First off, we love Gravity Forms. We use it on pretty much all of our website projects, and in my opinion, it’s the best form product that there is for WordPress.
But, sometimes a common error comes up: you don’t (or your client doesn’t) receive form notifications for some reason or another.
That’s obviously a big problem when the forms are the primary way of contact and you/your client may miss out on a lead.
So how do you fix it? I’ve worked through a lot of possible solutions dealing with this issue, and after a lot of searching online and piecing together information, I thought I’d write a post about some things you might want to check out to try and resolve it, including the order that I usually try resolving it in.
If you’re having problems receiving notifications from Gravity Forms, here are some things to try:
Issue 1. Double Check the ‘Send to Email’ Address
Ok, so this one seems obvious, but you never know, so just to get it out of the way, make sure that you have the ‘Send to Email’ notification value being sent to the correct email address.
Issue 2. Sending Notifications ‘From’ and ‘To’ the Same Email Address
The Problem – If you have the ‘from’ email address in the notification defined as the same email address that you’re sending the notification to, then it might not come through correctly.
The Fix – In this instance, you’re sending an email from yourself to yourself, so you’ll want to make sure that the email you have in the ‘from’ field in the notification isn’t the same as the one you’re sending it to. For this, I always use something different, specifically a ‘noreply@’ email address. By default, Gravity Forms will make the ‘from’ field the admin email address, which might be the same as your email address, depending on your setup, so you’ll want to check/change that value.
Issue 3. Spoofing
The Problem – Sometimes, it’s nice when you receive a notification about a form being completed showing that it came from the user by defining the ‘From Email’ value as the email variable that the user has filled out on the form. A lot of hosts will think of this as spoofing though as the email, technically, isn’t coming from that email address.
The Fix – Instead of using the email variable value, change it to an email on your host. You can use something like: noreply@[thewebsiteurl.com]. For this, make sure you use the same URL that the website with the form issue uses as it’s main domain. I’ve had success with both email addresses that actually exist and ones that don’t, so I don’t believe that it actually existing at the host is a requirement.
Issue 4. The wp_mail Function
The Problem – By default, Gravity Forms uses the built in wp_mail function to send the emails. Normally, that isn’t a problem. In fact, it works fine on some hosts, but on others, it doesn’t.
The Fix – The solution here is to replace the wp_mail function and have emails sent from the website use SMTP instead. To do that, you’ll want to login to your hosting account, and actually create a functional email address that you won’t really use for anything else. Something like: firstname.lastname@example.org will work (you could actually use a live email address, but things could get mixed up that way AND you need to include the actual email password, etc in WordPress). Then, you’ll want to install a plugin for the SMTP email function. That will allow emails to be sent by SMTP rather than from wp_mail. I’ve had good results with this plugin. Once you setup the email address, and install/configure the plugin, you should be good to go.
Issue 5. Outgoing Emails Blocked by the Host
The Problem – Has your site been hacked lately or been used as part of a phishing scam? If so, your host may have blocked outgoing emails at the server level.
The Fix – Contact your host and ask them to check if outgoing emails are being blocked. If they are, ask them to unblock them. I’ve found that this isn’t really noticeable as you can still send/receive emails fine via your email client, so it isn’t easy to notice it.
Issue 6. Google Apps/Gmail Marks Notifications as Spam/Junk Mail
The Problem – Are you using Google Apps/Gmail as your main email for notifications to be sent to? Sometimes, the notifications might be sent to your junk/spam folder in Gmail.
The Fix – Whatever the email address is that you’re using in the ‘From’ notification (perhaps it’s email@example.com), you’ll want to create a filter for it in Gmail under ‘Settings’ > ‘Filters’. There, you should create a filter that indicates that any email that is sent ‘from’ (whatever the email is in the ‘From’ field in the notification, is ‘not marked as spam’.
We use a ‘noreply’ email address for our ‘From’ in the notification. So, in Google Apps, I went ahead and created that email address so that it exists. I’m not sure if that step is actually necessary for this to work, but I did it anyways because I think there might be a chance that Google/Gmail will see that ‘From’ email address as being spoofed if it doesn’t exist, but again, I haven’t tested it, so I’m not 100% sure on that.
Did I miss something? Do you have another solution for not receiving notifications from Gravity Forms? Let me know about it so we can make this post for useful for other people having the same frustrating problem.