The Contact Form 7 (CF7) plugin successfully sends millions of emails every day. Still, many do not send or arrive. This is often because the Contact Form 7 ‘From’ email address mail setting is incorrect.
A simple and effective way to avoid most problems is to always use an email address that belongs to the same domain as your WordPress site in the From field.
This post covers:
- Some From: email addresses to NOT use
- Use an email address from your website domain in the From: field,
- Setting the To, From, and Subject fields in Mail and Mail(2),
- Why using ‘From: [your-name] <[your-email]>‘ is risky, and
- How to use ‘Additional Headers’ to set up a reply address.
Using a suitable From: email address
In Contact Form 7, the Mail tab/section is where you enter the From email address. What you put in this field can be very important and determine if an email can be sent or received.
Some From email addresses to NOT use
Don’t use the customer’s email address
Some Contact Form 7 users assume the From field should be the email address of the person submitting the form – but this is usually a really bad idea.
It’s important to realize that Contact Form 7 is using the normal email sending process, when it sends an email, after a user fills in a form on your site. It’s using WordPress to do it, but it’s really no different from you sending an email from your computer.
If you use the customers email address in the From field, then you are effectively sending an email from an email address with their domain name … and you’re doing that from your website which has a different domain name.
WARNING! – the From email address domain doesn’t match the website domain where it was sent from
The big problem is that is also what spammers do when they send out 1000’s of emails – it’s called email spoofing. So when you do this, you may look like a spammer to many mail servers around the world.
If you use a customers email address in the From field, it is now likely that some your form emails will be rejected as spam by many mail providers.
Don’t use your personal address if it’s not associated with your website
Another common error is using your ‘usual’ or personal email address in the From: field. For example, let’s say your usual email is firstname.lastname@example.org and you enter this as the From: address.
Nowadays that’s likely to be a problem, because your Gmail email address is not hosted on your website domain – it’s hosted by Google on their big flash mail servers.
Because your Contact Form 7 form is sending an email with a From: email address domain that doesn’t match your website domain, you again look like a spammer to the world’s mail servers.
Your users may see CF7 error messages
In fact the email may not even send because gmail.com is not a domain handled by your mail server. Some hosting companies will just not send emails via WordPress unless they are from a valid email address on your website domain.
In this case your users will get a red error message saying ..
If you do need to use your Gmail address then you may need to use SMTP to send your emails from Contact Form 7.
Use an email address from your website domain
Let’s say your domain is
cf7pro.com & you have
email@example.com as a valid email address. That email address is one you can enter in the From: field to ensure that your form email gets sent & is not seen as spam.
If you are sending the form email to others, you need to remember that people will see this From: email address, just like any normal email, and they will likely reply to this email address. Make sure you are willing to receive reply emails at the email address you use in the From: field.
A good rule of thumb is to always use an email address that belongs to the same domain as your WordPress site in the From field in the Mail & Mail(2) sections.
Setting the To, From, and Subject fields
Here is an example of typical values you can use to ensure that your form email gets sent & is not seen as spam.
Use the correct syntax needed to send an email to the person that submitted the form to you.
To: [your-name] <[your-email]>
Use a valid email address on the domain where you host your form.
Enter a value for the subject field in case the person submitting the form leaves this field blank.
Subject: Site Name - [your-subject]
Attention all Yahoo email addresses: There is a particular problem with using Yahoo email addresses as the From: email address – see Yahoo Issue.
Using ‘From: [your-name] <[your-email]>‘ is risky
High risk of being rejected as spam
Many guides recommend using using
[your-name] <[your-email]> in the From: field. This format allows a quick and easy way to answer emails that you receive. By clicking reply, you can respond to emails that you receive from people filling in your form.
This was very useful in the past, but it’s now increasingly risky.
[your-name] <[your-email]> , you need hosting that allows any email to be used as the From: email. Plenty of hosting does allow that, but some hosts don’t (to help prevent sending spam from their servers.)
Even if your host allows this, using this format increases the risk of your mail being seen as spam by other mail hosts.
If you use the customers email address in the From field, then you are effectively sending an email from an email address with their domain name … and you run the risk of looking like a spammer to the world’s mail servers.
It is now highly likely that emails sent from CF7 using the form users email address will be rejected as spam by mail servers all around the world – without any warning they were rejected.
Instead it is best to always use an email address that belongs to the same domain as your WordPress site. We recommend setting something like:
From: [your-name] firstname.lastname@example.org.
[your-name] allows you to sort/search via customer name in your email application while
email@example.com prevents people from replying to this email address.
Some users setup firstname.lastname@example.org as an e-mail address on their account
If you leave the From: address in the Mail section of the CF7 interface empty, then by default, the WordPress mailer fills in the email’s From: field as WordPress <email@example.com>.
If you setup firstname.lastname@example.org as a real e-mail address on your account, your host should pass the email on for delivery.
Refer to Your Contact Form 7 email may be going to spam for a more detailed explanation of this issue.
Reply to form submissions
Reply back without problems using the Additional Headers field
To reply to form submissions in your email application, use
Reply-to: [your name] <[your email]> in the Additional Headers field.
(Use any valid email address on any valid domain)
(Use a valid email address on the domain where your form is hosted)
Site Name - [your-subject]
(Adds extra info to ensure you still have a valid Subject when user does not supply a value)
Reply-to: [your-name] <[your-email]>
Using Reply-to: in the Additional Headers field allows you to safely reply to a form submission.
- Use a CF7 Submission Storage plugin
- Use SMTP to send your emails from Contact Form 7
- Yahoo DMARC Issue