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Email settings - Mail delivery method


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After migrating to a new server (VPS) I found out that my emails are not being sent out. My default setting as delivery method are PHP.

Switching to SMTP and using my gmail email account I was able to fix this and emails now work.

However, I would like to ask you a few questions about these email delivery methods so that I can set them up properly and choose the best option for my needs (I am not an expert on this).

1. Right now I am using my gmail account to send emails. However I would like to use my info@domain.com email instead. Would it be more or less reliable with SMTP? How good is gmail in handling all the community emails? Any limitation issue?

2. I wonder what is not working using the default PHP settings. What should I configure in my server to make it work?

3. What is the main difference between PHP and SMTP? Which one should I use and why? My VPS has a dedicated IP...does it matter?

Thank you and I apologize for the dummy questions.


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1. More reliable if you use SMTP. If your community is just a small fan-based one, perhaps using GMAIL doesn't matter, but GMAIL does put certain limits on outbound email and it's going to look better if you use your own domain. 

2. It's hard to say what is happening. PHP's mail function is built in, but perhaps your VPS provider has restricted that function or perhaps you think mail isn't getting sent, but it is just getting sent to spam by everywhere you checked. Look at your server-side logs.

3. PHP's mail function is typically the path of least resistance. Generally, it "just works" - but the problem is the system is really just "spoofing" a from address when you use that and recipient mail servers can tell the difference. If the mail is important, use SMTP, where the system authenticates against a real email account, but you'll need an email server to handle those sorts of requests and the appropriate ports will need to be open in your VPS firewall if you have any. The fact that GMAIL works suggests you're OK on that front.

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