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Using WordPress for your website has plenty of perks, including access to plugins like Ninja Forms. Ninja Forms is a popular contact form builder built specifically for WordPress websites. However, as with any other WordPress contact form, errors can happen, and you might run into email issues.

Ninja Forms not sending emails can lead to missed feedback opportunities, lost lead connections and stagnant audience growth.

Our guide dives into the reasons why Ninja Forms emails might not be sent, guides you through troubleshooting and highlights solutions. We’ll also answer frequently asked questions.

Let’s dive right into it.

Why Ninja Forms isn’t sending your emails

There are several possible reasons why Ninja Forms emails aren’t sending. Let’s take a closer look at the most common ones.

Incorrect hosting server configuration

By default, WordPress sends your website’s emails using the PHP mail function. However, most hosting providers’ servers aren’t configured to use this function, so your Ninja Form email notifications won’t make it to their intended destination.  Plus, even if the PHP mail function is enabled, your emails could get marked as spam since the function can’t authenticate emails.

By default, WordPress sends your website’s emails using the PHP mail function. However, most hosting providers’ servers aren’t configured to use this function, so your Ninja Form email notifications won’t make it to their intended destination.

Test it

You can test whether or not the hosting server is sending emails by using the Check Email plugin.

Form settings

Sometimes, missing emails is a case of a missed setting. For example, the stop responses option might be causing Ninja Forms emails to stop sending.

Test it

Go to Ninja Forms, then click on Dashboard. From here, click on the form that’s causing problems and inspect the settings to ensure everything is correctly set up.

How to fix Ninja Forms not sending emails 

Let’s walk through the details of how to diagnose and fix problems most likely responsible for Ninja Forms not sending emails.

Test your contact form

Your contact form is the first thing to check when figuring out why Ninja Forms isn’t sending email messages. A new plugin or theme might be causing a conflict with your form, or the settings might be off.

Fill out your live form and wait for a confirmation message. If you don’t see this message, the problem lies elsewhere.

Check your Ninja Forms settings

As mentioned earlier, inspecting your form settings can help you pinpoint why Ninja Forms notification emails aren’t sending.

To get started, go to your WordPress dashboard. From here, select Ninja Forms and then click on Dashboard. Next, select Emails and Actions. You’ll see the four actions Ninja Forms includes, which can be turned on or off using the toggle:

  • Record Submission
  • Email Confirmation
  • Email Notification
  • Success Message
Ninja Forms email actions include Email Confirmation and Email Notification.

Check that all actions are properly configured to trigger notifications after form submission. If all are enabled but messages aren’t sending, you may need to adjust settings within the actions. Click the gear icon next to an action to make edits. We’ve already tested the Success Message feature but if your success message didn’t arrive, you may need to adjust those settings as well.

Record Submission

Record Submission stores all the information website visitors enter on your form and automatically saves it in the WordPress database.

Select View Submissions to review the entries for your form.

View Submissions allows you to check the entries for your form.

Email Confirmation

Email Confirmation manages the emails sent to a website visitor after submitting your form. By default, the confirmation email is sent to the “To” email address provided in the form using the {field:email} merge tag.

The Email Confirmation action sends an email to a user after they submit your form.

Email notification

The Email Notification tool contains your form submission data, which is automatically sent to {system:admin_email}. It’s the email the website owner receives after a user submits the form.

system:admin_email is the default WordPress email address.

Note that the system:admin_email is the default WordPress admin email address. If your email address is mistyped, Ninja Forms will send emails to the wrong address.

You can check which email address you’ve set as the administration email address by going to Settings and then General. From here, search for Administrative Email Address and make any adjustments necessary.

If everything checks out with the form settings, don’t panic. There are still other ways to fix Ninja Forms emails not sending, such as using an SMTP plugin.

Install an SMTP plugin

While SMTP is more effective than PHP due to authentication protocols, configuration issues with Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) are a common culprit for missing emails from Ninja Forms.

Setting up SMTP on your WordPress website lets you send emails using a dedicated email-sending service instead of your website’s hosting server. SMTP also enables you to send emails if your WordPress host doesn’t support PHP mail functions.

You can choose from many SMTP WordPress plugins, including free ones like the Gmail SMTP server, and each will have its own setting instructions.

