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Changes to contact forms and the emails they send

We’ve had to make a few changes in how the websites we manage deal with forms filled in by visitors – you may have noticed it already (as several of our eagle-eyed clients already have!)

The purpose of this post is to explain the change.

The change is in the emails that you receive when someone fills in a contact form on your website.

Now they will appear to come from ‘WordPress’ (wordpress@your-website.co.uk), but if you reply, you will reply directly to the person who filled in the form.

What difference does it make to me?

None. Just reply to the email from the contact form as normal and it will be sent to the person who filled in the form.

If it doesn’t, for example if the email comes back to you, then please open a support ticket and we’ll look into it.

This is all you need to know, but just in case you’re curious, here’s the full explanation:

Why the change?

email photoThe change was brought about about an update to the plugin we use (on most sites) for contact forms. The update forced tougher standards on how contact forms were configured, and broadly that’s a good idea.

In short, it to improves ‘deliverability’ of your contact form emails – basically making it less likely to be be marked as spam and more likely to reach you.

Spam is so common these days that a lot  of email is silently rejected without the recipient ever knowing. Only a fraction of it will end up in your junk mail folder.

It’s a precautionary measure

This is a good point to stress we had no evidence of form emails going missing, but it’s likely to become a problem if we don’t address it soon.

The danger was that over time genuine enquiries via website forms could disappear because the forms were not configured for today’s rules. So we had to act.

And the longer reason why?

Email spammers are the scourge of the internet, and email providers are changing the rules to keep up.

In recent months we’ve noticed more complaints of ordinary email being rejected as spam, and our SiteGround-hosted clients all have extra authentication added to their emails to counter this.

A lot of email spam is generated by websites but ‘spoofed’ to make it look like it’s coming from somewhere else.

And now this is affecting contact forms – each form generated email must now appear to come from an email address that corresponds with the website’s domain name.

So an email generated by form filled in on moghill.co.uk is less likely to be rejected if it appears to come from an email address at moghill.co.uk .

So why the change again?

For the sake of convenience, many of our sites were set up so that email generated from a contact form appeared to have generated by the email address of the person filling in the form.

Therefore, replying to the message replies to the sender.

But under tightening rules, emails generated this way look like spam, and are less likely to be delivered.

So the solution was to change the originating email address, but send replies to the person who filled in the form.

If you have a website with us, we’re making this change as part of our maintenance and management plan.

We’re currently working our way through everyone’s site to make these changes.

In the meantime if you spot any problem with your website form, please open a support ticket and we’ll investigate.

A further explanation appears here: Contact Form 7 Configuration issues

Photo by Sean MacEntee