Three reasons why your website’s contact form may not be working

Posted on October 3, 2018


At Engage Web, we help people who aren’t receiving enough business through their websites. It’s what we really enjoy doing.

Most of our clients already have a website, and often their website is pretty well designed. As there are more web designers now than there have ever been and, with web design being so easy thanks to all of the ‘click and create’ web builders, most people already have a fairly nice looking one. However, most of them don’t work – at least not in terms of providing business.

Before you start spending money on the likes of AdWords, social media or SEO, you should start with your contact form. It could be that you’re not getting business through your website because your contact form isn’t working, or hasn’t been set up correctly. At Engage Web, we test all of our clients’ contact forms every month to ensure they’re working, and that our clients aren’t missing out on enquiries.

Why do we do it every month? It’s because you can stop receiving emails via your website at any time, for a number of different reasons.

With that in mind, here are three reasons your contact form may not be working.

#1 Your Mail Route Settings are incorrect

This one is going to get a little technical, but it’s important to mention as most web designers don’t even understand it. If your email is handled by a different server to the one that hosts your website, you must have your Mail Route Settings set to Remote, rather than Local. If your Mail Route Settings are set to Local, your website’s server will attempt to deliver any enquiries sent through your website’s contact form to an email account within the server, rather than allowing it to leave the server and reach your actual email address.

I did say this was technical! This is something I first discovered around 2002, and is something I’ve seen happen with many web designers since who have literally no idea what’s wrong.

#2 Your domain isn’t Whitelisted

This is a really annoying one, and can happen at any moment. Your website could be sending you enquiries from your contact form without issue for months, or even years, and then suddenly stop working. We’ve seen this happen very recently, in fact.

Email providers, such as Microsoft’s Hotmail, can suddenly decide that your domain isn’t to be trusted and block any emails from your website, even if you’ve been receiving them and replying to them for years. In order to fix this issue, you need to ensure your domain is Whitelisted within your email settings so that it is no longer blocked.

#3 JavaScript clashes

Some contact forms, such as the WordPress Plugin Contact Form 7, use JavaScript to submit the form. There’s nothing wrong with this, so long as the website’s theme doesn’t cause a clash with the JavaScript and cause it to fail. Again, this is something we’ve seen very recently. A website appeared to be working fine, and the contact form ‘appeared’ to be sending, but it wasn’t. Rather than actually sending the email, it was just ‘hanging’, while the processing wheel was spinning forever.

To fix this, the method used to send the form had to be changed so that it didn’t use JavaScript. The problem was caused by the theme of the website, as it clashed with the form.

That’s three reasons why a contact form may not be working. There are hundreds more, and we have to be able to fix every one of them.

If you’re not receiving any emails via your website, and you’d like to know why, we can definitely help you with that.

Technical Director at Engage Web
Darren is Technical Director at Engage Web, as well as being a co-founder of the company. He takes a hands-on approach to SEO and web design, helped by more than 20 years’ experience in these fields.
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