Your host may have disabled the mail() function.

Did you just encounter the “the email could not be sent. possible reason: your host may have disabled the mail() function” error on your WordPress website?

The WordPress error appears when you are trying to send emails from your website but your hosting server is blocking it due to security concerns. 🛡️

Then we will show you how to remove it so that you can proceed with sending emails from your WordPress website.

📚 In this tutorial, we will dive deep into the cause of the “your host may have disabled the mail() function” error.

Let’s dive into the tutorial! 🪂

Causes of the “your host may have disabled the mail() function” error

Before learning about the causes of the error, let’s try and understand how emails are sent from a WordPress website.

Behind the scenes of emails sent from a WordPress site

Emails are generated on a WordPress site because of actions like registration of a new user, contact form submission, visitor comments left on a post, etc.

By default, WordPress uses your hosting server’s PHP “mail()” function to generate an email message with the specified content, recipient addresses, subject, and other relevant details.

Once the email is generated, it’s passed to the hosting server’s sendmail application which routes the email through appropriate channels to reach the recipient’s email server.

After receiving the email, the recipient’s email server processes it and places it in the recipient’s email inbox.

As you can see, your email has to jump through several hoops to reach the recipient’s inbox. Any obstruction in any of the steps can lead to an error and prevent email deliverability.

Your Host May Have Disabled the Mail() Function.

Real causes of the error

The “your host may have disabled the mail() function” error occurs due to the following reasons:

  • Your hosting server has disabled the PHP “mail()” function (most likely reason)
  • The hosting server firewall is blocking outgoing email messages
  • The sendmail application is not installed or configured properly

Some hosting providers deliberately disable the “mail()” function to prevent websites from sending emails. This is done to protect the hosting server and prevent it from being blacklisted by email servers.

Email servers like Google and Outlook blacklist hundreds of thousands of hosting server IP addresses for carrying out spammy activities.

So if your hosting server considers your emails to be spam, it stops them from being sent out by disabling the “mail()” function.

Apart from this, hosting server firewalls, although important for security, can occasionally create challenges for outgoing emails.

Sometimes the sendmail application is missing from hosting providers or it’s incorrectly configured. This is a relatively uncommon cause for the “the email could not be sent” error because when hostings are not using Sendmail, they use alternative applications.

However, as good hosting providers invest in mantaining well-optimized servers, they are unlikely to have configuration issues. They are committed to maximizing the reliability of their service. That said, mistakes do occur even with the best hosting services out there.

Now that you know what caused the “the email could not be sent” error, let’s fix it. 👨‍🔧

How to fix the “email could not be sent. your host may have disabled the mail() function” issue?

To fix the “email could not be sent” issue, you need to take the following steps:

  • Use an SMTP plugin to configure your site to send emails using a dedicated service instead of PHP mail()
  • Update hosting firewall rules or install “Sendmail”

💡 Note: You don’t need to carry out both the steps. Implement one solution at a time and then try sending out emails. Disabling the mail() function is the most common reason why emails are prevented from going out of a WordPress website, so you might not need to implement the step.

How SMTP plugin works

If your host has disabled the “mail(),” then it’s best to reach out to them and ask to enable the function.

But if seeking help from hosting provider is not convenient, use a WordPress SMTP plugin to send emails from your website and fix the “your host may have disabled the mail() function” error.

SMTP plugins route outgoing emails through a different mail server, bypassing the need for the “mail()” function.

After WordPress generates an email, the SMTP plugin intercepts it instead of relying on the hosting server’s “mail()” function. It takes the email content and sends it to its SMTP server. The SMTP server, which is not your hosting server, processes the email and delivers it to the recipient’s email server.

This process is independent of your hosting server’s “mail()” function.

Let’s set up the SMTP plugin on your WordPress website. 🔌

Install & set up SMTP plugin

⚠️ For this tutorial, we are going to use the WP Mail SMTP plugin plugin.

Install the plugin by going to Plugins → Add New.

installing wp mail smtp plugin.

Of course, you can choose any other SMTP plugin like Post SMTP Mailer, Easy WP SMTP by SendLayer, and Fluent SMTP. The steps you need to take to set these up are almost identical.

As soon as you install the SMTP plugin, it’ll open a setup widget where you can connect the plugin with an email marketing service.

You can also access the setup widget from your dashboard. Go to WP Mail SMTP → General → Primary Connection → Launch Setup Widget.

wp mail smtp wizard.

Select your preferred email marketing service and use the plugin’s official guide to establish a connection between the plugin and the service.

🎯 Our guide on fixing WordPress not sending email also covers this process in more detail.

After establishing the connection, test if WordPress is sending emails by going to WP Mail SMTP → Test Email. If you encounter any issues while testing emails, the plugin requires troubleshooting. You can also seek help from the developers on the WordPress support forum.

Update hosting firewall rules or install “Sendmail”

To update firewall rules or to install Sendmail into your hosting server, you need the help of your hosting provider.

Get on a call, live chat, or send an email to your hosting provider explaining how you encountered the “email could not be sent. your host may have disabled the mail() function” error. Also, tell them how you tried using an SMTP plugin to fix the problem.

Be sure to mention that changing their firewall rules or installing Sendmail could help you send emails from your website. If that’s not possible, then your hosting provider should be able to point you to the proper solution.

How to prevent future WordPress email issues

Fixing the “your host may have disabled the mail() function” error is a time-consuming process. It’s best to take measures that’ll prevent the error from occurring in the future.

🏆 Common email marketing best practices include:

  • Clean your email list regularly
  • Send emails at a consistent cadence
  • Don’t use no-reply “From” names
  • Know how many IP addresses you need
  • Follow GDPR rules
  • Build an email list over time, among other things

Be sure to keep yourself updated with the best email marketing practices. 👈

Conclusion on fixing the error “your host may have disabled the mail() function”🤓

The “the email could not be sent. your host may have disabled the mail() function” error occurs when your WordPress site is trying to send transactional emails.

Although it’s annoying to deal with errors, this particular error is easier to fix because it tells you the possible cause of the error, i.e., “your host may have disabled the mail() function.”

Some hosting providers deliberately disable the mail() function to prevent websites from sending out emails because they think that the site is sending emails to email servers. Hostings block emails to protect their own servers from being blacklisted by email servers.

The best way to fix this issue is to talk to your hosting provider. Alternatively, you can set up an SMTP plugin and a dedicated email sending service to bypass the need to use the PHP mail function.

👉 We also have a guide on how to fix WordPress not sending email, which shows you how to set up a dedicated email sending service.

Do you still have any questions about fixing the “your host may have disabled the mail() function” error? Let us know in the comment below.

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