A common problem with WordPress on shared hosts is PHP’s built-in mail() not working. There are a few possible reasons for this, and a popular workaround is to enable SMTP mail instead. That method requires an account with a valid SMTP host, which isn’t always an option (especially for clients).

But depending on your host, mail() may actually be enabled, and simply require a bit of extra love. Rackspace Cloud Sites, for example, will let you use mail() as long as you include a valid Sender (Return-Path) header.

To test your web host’s support, upload this code snippet to your site and access it in a browser:

$to = 'nobody@example.com'; // <- Change this to your email address
$subject = 'Test email using PHP';
$message = 'This is a test email message';
$headers = 'From: webmaster@example.com' . "\r\n"
    . 'Reply-To: webmaster@example.com' . "\r\n"
    . 'X-Mailer: PHP/' . phpversion();
$sent = mail($to, $subject, $message, $headers, '-fwebmaster@example.com');
if ($sent) {
  echo 'SUCCESS: Mail was sent!';
} else {
  echo 'FAILURE: Mail was not sent.'

If you received an email, then you’re in good shape. To enable the same in WordPress, it’s simple:

  1. Install the WP Mail Options plugin.
  2. Navigate to Admin → Settings → WP Mail Options
  3. Fill in the From, From Name, and Sender (Return-Path) fields (From and Sender should usually be the same email address.).

Enjoy your new mail-mailing capabilities!