Email Troubleshooting

"A customer ordered something or tried to contact me but I did not receive any emails!"

This article will help to troubleshoot and hopefully solve this issue, as well as offer strategies to help prevent this problem from happening again.

Some Context

If you're here, I know you're probably frustrated but first let's get this out of the way: There is nothing wrong or broken with our server or website software. I have nearly 250 clients (including two of my own websites on the WideRange platform which I use daily) so I would know almost immediately if the email functionalities were broken.

Email deliverability is a complex issue because there are many factors out of my control, mainly involving your email provider and how they handle or filter incoming emails. Our websites and server ARE sending these emails out, but for various reasons they sometimes get blocked or junked by your email provider.

Troubleshooting

1) Check your junk mail folder. 99% of the time this is the issue - for whatever reason your email provider has mistakenly marked these emails as spam and has filtered them into your junk mail folder. Sometimes, though, email providers will bounce the emails before they even get to the junk folder *.

* When this happens with print orders, you’d still be able to see the order details in the Print Sales list in your admin, but unfortunately that doesn’t show non-print products like workshops. (I plan on adding this feature to the admin). If you need to find the customer details for an order that's not showing up the Sales list, please email me with as much info as you can (customer name, if known, product ordered, and approximate time of order) and I will see if I can look up the order details for you.

2) If you are using a Remote SMTP connection for your website emails, ensure that your configuration settings and password are correct. Have you updated your email account password recently? Then you'll need to update the Remote SMTP password accordingly.

3) Try submitting a test order to see if you receive the order email. See below for directions about this.

Prevention

1) Configure and use Remote SMTP for your website emails. If you use a business/domain email account (like "you@yourwebsite.com") you can improve your email deliverability by setting up a Remote SMTP connection so that all the website emails are sent by your actual email account rather than the default WideRange mailserver. You can find directions and do this in the admin at Settings > Emails.

2) Set up Inbox Rules or Whitelisting in your email account and mail app to tell them to explicitly allow all emails from your website. Most email accounts have these settings, though the name might be different, such as "Incoming Rules", "Inbox Filtering", "Whitelisting", etc. The way this works is that you find a common characteristic of these emails, such as the "from" address or the "subject" line, then you set up an inbox rule that says that ALL emails that match this should be delivered to the inbox.

Note that inbox rules can and should be configured both directly in your email provider account and also in your email application if you use one (like Mac Mail or Outlook).

3) NEVER mark any website emails as spam, even if they are! Our contact pages often send us spam through the form there, but you should never mark these as spam. Why? Because by doing so you're training your email account to mark ALL emails coming from the website as spam, even legitimate ones.

If you are getting too much spam from the website contact form, you should configure and activate the reCAPTCHA spam prevention form, which blocks the majority of these spam messages (though some still get through). You can find directions in the admin at Settings > Contact (scroll down).

Testing

The simplest way to test website email deliverability is to send yourself a message through the contact page on your website. If you are using Remote SMTP, the email you receive should your email address as the "From" email address (not the From name but the actual email address). If the Remote SMTP is not set up correctly the "From" email address will be "contact@widerangegalleries.com".

It's also possible to test order emails without submitting a payment. To do this, please follow these directions:

  1. Add a set-amount discount code in your admin.
    • Go to Products > Discounts.
    • Enter a discount code, such as TESTING or whatever you want.
    • Choose the option for the discount to be a "Set Amount" (not Percentage).
    • Enter a large Discount Amount number, like $9000 or whatever will cover the entire cost of a test purchase.
    • Make sure the discount applies to all products and all photos.
    • Save.
  2. Now go to your website and add any product(s) to the cart.
  3. Go to the cart and enter and apply your discount code.
  4. Since your discount code will cover the entire cart amount, you will proceed through a "no-pay" checkout (rather than the normal Stripe or PayPal checkouts).
  5. If possible you should enter a customer email address that's different from the website email address you use (maybe a personal or alternate email address you may have).
  6. Submit the order.
  7. You should receive two order confirmation emails: once for you as the customer, and a duplicate one for you as the owner.

Help

If you have tried all of this and still are unable to find your missing emails or receive emails from the website, please contact me and I can try to help troubleshoot further. However, please understand that I can't help much if you haven't tried the suggestions and testing listed here first.

Thank you,
Jack