email from programs rev 24 September 2013 ➽ back to dir Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF

Mail user says:
Q. I have an email account on the hosting server. Why doesn't my email
  get received by someone else also on the server?

Programmer says:
Q. I have a form on my website. Why doesn't email from the form get received?

Website owner says:
Q. We are making forms on my website. Why does the programmer keep testing
      the forms over and over? And pushes us to respond every time?

Good questions! I will try to answer ...
 Website owner says:
 I am positive this email address will work — we use it every day!

 Programmer says:
 As technical person, the only way i am positive something will work is:
    When it works. 
 And even then, as a technical person, i only know:
    It worked that one time. I never depend that it will always work!

 Yes this email address (and the other office addresses) can send and 
 receive email, normally. But ...

 email from forms is not a normal way.
 Form email is coming from a program. And this program is inside a server. 
    * It may be sent, but never get out of the server. 
    * Or the receiving email program may reject it!
    * It may not even get sent at all. 

 1) Inside the server may not see the information ("dns record") 
    of where the domain of the email is located.
    Example: the office mail might be at google mail - then 
    there is a dns record somewhere, telling that to the world. 
    But mail from *inside* the server may not be able to see 
    that dns record. Here's why.

 2) Form email is technically "spam" - the receiving mail program
    (such as gmail) can tell that it is coming from a form (the same 
    as spam mail does), and may not deliver it.
    Or the ISP where the form mail is coming from may be on a spam blacklist,
    and the receiving mail program may not accept it!
    More info is here.

 3) Form email is coming from a form program, which could fail.
    Programs are complicated little machines!
 Here's the problem: You don't know about the emails that you don't get!
    And the programmer doesn't know either. They just ... disappear.
 So the programmer has to test, test, and test!
 Test number 1: I send email from the same server to the office addresses. 
    That will confirm that email from an address *inside* the server 
    does work for that address. -- and the form is also *inside* the server.

 Test number 2: And then i will test to all addresses from the form itself.

 Test number 3: And then i will still be keeping an eye on the form, 
    and testing occasionally -- for the entire time the form is 
    on the website!

 Extra: I have found a good plugin for WordPress, that saves the form 
    results to the database, and am now using this as a "backup" 
    for the website form emails.
 No worries, email and dns are hard to understand. It took me 
 a long time myself. (Well, i'm slow.)  I promise, it will get clear!  :)
 It's very interesting and worth knowing, both as a user and as a developer.

  More about email from forms:

    * Short answer at

    * Longer, clearer answer at

    * Missing emails:

    * Email problems in general:

  More about dns (Domain Name Servers):

    ☀ A short, non-techie explanation at

    * A longer, clearer explanation, with screenshots, at

    * Even longer, but non-techie, explanation at

  Lots of posts about email forms in Wordpress:



  Problems in Contact Form 7:

  How your email program blocks "spam":



written 24 september 2013