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Contact Form 7
[closed] Contact Form 7 support not much help (10 posts)

  1. Rosie-L
    Member
    Posted 3 years ago #

    I have had version 2.3.1 of "Contact Form 7" installed for some time -- a couple of months at least. I tested it after installation and it was working fine.

    Just today I was alerted to the fact that it is no longer working. It now returns the message "Failed to send your message... etc." The error message has a red border, which the FAQ suggests is due to a mail server problem.

    However, the e-mail address that has been entered into Settings is valid -- I have proven that by sending ordinary e-mail directly to it. I have also tried using other known-good e-mail addresses.

    The FAQ says to contact my mail server administrator, but as the e-mail address is clearly working, what would I be contacting them about?

    It occurred to me that this might have something to do with SMTP validation, as most SMTP servers these days require validation. But as far as I can see "Contact Form 7" has no provision for entering account credentials for SMTP validation.

    As a temporary stop-gap I have had to change the failure message to read:
    "Failed to send your message. Please try sending an e-mail to: Name@EmailAddress.com"
    Which of course is not very satisfactory, because the message is going to appear EVERY time.

    It's very clear from all the similar posts that there are numerous people facing the same problem, yet in his very terse responses the author of the plug-in just keep saying "Read FAQ", which, as I've pointed out, doesn't help at all.

    Others have suggested that it's because the victims are running WordPress on Windows servers. This is nonsense. For one thing WordPress runs perfectly well on a Windows server if set up by someone who knows what they're doing. Further, in many cases the people reporting this problem have made it quite clear that their contact forms did work at one stage, on the same WordPress installation, on the same Server.

    Any suggestions for a solution? Or perhaps recommendations for an alternative contact form?

    TIA
    - Rosie

  2. Takayuki Miyoshi
    Member
    Plugin Author

    Posted 3 years ago #

    Contact your mail server administrator.

  3. Rosie-L
    Member
    Posted 3 years ago #

    Takayuki Miyoshi, it's very obvious that you understand as much about SUPPORT as I understand about brain surgery. And I don't know anything about brain surgery.

    Parroting the same line over and over is not making you any friends amongst all the people (and there have been quite a few) encountering the same problem.

    I strongly suggest that anyone looking for a WordPress contact form plug-in should look elsewhere. Free or not, it's always handy to know that even a modicum of useful advice will be available if you need help.

    The part where I said...

    The FAQ says to contact my mail server administrator, but as the e-mail address is clearly working, what would I be contacting them about? It occurred to me that this might have something to do with SMTP validation, as most SMTP servers these days require validation. But as far as I can see "Contact Form 7" has no provision for entering account credentials for SMTP validation.

    ...was a clear opening to provide some useful suggestions, but all that came back was the same useless buck-passing.

    I'm off to search for a Contact Form Plug-In that has a helpful author standing behind it. When I find it I'll recommend it on my blog and warn my readers to stay clear of Contact Form 7.

  4. Rosie-L
    Member
    Posted 3 years ago #

    By the way, I just noticed on his contactform7.com website that Takayuki Miyoshi is very selective about which questions he answers and which ones he ignores.

    Whereas he responds to a number of miscellaneous questions, he completely ignores any questions relating to mail send failure. For example one poster wrote:

    My service provider requires that we use SMTP Authentication to send emails. I’ve attempted to set up SMTP Authentication using WP-Mail-SMTP, but now all the messages I’m sending receive a send failure. Is there a way to set up Contact Form 7 using SMTP Authentication?

    Which pretty much summarizes what those of us with this problem are facing. But although that request was posted in December 2009 there has been NO RESPONSE.

    What a great way to encourage the financial contributions he requests.

  5. Takayuki Miyoshi
    Member
    Plugin Author

    Posted 3 years ago #

    Calm down. I don't want to fight on the free support forum.

    You wrote:

    I have had version 2.3.1 of "Contact Form 7" installed for some time -- a couple of months at least. I tested it after installation and it was working fine.

    Just today I was alerted to the fact that it is no longer working. It now returns the message "Failed to send your message... etc." The error message has a red border, which the FAQ suggests is due to a mail server problem.

    It is obvious it means that some settings had been changed on your mail server or the server was having troubles. Don't you think so? So I suggested to contact the server administrator.

    Contact Form 7 plugin just provides contact forms, ok? It's just a contact form. A contact form plugin itself never send mail. Sending mail is mail server's job. You're blaming the wrong person.

    Again, please calm down. You don't need to understand about brain surgery in order to fix your issues.

  6. Rosie-L
    Member
    Posted 3 years ago #

    > Calm down. I don't want to fight
    > on the free support forum.

    Then do your users the courtesy of providing useful responses to their queries. One line throwaways like "contact your server administrator" don't help anyone.

    Here is the question you need to answer:

    Are you claiming that "Contact Form 7" will work just fine with a mail server that requires SMTP authentication?

    If you can't give that assurance then "Contact Form 7" is going to fail for more and more people as time passes.

  7. BillHely
    Member
    Posted 3 years ago #

    Rosie, to put your mind at ease I'm going to jump in here and say that your confusion and your criticisms are quite appropriate. The author's explanations/excuses make no sense at all, and reflect very poorly on him as a service provider.

    Here's the situation; it's a bit long-winded, but if you bear with me I'm sure we can solve your problem.

    As you suggested, the problem is SMTP authentication. For anyone who may not be familiar with the term here is a brief if simplistic explanation:

    We all know that spam is the scourge of e-mail users. One way that spammers spread their garbage is to route it through poorly configured computers that do not belong to them and to which they should not have access. Machines that have been taken over in this way are called 'open relays'. Basically that means they are open to abuse because no authentication (username/password) is required to send e-mail through them.

