Mar 09, 2021
How to Use Free Google SMTP Server
Aside from using your hosting’s internal SMTP server to send emails, you can try using Google’s SMTP server as it’s reliable and free. In this tutorial, we will show you how to use Google SMTP and how to send emails using the server.
What is SMTP?
Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) is a set of commands that directs the transfer of emails. When you send an email, it will be forwarded from your email client (such as Microsoft Outlook, Gmail, or Mozilla Thunderbird) to the SMTP server. The server will then relay the mail to the recipient’s email server.
The recipient will receive the mail once it’s downloaded from the email server via POP3 or IMAP. There are two types of SMTP servers — internal and external.
Although most hosting providers – like Hostinger offer an internal SMTP server. You can try using an external SMTP server, such as Google’s SMTP server. It provides several benefits that you might want to consider:
- Reliable – Google SMTP server doesn’t use port 25 to avoid spam flagging. Hence, it gives better email deliverability.
- Convenient – you don’t have to set up your own server (if you use VPS).
- Secure – it requires two-factor authentication, and emails will be backed up in Google’s server.
Keep in mind that Google limits outgoing emails to 100/day. Regardless, having 3000 free emails/month is a great deal if your site has low email volumes.
How to Use Google SMTP Server?
In this section, we will show you how to send emails using Google’s SMTP server through a custom domain in Gmail or with a plugin in WordPress.
Before we continue, here is Google’s SMTP details:
- SMTP server: smtp.gmail.com
- SMTP username: Your full Gmail address, such as firstname.lastname@example.org
- SMTP password: Your Gmail password.
- SMTP port: 465 (SSL)/587 (TLS)
- TLS/SSL: Required.
Using a Custom Domain
If you have a custom email address, the process to connect to Google’s SMTP server is simple. But first, make sure that you have an email address with a custom domain and a Gmail address.
Before proceeding, you need to prepare an app password – which will give your custom email address permission to access a Google account. Make sure that you’ve activated the two-factor authentication on the Gmail address beforehand.
Once you’ve obtained the app password, log in to your Gmail account and follow these steps:
- Navigate to the Settings by clicking the “gear icon” in the top right.
- Hit the Accounts tab and click on Add another email address.
- A pop-up window will appear. Fill the required information and press the Next Step button.
- Enter Google’s SMTP server, your Gmail address, and the app password you’ve created earlier in the respected fields.
- A verification email will be sent to your custom email address. Open it and click the confirmation link.
That’s it! Now your custom email address has been linked with Google’s SMTP server. You can also start sending emails from the custom address through Gmail.
Using a WordPress Plugin
- Access your WordPress admin dashboard and go to Plugins -> Add New. Search for the “WP Mail SMTP by WPForms” plugin, then Install Now -> Activate.
- Navigate to WP Mail SMTP from your WordPress dashboard. Click on Settings. Fill in the From Name field and choose Gmail in the Mailer section.
- Don’t forget to check the “Set the return-path to match the From Email” checkbox to get notifications each time there’s a delivery issue.
- Scroll down, and you’ll see the Client ID and Client Secret fields. To fill them, you have to create a web application in your Google account.
- Open a new tab, go to Google API Console, and log in with your Google account.
- Click Create Project, create a Project Name, and hit Create.
- Then, select the API Library on the left side of the dashboard. Search for “Gmail API”.
- Enable the API and click on Create Credentials.
- A “Set up OAuth consent screen” window will appear. Click “Set up consent screen”.
- Pick your User Type. Fill the Application name with your website’s title.
- Go back to the WP Mail SMTP -> Settings on your WordPress dashboard and copy the Authorized redirect URI.
- Go back to APIs & Services page, paste the URL to the Authorized redirect URIs field in the Credentials section. Click Create.
- You will see a pop-up window containing the Client ID and Client Secret. Copy both and paste them to the WP Mail SMTP Settings page under the Gmail section. Don’t forget to press the Save Settings button.
- Press the “Allow plugin to send emails using your Google account” button next to the Authorization section.
- Connect your Gmail account and allow your website to manage it.
- Send a test email to make sure that everything works properly. This can be done in the WP Mail SMTP -> Email Test tab.
If the email is successfully delivered, it will look like this:
An SMTP server is essential in the mail delivery process — it’s responsible for transferring emails from an email client. That’s why using an external SMTP server like Google SMTP is an excellent choice since it provides a free and reliable solution, especially for sites with low mail volumes.
In this article, you’ve learned how to use the Google SMTP server in two ways — through a custom domain and using a WordPress plugin.
Do you have any questions regarding this topic? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!