How to Troubleshoot Shack Forms Emails Not Being Received

Shack Forms is one of the most popular forms extensions in Joomla. Shack Forms can automatically send emails to the form submitters and to your site administrators.

However, when you start sending out emails, things can become complex. You have to deal with mail servers, hosting companies, Gmail, Outlook, spam filters and many other variables.

You may find out that for some reason your Shack Forms emails are not being received.

Here is a quick guide to troubleshooting this issue.

Before you begin troubleshooting

  • Check if the emails sent by your Shack Form arrive in the "Spam" boxes of their recipients. Modern email servers and routers can flag totally legitimate emails as spam. 
  • Make sure the "From Email" your set in Joomla under "System" > "Global Configuration" > tab "Server" > parameter "From Email" has been set to the domain name of your website.

Step #1. Check if your Joomla PHP Mailer sends emails

The first step is to check if your Joomla site is actually sending emails.

Shack Forms sends out emails using the default Joomla Mailer, which by default is set to "PHP Mail". Your first step in troubleshooting Shack Form emails not being received is to check first if the Joomla PHP Mailer sends out emails. 

  • In your Joomla administrator panel, go to "System" > "Global Configuration":

go to system global configuration

  • You will be taken to the "Global Configuration" screen. Click the "Server" tab:

click the server tab

  • On the right side of the screen, find the "Mail Settings" section of parameters. Make sure the "Send Mail" parameter is set to "Yes":

send mail yes

  • Make sure the "From Email" field contains an email address:

from email field contains email

  • Click the "Send Test Mail" button:

click the send test mail button

  • If everything is in order with the Joomla Mailer, you will see the message on a light green background. It will say that your test email has been successfully sent:

email has been sent message

  • This confirms that your Joomla site can actually send emails. You can now proceed to Step #2.
  • If, however, something is wrong with the Joomla Mailer, you will see a notice and an error message, as shown in the image below. Proceed to Step #3 to switch to the free SMTP SendGrid server. 

test mail could not be sent

Step #2. Check if your server sends emails

You tested your Joomla PHP Mailer and found that it is working. So why aren't your Shack Forms emails being delivered?

One of the possibilities is the emails don't get sent by your hosting mail server due to exceeded quota of the email storage in your email account.  

Let's learn how to check if this is the case. I assume your hosting account control panel runs under CPanel.

  • Log into your hosting control panel.
  • Scroll down to the "Email" section and click "Email Accounts":

go to emails email accounts 

  • Check the "Used" and "Allocated" values under the "Storage" column for the email account you set to send your emails from. As you can see in the image below, the account exceeded its allocated quota of 50MB:

check used storage

  • Your Joomla Mailer does its email sending duty and so does your Shack Form. But the emails don't get delivered by the mail server of your hosting account. Increase the allocated quota to resolve the issue.

Step #3. Switch to the free SendGrid SMTP server

In Step #1 you found that Shack Form emails aren't being received due to your Joomla PHP Mailer malfunctioning. 

To resolve this issue, we recommend you switch your Joomla Mailer from PHP Mailer to the external SMTP server from SendGrid. 

Using an SMTP server for outgoing emails is a good practice in any case. 

  • See this tutorial for detailed step-by-step instructions on how to set Joomla Mailer to the free SMTP server from SendGrid.

What's Next?

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About the author

Alex is a self-taught Microsoft Certified Professional based in England. He enjoys learning Joomla and helping beginners and web site administrators make the most of it.