Test to confirm that Ninja Forms is sending emails

Once you’ve made setting changes, you need to see if the changes worked. You can send a test email with plugin WP Mail SMPT. Go to WP Mail SMTP and then click on tools. Next, choose the Email Test tab to send a test email. Check if the test email made its way to your inbox. Be sure to check your spam folder as well.

Stop emails from going to spam

If you suspect your emails are being lost in spam folders, there are ways to reduce spam filtering.

Use a professional email address

By default, your administrative email address is the email address your website uses to send emails. If the address is generic, such as info@ or sales@, it might be flagged as spam. That’s why you need to create a professional email address.

Professional-style email addresses usually have a name and your company’s domain name, e.g., [email protected], instead of a third-party email like Gmail. You can buy a custom domain from Bluehost. Also, avoid using all caps and unnecessary punctuation when writing subject lines.

Configure DNS records

When set up correctly, domain name system (DNS) records can keep your emails out of the spam folder.

The recipient’s mail server will perform checks to ensure an email is from a legitimate sender. So, if the records aren’t properly configured or are missing, your emails might end up in the spam folder. DNS records include Sender Policy Framework (SPF) and DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM), which help verify authenticity.

Get users to whitelist your email address

Include a note on your form asking the viewer to whitelist (also called allowlist) the email address you are using. Most email systems, like Gmail, put this feature under settings and then filters. Some may simply have a “never send to spam” option, while others might call it a safe list, allowlist, or whitelist. Email addresses filtered this way are never classified as spam or junk mail.

Best practices for sending Ninja Forms emails

Here are some best practices to follow to ensure your Ninja Forms emails are delivered successfully.

Keep an eye on your email metrics

Tracking your email metrics is a great way to ensure your emails are reaching recipients’ inboxes. For instance, if your emails receive low open rates, it could mean they’re getting blocked by spam filters. It’s also possible to have a low open rate due to factors like generic subject lines and frequent changes to the “From” name.

In addition, an increase in bounce rates may indicate that authentication protocols like SPF haven’t been properly configured. Besides fixing email delivery issues, WP Mail SMTP also lets you track email statistics, so you can use this plugin to keep an eye on your stats.

Monitoring your key metrics can also give you a good understanding of your sender reputation. Sender reputation is a measure that email service providers (ESPs) and internet service providers (ISPs) use to determine the trustworthiness of an email sender.

If you have a poor sender reputation, your emails are more likely to be sent to spam.

Work with a reputable and reliable email service provider

Using a free email service like Yahoo and Gmail puts your Ninja emails at risk of not being delivered because so many scammers use those services.

An alternative is to use a trusted and reputable paid email provider like SendLayer or Google’s secure business email.

Final Thoughts: 3 ways to fix Ninja Forms not sending emails

Malfunctioning emails cost your company money and reputation so it’s essential to ensure you fix Ninja Forms not sending emails quickly if problems arise. Plus, even if emails are being sent, you need a reliable email provider and the ability to track your email metrics to increase your chances of success.

Ensure you have the reliable web hosting you need to keep your website and contact forms live with Bluehost. We offer reliable and affordable WordPress hosting, plus our support team is available 24/7 to answer any questions you may have.


Why am I not receiving emails from my WordPress contact form?

A common reason for not receiving emails from your WordPress form is that your web host might not support the PHP mail function that WordPress uses to send emails. Improperly configured settings are another possible reason your WordPress emails aren’t sending.

How do you trigger email actions in Ninja Forms?

Form actions in Ninja Forms automatically trigger certain actions after a potential lead successfully submits a form. These actions are found under the Emails and Actions tab of the form builder. Plus, you can add more actions with the blue plus button.

How do I fix email not receiving messages?

One way to fix email not receiving messages is to use Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) rather than the PHP mail function. SMTP enables you to send emails via a third-party email service provider that adds authentication details to your email.

How do you set submission expiration in Ninja Forms?

Ninja Forms allows you to set how long you’ll save form submissions. Under the Emails and Actions tab, select the Record Submission action and then Advanced to access the toggle button and enter the number of days.

Setting submissions to expire also helps you to comply with data privacy laws like GDPR.

  • Devin Sears

    Devin is a Senior Event Marketing Manager for the Bluehost brand. He is our brand steward for all things Bluehost and WordPress. You'll always see him supporting Bluehost at WordCamps around the world!

    Brigham Young University
    Previous Experience
    Social Media, Customer Experience, Field Marketing, Sponsorships, Event Coordinator
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