How to Host Your Own Email Service with WordPress
So you’ve decided to host your own email service. Congrats! You are among the countless numbers of people who’ve decided they want to give it a try. Maybe you’ve decided to start a blog and you need an email service to keep in touch with your readers or customers. Maybe you’ve got an online store and you want to be able to send order confirmations and updates about your products directly to your customers.
Whatever the case may be, congratulations on pursuing this path. The sky is the limit as to what you can achieve. You can start by simply using and hosting a WordPress website, and you’ll have an infinitely expandable platform from which to launch your email service. In this article, we will discuss how to host your own email service with WordPress.
Pick A Hosting Provider
Before you start building anything, you should first consider investing in a good web hosting provider. It’s important to get a good feel for what you’ll be paying for so it won’t be a shock later on when you’re asked to pay more than you expected. One thing to watch out for is server speed. If you don’t want your visitors to leave because your site takes too long to load, then you should look for a hosting plan that has faster servers.
Now that you have a general idea of what you’ll need later on, let’s get down to business. You’ll first need to register with a free domain name. You can use `1and1.com` for this.
The Basics Of Setting Up A WordPress Blog
WordPress is a popular platform among bloggers, business owners, and anyone who wants to create or manage a blog. It’s a free and open source CMS (content management system) that allows users to quickly and easily create and manage their own websites, blogs, and online stores. What makes WordPress special is its extensive and ever-growing plugin ecosystem.
If you’re looking to host your own email service, then you can use WordPress to create a simple yet powerful blog. With just a few clicks, you can have a fully-fledged website that looks good and is functional. When you’re finished, you can simply download the.zip file and get to work installing the plugin on your new WordPress installation.
Installing And Configuring The Email Service Plugin
Once you’ve downloaded the plugin and unzipped it, you’ll see a single.php file in the plugin folder. This is the file you need to integrate with your WordPress installation. To do this, open up your wp-config.php file in your favorite text editor and locate the wp-mailFunction section. Below that, you’ll see three lines that look like this:
The first line, WP_USE_EXTERNAL_EMAIL, tells WordPress to use an external email service (such as Gmail, Yahoo, or Hotmail) to send notifications and confirmations when you use the WordPress built-in email functions. The second line, WP_USE_External_Resources, prevents WordPress from using its own resource-heavy email functions (mostly SMTP). The last line, WP_USE_FONTS, controls whether WordPress should load its own internal bitmap fonts for use throughout the site. You’ll almost always want to leave this set to true, but if you’re curious as to why, then read up on the topic online. Most importantly, once you’ve made these changes, scroll to the very bottom of your wp-config.php file and you’ll see this line:
define('WP_ACCESSIBILITY_KEY', 'Your WordPress Accessibility key');
The last thing you need to do before you can use your new email service is to create a new username and password and set those as the site’s admin email and password. Don’t worry; this is pretty easy. Once you’ve done that, go back to your wp-config.php file and you’ll see this line:
This line lets you create callback events so you can have certain actions performed when certain things happen on your site (for example, when a user subscribes to your email list, they’ll receive an email letting them know they’ve been added). To create a callback, simply find the add_action function in your wp-includes/general-template.php file and place it below this line:
You’ll also need to create a.wpcache cache folder in your web hosting account and populate it with files that WordPress can use to cache (store and reuse) content.
After you’ve created a.wpcache folder, you can go back to your wp-config.php file and change the value of WP_CACHE to true. This will tell WordPress to use the.wpcache folder for storing and reusing frequently-accessed content. You can set limits on how much content can be cached so that older content is automatically discarded to make room for new content. This feature comes in especially handy if you have a lot of content on your site and it becomes slow to load. If you’re worried about running out of space, then you can always contact your hosting provider for assistance.
Now that you have a working email service powered by WordPress, let’s take a walk through configuring some of its most prominent features.
First, visit the Settings menu on your blog’s dashboard and you’ll see this screen:
You’ll notice that you have several options for email notifications. For instance, you can choose to get an email whenever someone leaves a comment on your site or whenever someone subscribes to your email list (the email will contain a link to subscribe). Choose the option that works best for you, but for now, let’s keep it simple and go with emailing you whenever someone leaves an anonymous comment.
On the subject of subscription emails, if you decide later on that you don’t want to use WordPress’s built-in email functions, then you can use the WP-Email plugin (also from 1and1) to create an email form and collect subscriber email addresses. When someone submits their email address, you’ll then be able to send them a confirmation email. You can do this using the WP-Email API (application programming interface).
Configuring Your Blog’s Appearance
Your blog’s appearance is mostly controlled by the theme you choose for it (with a little bit of CSS (coultion style sheet) thrown in for good measure). For the most part, you just need to make sure that it’s set to the platform you want to use and that it has enough space allocated for the content you want to display. A quick word of advice: try out different themes and see which one you like the most. This will help you configure your blog more efficiently in the long run.
Customize Your Blog’s Header
Your blog’s header is the image or graphic that appears at the top of the browser window when someone visits your site. To make your blog’s header stand out, you can either link to a product, service, website, or social media account that’s relevant to your blog’s content. If you decide to go with a self-hosted solution (as opposed to a free blogging service like WordPress.com), then you can fully customize the header image with CSS (coultion style sheet). Just remember: your site’s header image will be the first thing your visitors see when they visit your site, so make sure it’s a good fit for your blog’s content.
Configuring Your Blog’s Footer