If you utilize Azure as your hosting provider for WordPress, you will need to configure an SMTP service so that your site can send outgoing email.

Why would you need an SMTP service?

Without this service proactively managing your site becomes very reactive and delayed. Enabling SMTP for sending outbound mail is therefore more important than you think, even if you have no visitor functionality that requires email.

WordPress and by association many of its useful plugins utilize email notifications to assist you in managing your site and interactions with visitors to your site. For example, without email configured, you will not get immediate notification that someone has commented on your latest post or you may not get the security alert that someone has been trying to login to your site. If you have a contact form on your website, then you must have email sending configured or you may miss an important time sensitive message from one of your visitors.

You could log onto your site and check your logs and comments periodically but having an email sending service is worth the effort as it will give you the peace of mind that you have not missed anything important.

Configuring SendGrid to send emails from your WordPress site on Azure

To get your WordPress on Azure configured to send outbound email via SendGrid you need to action the following:

  1. Add the SendGrid service to your Azure subscription.
  2. Download an SMTP plugin to assist you in configuring WordPress. In the example below I use WP SendGrid SMTP
  3. Configure the plugin using the credentials from your newly acquired SendGrid service.
  4. Test.

Below is a step by step guide in getting this done.

First we need to add the SendGrid Service to the Azure subscription. You can find SendGrid in the Azure Marketplace. The easiest way to find it is to search for ‘SendGrid Email Delivery’ and clicking on the relevant icon as per the image below.

SendGrid on Azure

 

SendGrid offers up to 25,000 emails per month free which you can verify by reading the description of the service before clicking create. If your site is going to be sending more than 25,000 emails per month, then you will be charged for emails over 25,000. If you are happy to proceed on this basis, click ‘Create’ as per the example below.

SendGrid on Azure

 

The next step is to configure the service. You need to give the service a name, password, select a subscription, configure a resource group and select a pricing tier. See the example I configured below.

SendGrid on Azure

Once all fields have been completed click ‘Create’. Ensure that you have completed the contact information and agreed to the terms and conditions as which are further down the form in this example.

SendGrid on Azure

 

Now that the SendGrid service has been provisioned and configured go to the configurations of the SendGrid service and note the username. You will need this username to configure the plugin on WordPress. The password would have been the one you configured the service when you first created it.

SendGrid on Azure

The next step is to login to your WordPress site as an administrator and navigate to ‘Plugins’ => ‘Add New’ and search for SendGrid. There are a few plugins that offer the same functionality. I personally prefer to use WP SendGrid SMTP. Click ‘Install Now’ to install the plugin and ‘Activate’ once the plugin has been installed.

SendGrid on Azure

Once the installation has been completed click on the ‘SendGrid SMTP’ menu item which would have been added to your left-hand menu. Complete the form with your email address and your Azure SendGrid Credentials. See an example below.

SendGrid on Azure

Finally, test your installation and configuration by sending a test mail.

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