Hot Koehls

The more you know, the more you don’t know

This content is a little crusty, having been with me through 3 separate platform changes. Formatting may be rough, and I am slightly less stupid today than when I wrote it.
14 Mar 2008

Hello World, now where's my e-mail?

Having just spent several hours doing some basic setup on a new WordPress blog, I can safely agree with the masses that it is indeed an excellent, well-written program. Even the most tech-inept amongst us would likely have no problem getting the software up and running.

Which is probably why I had a problem, and it had me initially cursing the name of WordPress.

My e-mail server sits on a different box, which means that I need to configure the e-mail functionality of my site to access this server via SMTP. I’ve set up countless PHP-based CMS’s—I contribute to one, and I’m in charge of custom-building another—so I know the first thing you always do is consult the manual, both the official one and Google. Of course, as you can see in these search results, I come up with absolutely nada. There is seemingly nothing in WP documentation about natively configuring the e-mail functions to use a mail server outside of the local box.

Further searching does reveal a hack up solution, which would suffice since I am pretty well-versed in PHPMailer. I also came across two decent plugins; ultimately I decided to go with WP Mail SMTP, as it’s functionality seemed to fit my needs. The plug-n-play style of the plugins system also made this a far better solution than hacking at the core code.

Which brings me to the reason I’m explaining all of this: simple SMTP e-mail configuration should be required in every CMS or CMS-style framework that sends e-mail, and that’s pretty much all of them. Why should users have to traipse across the net looking for a solution to a very common situation? Most hosting packages physically split their hosting and mail services for a menagerie of security and performance reasons.

I’m betting that a lot of WP users have found themselves in the same boat I did, and handled the issue with a plugin or two. But how many users even realized that what they lacked was SMTP configuration options, and instead simply knew that “I can’t send e-mail?” At the very least, WP documentation ought to explicitly lay out the e-mail setup, and point users to the available plugin solutions.

In the end, the plugin functionality came through, and honestly did impress me overall. Plus, during the turmoil, I learned about another great WordPress feature, the kvetch

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