Or how I learned I should never, ever junk, block, or unsubscribe from my website’s admin emails.
As a website owner, you may occasionally receive email notifications and confirmations generated automatically by your web server. These administrative emails contain essential information about activity on your site – form submissions, online orders, signups, password resets, and more. However, some website owners presume these emails are unnecessary clutter or spam. They reroute these messages to their junk folder or unsubscribe entirely.
This mistake could cause you to miss valuable data about your business.
In short, important notifications from your web server should never be marked as spam.
Why You Need These Messages
A common misconception is that emails from your own web server are just bothersome automated messages that can be disregarded. However, your website is designed to send you these notifications for specific purposes:
- Form submissions from your contact page, newsletter signup, job applications, or other forms allow visitors to message you directly. Notifications sent as email alert the right person, right away so your business can quickly respond.
- Purchase receipts confirm orders, giving you a record and allowing you to fulfill purchases. These emails are necessary for you to receive orders entirely.
- Password reset alerts allow you to regain access to your site if locked out.
- Signup confirmations verify new user registrations so you can onboard and track membership.
- Error and issues notifications inform you of problems needing attention.
Your hard working web server generates and sends emails to inform you and your staff, about important events, data, and changes. If these administrative emails are ever marked as junk, it severs this critical communication channel between your website and you and your business.
Avoiding Critical Missed Messages
If your email provider (Google/Gmail, Outlook, sheer multitudes of others) flags emails from your own domain name as spam, it can have some severe consequences for your online business:
- Contact form submissions from prospective or current customers may go unanswered. If you never see them, this provides a poor customer experience.
- Orders may ship late, or not at all. Don’t miss receipt emails from online purchases.
- You need password reset links to avoid getting locked out of essential administrator dashboards and backend systems.
- No signup confirmations? Newbies will miss onboarding and you’ll have an incomplete picture of your site membership.
- Skipping warning/error notifications prevents you from resolving issues promptly.
Your web server’s message alerts you about user experiences, business transactions, security factors, and other events essential for running your website smoothly.
For optimal site management, no email from your domain should ever be routed to a spam folder or blocked.
Configuring Your Inbox Correctly
To ensure important notifications in emails make it to your inbox, verify that your email provider does not treat your own website domain as an unauthorized sender. Confirm that your domain is on safe sender lists. Set up filters to route these messages into a specific system folder if needed, but never label them as spam.
You, or your provider, can add SPF and DMARC records to your domain’s DNS configuration (TMI brief below). This authenticates your domain and prevents spoofing, making it less likely for legitimate mail from your site to be flagged as spam.
With inbox rules adequately configured, you may briefly scan admin emails and then handle them as needed for your business, ignoring irrelevant ones. The key is that no email from your site is accidentally blocked.
Quickly, “noreply” email addresses are commonly used by web servers to optimize deliverability, security, automation, inbox clutter, contact strategies, and privacy for administrative notifications. These email addresses are usually managed carefully to maintain deliverability. See below for a TMI brief.
Streamlining With a Shared Inbox
As your website grows, administrative emails can multiply and become overwhelming for a single owner to manage. One solution is to set up a shared inbox that routes all web server notifications to your team.
A designated employee can act as an inbox coordinator, reviewing alerts and assigning them to the appropriate staff member. This takes the burden off a single person.
Implementing a customer service messaging system like Zendesk, Freshdesk, or HelpScout is even better. These platforms allow multiple agents to communicate seamlessly with customers via shared inboxes, email, live chat, and social media.
They provide one unified interface for managing all your incoming inquiries and notifications. Automation tools also help route each message to the right agent.
Consider a shared inbox or help desk software if the email volume is high. With team access and assignment capabilities, every notification gets noticed.
Optional Alternatives Beyond Email
There are ways to consolidate alerts beyond the notification email if you receive excessive web server emails. One option is to implement “webhook” services like Zapier or IFTTT, which can capture form submissions, orders, and other notifications and then summarize all entries for you in one spreadsheet or dashboard.
You may also receive SMS text messages for certain critical notifications beyond email. Text alerts can act as a failsafe for the most important administrative notices.
These alternatives allow you to reduce admin emails while reliably getting essential site data. Thoroughly test any webhook or alternative integration before turning off certain emails. To be positive, you get everything necessary. These solutions typically have extra fees, so it is best to start with good inbox discipline.
In summary, being a website owner means accepting that administrative emails from your web server are necessary, valuable, and important notifications. Never confuse your own site’s notifications with spam or junk. With the proper inbox rules, authentication, and filters, these messages can provide value without becoming a burden.
Every good technical explanation involves TMI (too much information). Unfortunately, including TMI in a short, quippy blog post is distracting. BUT, leaving out the critical facts and support makes a good blog post lame. TMI briefs are short, skippable bursts of tech talk, jargon and specific information intended to help clarify some of our more esoteric technical content, providing the vocabulary needed to close the loop on and help understand many issues.
Tip: Google some of these key terms to bring yourself up to speed. Connect with your Alpine support staff for implementation strategies.
- SPF allows you to specify authorized mail servers for your domain.
- You create a TXT record in your domain’s DNS settings listing IP addresses of servers approved to send email from your domain.
- For example: “v=spf1 ip4:192.168.1.1 ip4:192.168.1.2 -all”
- This tells receiving mail servers to only accept emails from those IPs, preventing spoofing.
- There are unique mechanisms like “include” to incorporate IPs from your services, like Mailgun or SendGrid.
- Start with strict settings, then optimize to avoid unintended blocking.
- DMARC works alongside SPF to further authenticate your emails.
- Add a TXT record for “_dmarc” in DNS.
- It specifies your domain, email alignment policies, and aggregate reports.
- For example: “v=DMARC1; p=reject; sp=reject; aspf=r; pct=100; rua=mailto:[email protected]”
- This rejects non-aligned mail, with full reporting to your email.
- Start with “p=none” and “pct=100” to monitor without rejecting at first.
- Gradually strengthen alignment policies and lower “pct” once confident.
Why would a web server use a “noreply” email address when sending automated emails?
- To avoid getting delivery failure notifications: Emails sent from “noreply” addresses will not bounce back to the server if the recipient’s inbox is full or invalid. This prevents the server from getting bogged down handling undeliverable messages.
- To prevent security issues: Using “noreply” avoids exposing a valid inbox on the server that could be exploited by spammers or attackers. It also reduces the server’s vulnerability to email-based attacks.
- To signify the email is automated: The “noreply” address indicates to the recipient that the message is automatically generated and that no one will respond if replied to. It sets the expectation that it’s one-way notification.
- To declutter inboxes: Replies to “noreply” addresses are discarded rather than cluttering up an inbox that would require monitoring and maintenance. This saves time and effort.
- To encourage alternate contact:Recipients are nudged to respond via other methods like contact forms, rather than an inbox that won’t be checked. This facilitates preferred communication channels.
- For sender anonymity: A “noreply” address doesn’t identify the specific sender, allowing for more privacy. The emails come from the organization domain rather than an individual.