How To Fix Contact Form 7 Error: Email not sending

Contact form 7 is a free WordPress plugin that helps you to easily create forms and place them anywhere on your website. Contact form 7 is one of the most widely used plugins on WordPress with over 5 million active downloads. However, I have found that some of the forms sometimes may stop working or have problems when trying to send a message. Most times you will get a message with a colored border saying “An error occurred while trying to send your message. Please try again later.”

Depending on the color of the border surrounding the message, it will determine the fixes we needed.

If you have the Yellow message, scroll to this section.

If you have the Orange message, scroll to this section.

If you have the Red message, scroll to this section.

Yellow Error Message Fix

The yellow error tells us that there is an error with form validation. This will be something we need to change in the admin area.

Forms Not Validated

Go to your WordPress admin dashboard and you will see icons on the Contact Form 7 plugin menu. Click on the “Contact Forms” menu so that we see the error in detail:

Once you get to the forms page, near the top you will see an error message like the image below. Click on the link within this message to fix the problem.

That page will take you to another page where you just need to simply click on the “validate form now” button.

This should fix the problem, but if not, then try other ways.

Orange Error Message Fix

The orange error tells us that your form isn’t sending because of a spam issue. Here are two solutions I did to fix this problem.

ReCaptcha v2

Contact Form 7 uses reCaptcha to make sure your website doesn’t receive a lot of spam. Once CF7 moved from reCaptcha V2 to V3, forms stopped working. The easiest solution that instantly fixed these issues for me was to change the reCaptcha back to V2. Here is what I did…

Go to the plugins page and search for “Contact Form 7 – reCaptcha v2“, install and activate it.

Next go to reCaptcha version and select Version 2.

Next go to the Contact Form 7 tab and click on integration. Click on “remove keys”.

Next go to the Google reCaptcha page, sign in and create new site keys for your website. You might need to delete your website property from reCaptcha first. When asked for reCaptcha type, choose reCaptcha V2.

Once the keys have been generated go back to the integrations tab for Contact Form 7 and add your new V2 site keys.

Once you are done, click save then go back to your forms and add the “[recaptcha]” shortcode.

Red Error Message Fix

The red error tells us that the form is not sending and is caused by your server not sending the email.  There are two solutions for this:

Contact Hosting Company

Contact your hosting company and tell them about the issue. They will most likely test the email function on your server and fix it or they will not have a solution which will bring me to the next fix.

Install SMTP Plugin

SMTP and php mail plugins make sure emails are authenticated and properly sent through third parties. The plugin I use to fix this was WP Mail SMTP you can use other SMTP plugins like Post SMTP.

Once you downloaded and activate WP Mail SMTP, go to the settings page.

Go to one of the suggested mailers websites and sign up for an account. I’ve used Sendingblue, Google and SendGrid in the past. Once you create an account you will get an API key(s) and you will need to go back to that SMTP plugin settings page to enter your API keys. You will see a place to enter your credentials (see image below). This will appear below the mailer options on the SMTP settings page.

Once your API key is saved, go to the top of this page and you will see an option to send a test email.

Send a test email to make sure everything is working.

Other Things To Try

Caching plugin Conflicts

Another reason why your contact forms may not be sending messages is from caching plugins conflicts. The easiest way to test for this is to deactivate your cache plugin and try testing the form again. If it works, then you either need to find another cache plugin that doesn’t cause issues.

Still not working?

A while back I noticed that contact form 7 often had these annoying issues and they happened every time I updated the plugin.  If you are frustrated with this plugin, you should switch to a another or a premium plugin as they usually come with support so you could get your issues fixed quickly.