Using OpenCart Mail Function and the Difference Between Mail & SMTP

November 4, 2015

Running an online store requires an efficient mail delivery system that will function properly. You will receive notifications for all types of activities on your site, including new orders, new clients, questions, etc. There will be large quantities of emails that your store will generate, so you will have to address that accurately.

This blog post will explain how you can setup your mailing system in OpenCart step-by-step and show you the difference between the two main options - Mail & SMTP. Let’s go!

How to access and edit your mail function

First of all, let’s explain how we can access the settings of your OpenCart mail function. Start from clicking System, and then Settings.

After that, click on the small icon that says Edit.

You will go to the Edit Setting section where you can manage the settings for your web store. To edit your mail function, simply click on Mail.

You will see that the first field, named Mail Protocol, gives you the option to choose from regular Mail and SMTP. Below that, you see all the settings you can adjust to tweak the selected mail function.

Let’s go over each field and clear up what they mean, what they are used for and how they should be filled.

The difference between the Mail and SMTP function

The regular Mail system in OpenCart is the default option that uses the standard PHP Mail() function to send emails. If you want to receive the notifications coming from your store on a different email address, simply use the Additional Alert E-Mail field and input all of the third party email addresses, separating them with commas.

If you decide to use SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol), you will be able to receive emails separate from the native PHP Mail() in OpenCart. They will be delivered on your own SMTP server as well via a third party mailing service.

Mail Protocol

You have two options - the default Mail function of OpenCart and SMTP. The default Mail will send all the emails coming from your web store to the email address of the admin. If the hosting provider of your web store cannot configure PHP mail() function and you want to use a third party mail provider, then you will have to use the SMTP option.

Mail Parameters

This is an optional field that you can use if you are an email guru. Insert the additional parameters only if you know what you are doing. If not, just leave it as it is.

SMTP Hostname

This field requires the domain name of your SMTP server. For example - ssl:// It’s also possible to use a local server of your hosting account. You can contact your web hosting provider and ask if you have an SMTP server. If so, just input localhost.

SMTP Username

Input the full email address of the account you will use. The email will be provided by the SMTP server host that you are using. For instance -

SMTP Password

In some cases, this is the password for your email account. For example, Google uses your e-mail password. In some cases, your SMTP server might require different credentials, which means that you might have to contact your system administrator to get the password.


Your SMTP host (your email provider) should give you this number. Check the documentation or contact your system administrator if the number is different than the default 25.

SMTP Timeout

This number should also be provided by your SMTP host (email provider).

Additional Alert E-Mails

This function allows you to input a number of different e-mail addresses on which you can also receive notifications and alerts coming from your online store.

For example - the notifications for all new orders are sent to the administrator’s email. If you want them sent to another email address as well, simply input them in the open field you see at the bottom, separating each with a comma.

How to find an SMTP host?

When you want to setup your SMTP parameters, you might start wondering what is your SMTP server. The SMTP settings are different for every mailing service provider. Some of the most common providers that OpenCart can work with are Mandrill, Mailgun and SendGrid. If you are using another provider, you can take a look at their website or simply contact them for more information.

You’re all done!

You are now ready to complete the setup of your OpenCart mail delivery system. We hope this article has been helpful enough! If something was not clear enough and you have any additional questions, feel free to use the comments section below.

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