved itself a week later. All customers we’ve talked to are now getting the confirmation emails again for several events, and I’m getting the test messages as well.

I’ll keep an eye on it. Thanks for your help, Tony.

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