Why do my emails go to the spam folder?

By no means is this post meant to discourage you, it’s meant to empower you with knowledge…. albeit from some 50+ year old plugin developer =)

“Let us rejoice in the truth, wherever we find its lamp burning.”

I  have been getting this question a lot recently. To the point, where it was irritating. When I started writing this post, I was mad… What’s wrong with these people?spam grunge sign They’re running websites! They should now about spam, email and the inner workings of it all.

It took awhile, but I managed to put my ego on hold and realized, I’m old. I grew up on the internet in the early 90’s and lived the spam laws.  Schools today just briefly touch on the subject because nobody wants to hear the negatives when there taking their money and teaching them web designs and developing, and if your self taught, you have no idea until you are confronted with it.

To be totally honest, sometimes I feel like the grinch stealing Christmas when I give people the answer. Especially if you’re a web designer or developer who is trying to make a client happy.

But honesty is the best policy. Right?

So let’s get down to the basic honest truth………….

The spam issue is very complex, and something, in all honesty, will take time, but will never be 100% fixed for you or your client. There is absolutely no way, that you can tell a client that all the emails they send will reach the recipient. No way. No matter what kind of service or plugin you use.

Shameless plug for the pro version of DOIFD & SendGrid for DOIFD

One of the things spam filters do not like is the long verification URL that DOIFD has in the verification email  The pro version gives you the ability to send your emails in HTML format and hides that long URL and will pass most spam  filters.

Sender reputation also plays a huge roll in getting your email into the users inbox. By using Sendgrid for DOIFD, you will be utilizing Sendgrids network to deliver your emails almost guaranteeing you that your emails will make it into your users inbox.

DOIFD is a tool that sends a single email. That’s where it ends for DOIFD and that is why the default message about the spam folder pops up after the user submits the form. I’m one of the few plugins and/or services that keeps it blatantly real. I have done everything that I can, so that the emails programmatically conform to Gmail’s senders guidelines. There is not much more that can be done, and if anyone tells you different, they want your money, and your emails will still end up in the spam folder. The Free and Pro Versions of DOIFD have the same email sending configuration.

So how does an email end up in the spam folder? Once the email leaves the server it begins to transverse the internet. As it does this, it travels through individual ISP’s who have their own set of spam filters, then it travels through the spam filters that each email exchange (Gmail, Outlook etc) have. Then you have to deal with the individual email client’s spam filters. Do you see where I’m going?

But it get’s worse. The majority of wordpress websites are on shared hosting. How many site are on shared hosting? A lot! It just takes one of those sites to get put on a spam list, then all of the sites associated with that IP address are banned and no emails get through. That’s why I tell everyone who is serious, get your own designated IP address for your site. But that doesn’t even solve it. In the last few years 13 out of the 15 ip addresses I obtained for clients were already black listed by AT&T. So I had to go through the process of removing them from the blacklist. Not hard, but takes time.

It’s not an issue that’s just you, it involves everyone, including me. I periodically go through my personal spam folder, because I’ve found that emails that I have signed up for, (For example: WordPress Newsletters, Microsoft, Major Stores, etc) somehow end up going into my spam folder. Although I’ve received them for years, someone changed a setting of a spam filter somewhere along the line, or I accidentally marked the email as spam, so they now go into my spam folder.

I understand that this can be a hard pill to swallow. Especially if you starting out on your own or trying to please a client. But’, its the honest truth.

What am I doing about it? I’ve already released Sendgrid for DOIFD. It has been a tremendous hit and is helping website owners, like your self, to get those emails where they need to be. I’m also currently working on two other plugins for DOIFD that will work with Mandrill & Amazon SES  for the verification email. But just be aware, these service will help tremendously, but still aren’t 100%.

In the mean time, when dealing with the problem of the spam folder, a good place to start is with the with Gmail’s Bulk Senders Guidelines, although DOIFD is not sending emails in bulk there are things you can do on a server level that will help. Just keep in mind, this is just for Gmail. All the others have their own guidelines.


Mailchimp also has a good article explaining Spam.