I had problems figuring out how to make the WP Mail SMTP plugin work in my WordPress blog and I almost gave up because most of the people seem to have no issues with it.

Here’s my scenario, I have installed a wordpress blog in a website hosted by Bluehost. The email part of my domain is handled by Gmail. I want to use this email address to send emails to my subscribers as opposed to the default address, xxxx@xxxx.bluehost.com.

If after installing and activating the WP-mail-smtp plugin, you encounter this kind of error when you send a test mail:

string(0) “”
string(0) “”
string(0) “”

The SMTP debugging output is shown below:

SMTP -> ERROR: Failed to connect to server: Connection timed out (110)

this maybe caused by the MX configuration of your webhosting company. I am going to share how I have fixed my problem. This solution is a derivative of WPBeginner’s post about How to Send Email in WordPress using the Gmail SMTP Server.

This is only applicable if your wordpress blog is hosted by Bluehost or Hostmonster.

1. First of all, go to the CPanel of your bluehost account. Click the MX Entry icon under the Mail groupbox.

2. You will be redirected to DNS Zone Editor, find the MX (Mail Exchanger) section.

3. Click the more >> link.

4. Select Remote Mail Exchanger, by default this is set to Automatic Detect Configuration.

5. Go back to the CPanel and under Email Accounts create a new email that is similar to the email address you’d like to use in the wp-mail-smtp plugin.

6. Go the administration page of your WordPress blog.

7. So after installing and activating, go to Installed Plugins -> WP-Mail-SMTP -> Settings.

8. Fill in the From email and the From Name, please refer to the screenshot below.

9. The tricky part is on the SMTP options, you need to set your SMTP host to boxXXXX.bluehost.com where XXXX is the number used for your web. The password that you will use here is the password you used when you created the email account in the CPanel. Please refer to Step 5.

10. Click Save Changes.

11. Send a test mail and hopefully it works! 🙂

To give credit whom it is due: thanks to WPBeginner.com, Marcuswickes for the bluehost tip, and Callum Macdonald for the wonderful plugin.