For years, I’ve had issues with email forms on websites hosted at GoDaddy. Whether I was trying to get a contact form in WordPress to work, or simply forward emails within cPanel, the whole troubleshooting process was just a pain.
The GoDaddy email issue especially pops up when a client switches from GoDaddy email hosting to a 3rd party email host like Google, Zoho, NameCheap, etc.
But GoDaddy’s documentation is straight-up horrible and poking around StackOverflow / Googling developer forums gets old after a while. So here’s a short guide to GoDaddy form email problems that I wish I had several years ago.
There are a few concepts to understand before picking a solution.
1. Your website form does not actually “send” the email.
Instead, the data goes like this –
- User types information into the form
- Form passes data to WordPress (or your CMS)
- WordPress (or your CMS) passes data to your web host via PHP
- Your web host actually transmits the email with its email header information
2. Email Sending & Receiving Is Incredibly Insecure
There is a reason why you generally can’t contact your doctor via email. And there’s a reason why you get so much spam.
Email is inherently insecure. It’s fairly easy to fake the sending and receiving address (aka “spoofing”). Hosting companies and the big email providers spend a ton of money and thought on authenticating email headers. And a lot of this authentication is based on reputation. So, hosting companies don’t want their servers to get a bad reputation for sending spam.
3. GoDaddy has a uniquely bad email problem & a uniquely strict email security solution
Depending on how you count, GoDaddy is the largest single domain registrar and hosting brand in the world. With that kind of scale, they have unique problems with dealing with spam.
However, they have also split from the rest of the industry in creating a security protocol. Their solutions get technical, but they basically block an entire range of ports for sending emails from cPanel / servers in addition to filtering out form emails sent “from” the big email providers like Google, Yahoo!, AOL, etc.
That’s justifiable…except for the fact that GoDaddy is the only host that I’ve used that has these sorts of email issues. They are incredibly strict with their email security – to the point that, well, I have to write guides like this.
So what can you do? I’ve tried hacking around with all sorts of settings – including disabling some website security settings (bad idea). But I’ve generally ended up with 2 go-to fixes for the problem.
Use SMTP Authentication for Forms
SMTP is “simple mail transfer protocol.” It’s the Internet-standard way of authenticating and sending email. The great thing about SMTP is that you can sync it directly with your forms / WordPress / CMS.
So instead of passing the email to your web host to send, you can “send” it directly via whoever handles your email.
In other words, this solution simply cuts your web host out of the equation.
You’ll need to install the plugin and configure your SMTP settings based on your provider. Once installed, it basically replaces the standard WP_Mail function with your email provider. So any submission to your form is like someone sending you an email directly to your inbox.
- You can keep using GoDaddy hosting without dealing with a migration.
- Your forms should all send correctly.
- The process is fairly quick and straightforward.
- It’s still a bit clunky to install just right.
- Any mistake with SMTP settings will create delivery failed notifications.
- It may create conflicts for any plugins that use WP_Mail functionality (ie, uptime alerts, etc).
- You’ll have to maintain & update another plugin.
One of my clients used this solution for more than 4 years without issue. It worked and it made sense at the time.
Now – that last bullet downside finally got us. The SMTP plugin we used was no longer maintained. So with that, combined with other factors, it made sense to move to the longer-term solution.
Switch Hosting Providers
However, they have enough limitations – and even quirks like this – that switching hosting companies is usually the best long-term option.
In the case of one client, I moved his website to InMotion Hosting and haven’t had any email issues since.
I’ve also used InMotion Hosting for this site for quite a while (read their pros/negatives here) – and have since tried out multiple contact forms. Every form from FS Contact Form to Contact Form 7 to my current JetPack contact form has worked well.
Now – it’s still ideal from an email security perspective to use SMTP rather than the default PHP mailer – however, their uniform and well-documented email setup at least allows more flexibility in my email/form setup.
- You get more flexibility with setting up forms & email.
- Your forms will work with the default WordPress setup.
- A move will likely pay off long-term with pricing & more advanced features.
- Migrating your website can be a heavy lift to solve a single issue – depending on how many services you have with GoDaddy.
- You may want to install & work with an SMTP plugin regardless.
Forms & email are a critical part of any business website. Not receiving your emails or form submissions via GoDaddy’s servers is not really an option.
You can solve the problem in the short-term on WordPress with an SMTP plugin.
However, to solve for the long-term, you’ll want to move hosting companies to somewhere like InMotion Hosting or another good business host based on your goals & preferences.