There are two common reasons why workflow and autoresponder emails might not be sending correctly:
- Your Site needs an address set up to receive test emails (Staging Sites only)
- "From" address does not match DMARC policies (Staging and Live Sites)
This article will explain why these concepts exist and the steps you need to take to get emails flowing again.
Staging Test Emails
On staging environments, all emails are redirected to a single or multiple email addresses (with the email of the user who would have received it- had it not been redirected- in brackets).
This allows you to test without accidentally emailing incomplete features to real customers.
For security reasons, the majority of Email providers will block emails that claim to be sent from one domain, but are actually sent from another. Every email address has a domain it's sent from e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org. The email domain owner may have a DMARC policy which only allows a restricted list of website domains to send emails on their behalf. You can learn more about DMARC policies here.
When you set up Workflow and Autoresponder Emails, there's a field called "From" which is used to define the address sending the email. Recipients of the Workflow and Autoresponder Emails will see this as the email address the message was sent from.
However, not all email addresses will work, as some may belong to a domain which has not allowed your Site to send emails on its behalf.
Example on a live site:
From Address - email@example.com, Email domain: agencydomain.com. Actual website domain the email is sent from: agencydomain.com
Domains match, so this from address should work.
Example on a non-live site (still in production):
From Address - firstname.lastname@example.org, Email domain: agencydomain.com. The Actual website domain the email is sent from: agencydomain.staging.london.platform-os.com
Domains do not match - so the DMARC policy on agencydomain.com may need adjusting to allow agencydomain.staging.london.platform-os.com to send on its behalf.
Spammers love to pretend to be from legitimate sites e.g. a bank or your Client's website. So the DMARC policy on a domain helps protect their brand and customers. If an email is sent from an unknown domain pretending to be authorised to use that email address it is blocked. This is great from the internet and great for your Client, but you may need to update the policy.
The Solution (for staging sites)
If you are not receiving emails during testing, it may be because you haven't set up a test email or the email where you are expecting to receive is not the same as the test email.
Even for staging Sites, using your own or Client's email address as the from address may be against your mail service's DMARC policy. It may also be a good idea to set your "from" addresses to send directly from your Site's development domain. Note- this doesn't even have to be a real address.
From Address - email@example.com Email domain: agencydomain.staging.london.platform-os.com Actual website domain the email is sent from: agencydomain.staging.london.platform-os.com
Alternatively, you can ask the person who manages the Client's email service to allow the Staging Site to send emails on their behalf- but it might be easier to save this job for when your Site goes live and you know which real addresses you wish to use.
The Solution (for live sites without a domain)
One solution here is to do the same as for staging Sites- but be aware the development domain URL will have changed e.g.
From Address - firstname.lastname@example.org Email domain: agencydomain.prod01.london.platform-os.com Actual website domain the email is sent from: agencydomain.prod.london.platform-os.com
Your Client will have a real "from" address they'd like you to use. It's important to remember to switch to this before the Site goes live with a real domain. You could also switch to use this now, but the DMARC policy may need to allow both the development domain (e.g. above) and the real domain the Site will eventually have once it's ready (see below).
The Solution (for live sites with a domain)
This address will likely be based on the same domain as the Site - and you should have no issues.
If you do have issues, you'll need to contact the person who administers the email service that owns the domain of the "from" address, and make sure its DMARC policy allows the Site domain the emails are sending from.