Configure Gmail as a WordPress email server

Configure Gmail as WordPress SMTP

Gmail is a popular choice for an email server, thanks to its extensive features, high deliverability rates, and strong security measures. By configuring Gmail as your WordPress email server, you can:

  1. Leverage Google’s reliable infrastructure to ensure smooth email delivery
  2. Minimize the risk of your emails being marked as spam
  3. Take advantage of Gmail’s built-in security features, such as SSL/TLS encryption
  4. Manage your website’s email communication from a familiar and user-friendly interface


Requirements for configuring Gmail as a WordPress email server

Before you can configure Gmail as your WordPress email server, you need to ensure that you have the following:

  1. A WordPress website up and running
  2. Administrator access to your WordPress dashboard
  3. A Gmail or Google Workspace account with valid credentials

Choose an authentication mode to Gmail

You can connect to Gmail using one of two approaches:

  1. OAuth 2.0: More secure but tedious.
  2. App passwords: Quick but less secure.

Note that your Google Workspace administrator may restrict your options. If you use two-factor authentication or if your IT department has disabled “Access for less secure apps,” you can only use OAuth 2.0.

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How to choose an authentication mode to Gmail

Check out our article How to decide between OAuth and App Passwords on Gmail to decide between the two authentication modes.


Step 1: Set up a Gmail account for SMTP or OAuth

To set up your Gmail account follow the steps in the respective column:

If you chose OAuth 2.0If you chose SMTP
Follow the instructions at How to get a set of OAuth 2.0 Credentials on Google.

The credentials you’ll need for later are: your Client ID and a Client Secret.
Follow the instructions at How to set up App Passwords in Gmail to enable SMTP access to your Gmail account.

The credentials you’ll need for later are: your Gmail username and your App password.

Step 2: Install a mailer plugin

To set up a mailer plugin follow the steps in the respective column:

OAuth 2.0SMTP
Install Gmail SMTP, a mailer plugin which focuses on accessing Gmail via OAuth 2.0 authentication.Install SMTP Mailer, a simple plugin with unique troubleshooting features.

Step 3: Configure the mailer plugin

OAuth 2.0SMTP
Follow the configuring Gmail SMTP guide. Send a test mail from within the mailer.Follow the configuring SMTP Mailer guide. Send a test mail from within the mailer.

Step 4: Test the Gmail SMTP email configuration

  1. Most SMTP plugins provide a built-in email testing feature. Navigate to the “Email Test” or similar section in your plugin settings.
  2. Enter a recipient email address and click “Send Test Email” or a similar button.
  3. Check the recipient inbox for the test email. If it’s received successfully, your Gmail SMTP configuration is complete and working correctly.

Troubleshooting common issues

Email delivery failures and possible solutions

  1. Check your SMTP settings: Verify that your SMTP settings (host, port, encryption) or OAuth settings are correct and match Gmail’s recommended settings.
  2. Examine the “From” address: Ensure the “From” email address is a valid Gmail address associated with your account.
  3. Update the plugin: Make sure you are using the latest version of your mailer plugin.
  4. Inspect email content: Avoid using spam-triggering words, phrases, or excessive links in your email content.
  5. Monitor email sending limits: Gmail imposes daily sending limits, so be mindful not to exceed them.

Authentication errors and how to resolve them

  1. Verify the password: Double-check the app password you entered in the plugin settings.
  2. Set up App pwsswords (for SMTP only): Ensure that you have enabled “Less secure apps” in your Gmail account settings.
  3. Enable “Two-step verification”: If you are using an app password, make sure you have enabled “Two-step verification” for your Gmail account.

Dealing with API quota limitations

  1. Monitor API usage: Regularly check your API usage in the Google Cloud Console to ensure you are not exceeding the allowed quota.
  2. Request a quota increase: If your website requires a higher email sending volume, you can request a quota increase in the Google Cloud Console.
  3. Optimize email sending: Reduce the number of unnecessary emails sent by your website, and consider using third-party services like Mailchimp or SendGrid for bulk email sending.


Configuring Gmail as your WordPress email server can significantly improve the reliability and security of your website’s email communication. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can easily set up Gmail SMTP or OAuth for your WordPress site.

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