    For several years now there has been a global effort to eliminate open relays. One way to rectify the situation is to require valid authentication of anyone trying to send mail through the machine. That means configuring the computer to require a valid username and password.

    While annoying to all of us, spam is a particular problem for operators of mail servers, not least because all of those millions of rubbish messages consume resources and anger customers. So, quite understandably, responsible Hosts have implemented SMTP authentication on their servers.

    In other words, to send e-mail through their mail server you must have a valid account on it and know the username and password. The username and password must be sent with (or in association with) the e-mail message, or the mail server will not process it.

    Now, while there are still plenty of mail servers that do not require SMTP authentication, their numbers are shrinking all the time. Day by day, more and more mailservers require SMTP authentication.

    So what is the future of software that attempts to send e-mail but does not provide a means of sending SMTP authentication with a message? The obvious consequence is that more and more installations of such software will begin to fail.

    What then is the consequence for site owners who use products like "Contact Form 7"?

    Very often the contact form is the only means that a site visitor has to get a message to the site owner, so if the contact form suddenly stops sending messages (for the reasons outlined above) the site owner may never know about it. If it's a business-related site such a failure could be critical and costly. Which obviously is just not good enough.

    Unfortunately plug-in author Takayuki Miyoshi has done an abysmal job of explaining this and the solution.

    Yes, there is a solution.

    I don't want to get into the intricacies of the code that drives e-mail sending from a web form, so I'll just state the problem without further explanation. "Contact Form 7" appears to use PHP's wp_mail() function which, as written, won't provide the necessary SMTP authentication. The answer is to employ another plug-in that forces all e-mail to be sent by SMTP instead of the PHP mail() function. DISCLAIMER: I'm not a PHP programmer but I think that's a fair assessment, while trying to keep things simple.

    So if you want to use "Contact Form 7" and if your mail server requires SMTP authentication, then you need to install a plug-in such as "WP Mail SMTP". All it does is provide a configuration page where you can insert your username/password and other relevant details. The one quirk with "WP Mail SMTP" is that it will appear in your WordPress Settings list as simply "Email". Why these guys won't use Settings names that we expect to see is beyond me. You searched for, downloaded and installed "WP Mail SMTP" so isn't it reasonable that's what you'll be looking for in the Settings list? And it can be a long, unordered list if you have a lot of plug-ins installed.

    BUT...

    If you are not worn out by now, there is another question you might want to consider.

    For full functionality "Contact Form 7" actually requires three separate and distinct plug-ins:
    - The contact form itself ("Contact Form 7")
    - The CAPTCHA antispam feature ("Really Simple CAPTCHA")
    - SMTP authentication ("WP Mail SMTP")
    Search WordPress.org with those exact names for full details of each.

    The CAPTCHA plug-in is by the same author as "Contact Form 7", which you might consider a put-off given his poor support for CF7.

    Now, while I admit that all three do work well together, the inevitable question is: "why use three plug-ins when one would do?"

    My philosophy in regards to these things is that I strive not to use, recommend or promote even a good product that has poor support. To my mind poor or non-existent support indicates contempt and/or disregard for the customer/user. And there's already too much of that on- and off-line.

    I'd be very surprised if there isn't a single contact form plug-in that combines all the necessary features into one reliable package. So as time permits over the next week or so I'll be trying a few different contact form plug-ins to see if I can find one worthy of recommendation.

    I hope this has been of assistance.

  8. Rosie-L
    Member
    Posted 3 years ago #

    THANK YOU BILL!

    I suspected what the problem was but your explanation made things much clearer, and your suggestion to use WP Mail SMTP works perfectly. My form is now operational again.

    Why on earth couldn't that information have been included in the Contact Form 7 documentation? And why would the author just keep telling people to contact their mail server administrator? All the administrator can reply with is to use SMTP authentication, and in all fairness how to do that is not his responsibility, it is the responsibility of the software developer.

    I also do not like to support products that are poorly supported, so I hope you come up with a good alternative contact form. I'll be keeping an eye on your blog in the hope that you find something.

    Thanks again.
    Rosie

  9. lizuka
    Member
    Posted 3 years ago #

    I stumbled upon this discussion whilst looking for information about something else.

    I cannot believe how rude you are BillHely and Rosie-L.
    Takayuki Miyoshi provides a service yes, but on his own personal time I'm sure. He doesn't owe you anything!

    And as I'm using this plugin on a few different websites I can only be grateful it exists. Thank you Takayuki Miyoshi.

  10. Takayuki Miyoshi
    Member
    Plugin Author

    Posted 3 years ago #

    lizuka, thank you so much. I appreciate it, but please don't worry about that. I often receive these kind of messages, so I'm used to it :)

    I know some people hate to read documentations, so I quote a few points from FAQ here:

    Q: After submitting the form, I get an error message stating "Failed to send your message". What is wrong?

    A: There could be two causes for this. The first is actual mail server trouble, where email cannot be sent. In this case, the error message would be surrounded with a RED border line. Contact your server admin.

    The second possible cause is that the form content is classified as spam by Akismet. In this case, the error message would be surrounded with an ORANGE border line.

    Q: I get an error message with a red border. So, how can I solve this?

    A: There are really various reasons for server side problems, so I can’t explain exactly what yours is. But experiences of other users who solved their problem might be helpful for you.

    Mario Vargas says he solved a mail-related problem with WP-Mail-SMTP plugin.

    Most of the questions you might need answers to have already been asked and the answers are in the FAQ. In addition, you can find a great deal of helpful documentation on the plugin's web site. Checking the FAQ and the documentation on your own is the easiest and quickest way to solve your problem. Thanks.

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