Google Mail SMTP changes in 2021

Posted on January 15, 2020

Events Manager provides the ability to send emails specifically generated by our plugin via its own SMTP. This is convenient in cases where maybe you’d like to use an entirely different mail server or inbox to handle event-related emails.

Google Mail (GMail) for the longest time has been a very popular choice as they provide SMTP access with very reasonable free usage allowances. This remains the case, however, over the past few years, Google has been urging users to transition to OAuth for sending emails or accessing their Mail services to prevent unnecessary storage of Google credentials by third parties. They now refer to SMTP access as ‘Less Secure Apps’ in their Account Security section in your profile.

Google recently announced that they will be transitioning away from “Less Secure App” access, removing access entirely in February 2021. Whilst they do state in their announcement that SMTP sending will not be affected:

Scanners and other devices – No change is required for scanners or other devices using simple mail transfer protocol (SMTP) or LSAs to send emails.

we still recommend that you consider transitioning to OAuth for sending emails via Gmail sooner rather than later, as it is more than likely that Google will also eventually cease to support SMTP at some point in the future. Aside from this, we’ve found SMTP via Gmail to be unpredictable especially during the initial setup process, whereas OAuth is very reliable, albeit a bit more long-winded to set up.

Whilst Events Manager relies on emails for many parts of the event management process ranging from event submission to bookings, the technical underlying process of how emails are sent is best handled by WordPress itself and/or dedicated plugins. We provide advice about email setup on our documentation pages.

We personally recommend using a plugin such as WP Mail SMTP to connect to your desired sending service. WP Mail SMTP supports Google OAuth sending among many other sending methods. We personally use this plugin on multiple sites for many years and can recommend it in full confidence.

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