Configure SendGrid for WordPress

Most WordPress hosts, including WP Engine, limit your website’s email usage because web hosting servers are not optimized for sending email. Email is better served when sent from a specialized email server. This allows you to manage spam, view logs and ensure deliverability.

SendGrid is a popular email relay system that ensures email sent from your website are delivered to your recipients. In this article we will explain how to configure SendGrid and the SendGrid WordPress plugin to help improve email deliverability.

Sign up for a SendGrid account

The first step to configuring SendGrid is to sign up for an account. SendGrid even offers a free plan, making it a great cost-friendly option for websites that don’t send a massive amount of email.

You can see the SendGrid plan offerings from their pricing page.

After entering your information, SendGrid will send you an email asking you to verify your account. Click the button to “Confirm Email Address” within your email to verify your account before moving on to the following steps.

SendGrid Domain Validation

Next you will need to add records to your DNS host to validate with SendGrid.

  1. Login to SendGrid
  2. Select Settings
  3. Click Sender Authentication
  1. On the Sender Authentication page, look to the Domain Authentication settings
  2. Click Get Started in the Authenticate Your Domain box
  1. Select your DNS host from the dropdown menu
  2. Select whether or not you would like to “whitelabel” emails being sent through SendGrid to show your own domain. For the purposes of this article, we selected “no.”
  1. Now enter the domain from which you would like to send emails.
    • Use the preview provided by SendGrid to ensure the email address appears as you would like.
  2. Click Next
  3. SendGrid will now display a list of CNAME records to add to your DNS host
    • Leave this page open for easy reference in the next step.

Add and Verify DNS Records

  1. Ensure you have your SendGrid DNS records from Step 2
  2. Copy the Host and Value entries over to your DNS host
    • There will be multiple records that all need to be added
  1. In our example, the domain in question is hosted at Namecheap, and we were able to add the CNAME records under the “Advanced DNS” section of their dashboard.
    • This process should be similar for any DNS host that your domain is managed by
  1. After you have added the records to your DNS host, switch back to SendGrid and click the Verify
    • SendGrid will then check the DNS records and display a green checkmark if the settings are correct.

Install and Activate SendGrid Plugin

Now that your domain has been verified in SendGrid, it is time to install and configure your WordPress email settings.

  1. Log into the WordPress Admin Dashboard for your website (wp-admin)
  2. Click Plugins from the left-hand navigation
  3. Click Add New at the top of the page
  4. Search “SendGrid”
  5. Install the SendGrid plugin (which is also authored by SendGrid)
  6. Activate the SendGrid plugin immediately after

Enter API Credentials

Now that SendGrid is installed and active on your WordPress website, head back to the SendGrid dashboard.

  1. Select Settings
  2. Click API Keys
  3. Select to create an API key
  4. Set the key permissions to Full Access
  5. Click Create & View
  1. SendGrid will display your API key, it will look like a long randomized string of characters
    • NOTE: For security purposes, SendGrid cannot display the API key to you more than once. Be sure to save your API key in a safe place.
  2. Copy the API key
  3. Navigate back to your WordPress Admin Dashboard (wp-admin)
  4. Select Settings
  5. Click SendGrid
  6. Enter your API key in the box labelled “API Key”
  7. Ensure API is selected in the “Send Mail with” box
  8. Fill in the rest of the settings as desired
  9. Click Update Settings at the bottom of the page to save

Send Test Email

Last, you will need to send a test email to ensure your settings in the SendGrid plugin are working correctly.

  1. Open your WordPress admin dashboard (wp-admin)
  2. Select Settings
  3. Click SendGrid
  4. Scroll to the very bottom to the section labelled “SendGrid Test – Send a test email with these settings”
  5. Fill in the fields to send a test email
  6. Click Send
  1. SendGrid will confirm the email was sent at the top of the page. Check your inbox to ensure you got the message!
    • NOTE: You may want to check your spam folder if you haven’t received the message after a few minutes.

SendGrid has now been successfully configured! Going forward, you can use the SendGrid Dashboard to track email delivery, errors, spam reports, and bounced emails.

NEXT STEP: Learn more about WP Engine’s email policy

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