You may find technical issues on live websites can crop up out of the blue. I’ve found that time zone changes, updates to other plugins, server-side changes and bugs can all be leading causes. One of the most frequent victims of this can be your website contact forms. Here’s some of the different ways of troubleshooting contact forms, and why submissions may not be received:
Is it just one form that’s broken, or all of them?
If the issue is only coming from one specific form on your website, it could be that the form isn’t set up correctly. You may want to check that the ‘send to’ and ‘from’ addresses are identical to those being sent elsewhere on the website.
Are they being caught in junk?
The junk folder is an often overlooked place to check when emails aren’t coming through to your email account. When emails land here, you won’t receive a notification of their arrival, so it’s worthwhile checking whether these emails have been caught in your junk folder. If the emails are found to be in your junk, it would be worthwhile to amend your settings to allow emails to come in from that address.
Is a dated plugin handling contact form submissions?
In some cases, it may be that your website is simply using dated tools to manage email flow. Tools that haven’t been updated in years will often fall over with the slightest change in environment. In this case, I would recommend switching to a plugin like Contact Form 7 – one of the most popular contact form submission tools on the web.
Is the email address on the admin account set up correctly?
Has it worked in the past? If so, when did it stop working? In some cases, the email account used for the admin of the website may be set up incorrectly, and this address can sometimes be used as the ‘send from’. If this email address is misspelled or hacked, this could be why emails from the website aren’t coming through to your mailboxes.
Are the emails being sent from the website?
One of the best ways to check whether emails are being sent from the website is to try reset the password of one of your website users. You should receive an email to the associated account when a WordPress password is being requested to be reset. If the email isn’t coming through, it’s likely that emails aren’t being sent from your website, as opposed to a configuration issue of a contact form plugin. In this case, I’d recommend installing WP Mail SMTP and trialling different email configuration setups.
If emails are still not being received, it may be time to switch to a reliable contact form plugin like Contact Form 7. Again, I would recommend checking the junk folders of the email accounts you are attempting to send to, as the previous changes made may have fixed the issue, but are simply being caught by your mailbox rules.
If you are still unable to receive emails from the website, it may be worth putting in a different email address, such as a personal one that won’t be associated with your company’s email junk rules. If an email is coming through from your website to that address, you know that emails are being sent, but are being blocked on an IT level. It would then be worth getting in touch with your IT company to explain the problem.
Your IT company will be able to perform a message trace in a platform like Microsoft Exchange to see where these emails are being caught and can put a whitelist in place to prevent the issue recurring.
Catch any issues early
Regular testing of a website can help ensure this doesn’t happen over a long period of time without anyone realising. You can use your own email address as a recipient to test whether these forms are coming through, and you could set a recurring task to test this integration regularly.
At Engage Web, we offer contact form testing as part of our web design package. If you want to learn more, get in touch with our team today.
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