How to set up your contact form SMTP when using a 3rd party email server

For most small website owners, the email service is hosted by the same provider as the website service. You sign up for hosting, and email service comes as a bonus. But sometimes there is a need to separate these services. Perhaps you need to send more emails than your web host sending policy allows.

Let’s suppose your site is mywebsite.com. After you have pointed your registrar, say godaddy, to send all traffic, which includes web requests and emails, to the new server, you must take a step to tell the new server how to handle the emails. This is easily handled by asking your web service provider to create an “MX record” which will direct emails that are sent to me@mywebsite.com to be handled by the other email provider. You can also do this yourself by using the DNS configuration panel of your host and asking the preferred email host to give you the data you need for the MX record. A complication can arise at the point where you set up your contact page.

When you set up your contact page, your set-up must provide the mail server name and a “From” mail address. You may find that your web service provider will not allow you to specify a mail server that it does not host and it will not allow you to use a “From” email address that does not have the same domain name as your website. This is a spam precaution.

Fortunately, there is an easy solution to this problem. On your new host, create a subdomain email.mywebsite.com. Turn on email for this subdomain and create an email, me@email.mywebsite.com, which forwards to the email you really want to use which is me@mywebsite.com. In your contact form, your “From” address is now me@email.mywebsite.com and your email host is the name of the host for mail.mywebsite.com.

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