If you’re running WordPress as your content management system, the system is typically configured to push email messages (like system messages, password reminders, etc.) through your host. However, this isn’t an advisable solution for a couple of reasons:
- Some hosts actually block the ability to send outbound emails from the server so that they’re not a target for hackers to add malware that sends emails.
- The email that comes from your server typically isn’t authenticated and validated through email deliverability authentication methods like SPF or DKIM. That means these emails may just be routed directly to the junk folder.
- You don’t have a record of all the outbound emails that are pushed from your server. By sending them via your Microsoft 365, Live, Outlook, or Hotmail account, you will have all of them in your sent folder – so you can review what messages your site is sending.
The solution, of course, is to install an SMTP plugin that sends your email out of your Microsoft account instead of just being pushed from your server. Additionally, I’d recommend that you set up a separate Microsoft user account just for these communications. This way, you don’t have to worry about password resets that will disable the ability to send.
Easy WP SMTP WordPress Plugin
In our list of the best WordPress plugins, we list the Easy WP SMTP plugin as a solution for connecting your WordPress site to an SMTP server to authenticate and send outgoing emails. It’s simple to use and even includes its own test tab for sending an email!
The settings for Microsoft are pretty simple:
- SMTP: smtp.office365.com
- Requires SSL: Yes
- Requires TLS: Yes
- Requires Authentication: Yes
- Port for SSL: 587
Here’s how it looks for one of my clients, Royal Spa (I’m not displaying the fields for username and password):
Send a Test Email WIth The Easy WP SMTP Plugin
Paste the generated password Easy WP SMTP and it will authenticate properly. Test an email, and you’ll see that it’s sent:
Now you can log in to your Microsoft account, go to the Sent folder, and see that your message was sent!