Setting up SparkPost for Transactional Mail

We use a transactional mail service as we recommend in this blog. As we recently changed to SparkPost, we’re writing this tutorial to show you how to set up your transactional mail there as well, should you want to.

  1. Create an account at SparkPost. We chose the free plan which allows 100,000 mails per month, with a daily limit of 10,000 mails. There is no queue in the free plan, so if you think you will use more than that, you’ll want to choose a paid plan.
  2. You will need your own domain emails for verification so be sure you have those set up either on your server or with Google or Zoho or something like that.
  3. Choose SMTP and copy down the info you will see as it’s the only time the password will show up.
  4. Click Exit on the bottom right so you can go to the dashboard.
  5. Click Verify your sending domain.
  6. Now you’ll see there are 4 things to verify.
    1. Click the SPF Settings so you can get the info you need in order to set your DNS at your domain host and add the SPF record as the info shows. If hosting with Phpfoxsolutions, you can leave the name blank.
    2. Click the DKIM Settings and add that info to your domain host as well. If hosting with Phpfoxsolutions, the name will be the hostname.
    3. It can take up to 24 hours for the SPF and DKIM to propagate. Once it does, test them at SparkPost. If they don’t work, ask your host for help setting them up.
  7. If you don’t have abuse@yoursite.com or postmaster@yoursite.com , you will want to set these up wherever you have your domain emails. Test after and you should be good to go.

If using phpFox:

  1. Go to AdminCP >> Settings >> Mail in V4 or  in V3AdminCP >> Settings >> Manage Settings >> Mail and choose SMTP. Fill in all of the details.
  2. Fully test your site emails by testing contact us, likes, sending a pm to an email that you can verify the notifications are being received. It can take a few days for the mails to come at a good rate as the account has to fully propagate and your Ip to warm up.

A few things to be aware of.

  • Sparkpost free version has no queue so if you go over their allowance for daily or monthly quota, you will lose those emails. If you think you will use more than their ample 10,000 per day or 100,000 per month quota, it’s best to get a paid account.
  • You need to monitor your bounces and be sure to keep up with that as it is just like any other transactional mail service and your account will be impacted by bounces. If you have users that bounce, go in admincp and change their privacy settings to NO for everything. This will avoid most mails going out. You could also delete that user instead, if you know they are not active and have no content that would be deleted.
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