After years and years of running my own SMTP servers and dealing with all the delivery hassles and quirks, I’ve been very happy to delegate that task to cloud services. We now run our firm’s email through Google’s servers and that works well.
However, when dealing with transactional email coming out of this Web site, I didn’t want to spend the time setting up relays and all the extra details. I just wanted something that would work for a small volume of email. I’d been reading about Mandrill for a while (it’s from the MailChimp people) and I decided to give it a try.
There’s a dedicated Mandrill plugin called WPMandrill that worked fine on my test machine but ran into some compatibility issues here. I turned off all the plugins just to test, and the issues still persisted. As an alternative, I loaded WP Mail SMTP, set it to require authentication, and gave it my email address and Mandrill API key. Worked like a charm.
There’s a limit on something like 400 emails a day, but if I get anywhere close to that, I’ll have a lot of other things to deal with. For now, this seems a workable approach.
UPDATE: I had some reliability problems sending via Mandrill. I switched to SendGrid (using the same WP Mail SMTP plugin) and it seems to work more reliably in my configuration.
UPDATE 2: Still having some difficulties. I’m considering looking into Postmark, Amazon SES, or giving Google a call to see if I can use my Google Apps account. Stay tuned. I’ll post more once I do some more testing. Also, MailPoet has an interesting list of services and sending limits.