Grow Your Subscribers With the Mailgun WordPress Plugin

The Mailgun Plugin's New List Subscription Feature

The Mailgun WordPress plugin has always been a simple way to add outbound email support to your WordPress server simply, easily and affordably—without the hassle or risks of running your own SMTP service. Now, they've added support for Mailgun List subscription to your WordPress posts, pages and widgets.

One particularly useful feature of this plugin is that it provides you with a way to send email when the server you are on does not support SMTP or where outbound SMTP is restricted, since the plug-in uses the Mailgun HTTP API for sending email by default. All you need to use the plugin is a Mailgun account. Mailgun has a free account that lets you send up to 200 emails per day, which is great for testing. Paid subscriptions are available for increased capacity.

The latest version of this plugin adds support for Mailgun list subscription. Using the shortcode, you can place a form on an article or page to allow the visitor to subscribe to one or more lists. Using the widget, you can provide subscription functionality in sidebars or anywhere widgets are supported, e.g. footers.

About Mailgun

If you're not yet familiar with Mailgun, it's the email automation engine trusted by over 10,000 website and application developers for sending, receiving and tracking emails. By taking advantage of Mailgun's powerful email APIs, developers can spend more time building awesome websites and less time fighting with email servers. I've been a regular user and advocate of Mailgun for a few years now.

Mailgun Plugin - The Control Panel Delivery Chart

Mailgun has fantastic developer documentation and supports all of the most popular languages including PHP, Ruby, Python, Go, C# and Java. And it offers a free account that lets you send up to 200 emails per day, which is great for testing. Paid subscriptions are available for increased limits.

Mailgun Plugin - Mailgun Documentation and Great Language Support

In this tutorial, I'll walk you through installing the plugin on your WordPress site, creating a list in the Mailgun control panel and then adding subscription forms to your site via widgets and shortcodes. 

In addition to this post being sponsored by Mailgun, my firm, Lookahead Consulting, led the list subscription updates to this plugin working with my colleagues at M35 Development, so I'm personally excited to share it all with Envato Tuts+ readers. 

Before we get started, if you'd like to share more of your experience with Mailgun and its WordPress plugin, please add your comments below. You can also reach me on Twitter @reifman directly. 

Installing the Mailgun Plugin

There are several ways to install a plugin with WordPress. You can search for it and install it directly, or download it to your desktop and then upload it to your website.

To begin, visit your Plugins listing from the WordPress Dashboard menu:

Mailgun Plugin - WordPress Plugin List

Click Add New and search for mailgun:

Mailgun Plugin - Search for the Mailgun Plugin to Install Now

You can click Install Now or you can upload the file from your browser like this:

Mailgun Plugin - Upload the Plugin

Once you've completed the installation, it's time to Activate the Plugin:

Mailgun Plugin - Activate the Plugin

Once it's installed, you'll be returned to your WordPress Dashboard Plugins listing:

Mailgun Plugin - WordPress Plugin List After Installing

Now, let's configure the plugin to access your account and its lists.

Configuring Your Mailgun Plugin Settings

From the plugin list above, click Settings:

Mailgun Plugin - Plugin Settings Top of Page

You can see the remainder of the Settings page below:

Mailgun Plugin - Plugin Settings Bottom of Page

Enter your domain name and API key as I've done above from the Mailgun Control Panel shown below:

Mailgun Plugin - Mailgun Control Panel for Your Domain with Keys

Once you've saved those settings, click the Test Configuration button above in the WordPress settings panel. You should see a popup like this below and receive a confirmation email shortly after:

Mailgun Plugin - Test the plugin

Your Mailgun Lists

Just as a reminder, let's peek again at the Mailgun Control Panel Mailing Lists:

Mailgun Plugin - The Mailgun Control Panel Lists Index

If you don't have one, click Create Mailing List and fill in the form below to save it:

Mailgun Plugin - Mailgun Create a Mailing List

Return to your Mailgun plugin settings page within the WordPress Dashboard. Click View available lists:

Mailgun Plugin - WordPress Plugin Mailing Lists Index

Above, you can see my Mailgun lists from within WordPress. Next, let's add the subscription widget to our sidebar.

Adding a Subscription Widget

Visit the Appearance > Widgets page and drag the Mailgun List Widget to your Sidebar:

Mailgun Plugin - Adding a Subscription Widget

Configure the settings with an optional widget title and description. If you wish, you can check the box to collect the full name as well as the subscriber's email address. Enter at least one Mailgun list address, e.g. [email protected].

When you view your WordPress site, you'll see something like this. Observe the right sidebar with the widget:

Mailgun Plugin - The Subscription Widget at Your Website Sidebar

When users click Subscribe, they'll see a thank you notice.

If you provide a comma separated list of Mailgun list addresses, you can give the user an option to subscribe to multiple lists. I'll show you an example below with the plugin's shortcode support.

Using the Subscription Shortcode

Now, let's add list subscription forms to our content, articles or pages. In this example, I'm going to edit my About Page and add the following shortcode:

Here's what the subscription form will look like on my About Page with multiple lists—see the lower left of the body of the page:

Mailgun Plugin - Collect Subscriptions for Multiple Lists on Your Website

And that's it. Pretty simple, huh?

In Closing

I hope you've enjoyed our visual guide to the new plugin features. Please let us know which features you'd like to see added to the plugin next. You can post them in the comments below or send us an email.

If you'd like to learn more about Mailgun Lists and programming them, check out Open-source mailing list applet using the Mailgun PHP SDK.

Please share your thoughts with us about Mailgun and the new plugin in the comments below. You can also reach me directly on Twitter @reifman. And, be sure to browse my Envato Tuts+ instructor page to see some of my other tutorials.

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