Which SMTP Server to Use

What is SMTP?

The SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) Server is responsible for sending emails over the Internet. To send emails using Web Hosting Canada’s email services you’ll need to configure your email software with the correct SMTP settings.

The recommended configurations vary depending on the service and software you use, and are described in this article. You can change your SMTP settings directly in your email software.

Recommended SMTP Configurations

Secure SMTP using the mail subdomain

This is the recommended setup for most users:

SMTP Server: mail.your-domain.com
SMTP Username: your-email@your-domain.com
SMTP SSL: Enabled
SMTP SSL port: 465

This method requires that your domain and mail subdomain both be connected to WHC, and that SSL be enabled. This is the case by default on most new web hosting accounts.

Secure SMTP using the server hostname

This method should be used if you don’t have SSL on your domain, or if you are migrating your email service from one server to another. Your server’s hostname can be found in your welcome email or by contacting support.

SMTP Server: your-host.your-server.com
SMTP Username: your-email@your-domain.com
SMTP SSL: Enabled
SMTP SSL port: 465

Unsecured SMTP using the mail subdomain

This method is only recommended if the previous two don’t work. Unsecured connections do not benefit from encryption and are generally considered unsafe.

SMTP Server: mail.your-domain.com
SMTP Username: your-email@your-domain.com
SMTP SSL: Disabled (unsecured)
SMTP port: 587

Which SMTP Configuration Should I Use?

Configuration #1 (Secure SMTP using the mail subdomain) works best with the majority of WHC’s services that include automatic SSL. This includes: Web Hosting (Pro & Enterprise plans), Reseller Hosting, Cloud Servers, Dedicated Servers and Managed WordPress with Email.

Configuration #2 (Secure SMTP using the server hostname) works best with services that don’t include SSL, such as the Web Hosting Starter plan. It’s also the right choice if your DNS isn’t managed by WHC, or if you’re migrating between servers.

Configuration #3 (Unsecured SMTP) should only be used if all other methods don’t work for you. We don’t recommend using this configuration in the long term.

Troubleshooting & Known Issues

I get an authentication error when trying to send emails

  • You may have entered an incorrect username and password
    Your username should be the full email address and password should be the one you defined specifically for that email account, from the cPanel. Try setting a new email password from the cPanel and double-check it’s the right one by connecting to Webmail with those same credentials.
  • Your domain may not be pointing to WHC’s email service
    Ensure your domain’s DNS are correctly linked to your WHC email service. If you recently changed your domain’s DNS, wait a few hours for the DNS propagation to complete before testing again.

I get SSL errors when trying to send emails

  • Your service may not support SSL on your domain.
  • You may have a commercial SSL certificate (EssentialSSL or EV-SSL), but the mail subdomain is not part of the certificate coverage.

Solution: Try using Configuration #2, or contact WHC to request an SSL certificate installation on your domain, or to troubleshoot its installation if an SSL is malfunctioning.

SSL Cipher Suite / TLS Version is outdated or vulnerable

We see this mostly with Operating systems Windows 7 or older, and/or with email software like Outlook 2013 or older.

Solution: upgrade your operating system and/or your email client to the latest version or use Method 3.

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