USP Pro provides a robust set of Email Alerts for users and administrators. Normally the alerts work great, but there are situations where the emails just aren’t arriving to the destination inbox. This quick guide explains how to enable email alerts and also provides some things to check when troubleshooting email alert functionality.

How to enable email alerts

To set up email alerts, follow these steps:

  1. Under the USP Admin tab, visit the setting “Email Alerts”. Make sure that one of the following options is selected:
    • WP’s wp_mail() function
    • PHP’s mail() function
  2. If you want HTML format, enable it in the next setting, “Email Format”.
  3. Enable whichever Email Alerts you would like (e.g., Email Alerts for User).
  4. Remember to click the blue “Save Changes” button at the bottom of the page, to ensure that your new settings are saved.
  5. Done.


Once email alerts are enabled, the best way to test/verify that they are working is to submit a few test posts, and enter a different email address for each test post. So it is important obviously that the form include the Email field, so users can enter their email (otherwise WP does not know where to send the alert). The key is to make sure that you test using different email addresses, because it is common for 3rd-party services to block legit email messages. So use some domain based emails, etc.

Pro Tip: Email issues can be very tricky to figure out. There are many variables involved, so there a LOT of things to check. To help with the process, here is a guide that explains how to troubleshoot email issues.


Email in general is well-known to be rife with problems. There are many factors involved with sending and receiving email, and everything must be lined up and working properly for email to be sent and received successfully. If even one little detail is out of place or misconfigured, email will fail. This is true in general, and applies also to plugins that send email, like USP Pro, Blackhole Pro, and many others.

With that in mind, here are some things to check when troubleshooting email-alert functionality:

  • Try both options mail() and wp_mail() (see USP Admin tab ▸ “Email Alerts”)
  • Try sending to alternate addresses (see USP Admin tab ▸ “Admin Email To”)
  • Make sure the “From” email address is correct (see USP Admin tab ▸ “Admin Email From”)
  • 3rd-party email services like Google, Hotmail, Yahoo, and others are known to block/spam legitimate messages, so make sure to test with your own domain-based email, if possible
  • Check any spam/blocked folders and check for unreceived emails
  • If your email service/client makes use of a whitelist, make sure to add your email-alert address
  • Test with both plain-text and HTML-format emails (see USP Admin tab ▸ “Email Format”)
  • Check to make sure the user’s email address is submitted successfully (e.g., check the custom fields on the submitted post)
  • Check if Email Alerts are being sent to the Admin (i.e., check both Admin and User Alerts)
  • Troubleshoot your theme and plugins (check out Further Testing for more infos)
  • Are you able to receive email via WordPress itself (e.g., password reset, comment notification, new user registration, etc.)

These tests should reveal where things are going awry.. especially important is to test using alternate emails from different services and/or domains, and checking spam.

Also you can verify that the issue is local to your specific site. Set up a default install of WordPress. Then leave all settings, theme, and plugins at the default. Install no other plugins, only USP Pro. Then try the email alerts again. If the alerts suddenly work, the issue is with your original site. You can use this same basic technique to rule out other variables, like server, domain, registrar, and so forth.

Going further..

To go further, check out my blog Perishable Press for a more in-depth email troubleshooting guide. There you will find actionable steps to help troubleshoot any email issue, and get things back on track for business.