In any type of email workflow you set up, there is one super important step that is quite often underestimated. We are talking about proper testing. Almost every well-experienced developer or QA specialist has faced email testing failures. In this post, we will discuss what exactly should be checked in different types of email campaigns (bulk emails, event-triggered, etc.), what difficulties you might experience as well as the best way to tackle this kind of task. We will focus on the technical side, without going into the details of marketing tests.
What to check when you set up email sending
On a high level, there are two main things you should test: the email template (or message content) and email sending functionality.
- Test your email sending script. Many frameworks provide a testing/debugging mode via the localhost. This is enough when you need to check if your code actually works. When you deal with multiple emails or event-triggered notifications, you need to actually send emails in order to replicate a real-world scenario.
- Test your email template. View your message and make sure that the HTML is properly rendered, images are displayed, personalization/dynamic content works, links are clickable and not broken.
- Make additional checks. Make sure that the email headers are displayed correctly. If you include message copies like Cc and Bcc, they also need to be tested.
Testing methods and tools
Nowadays, you have a great choice of testing tools. With some of them you can preview your message, with others check deliverability and evaluate the spam score. Alternatively, you can get an endless list of dummy email addresses for testing.
The golden rule here is to test your emails inside and out without the risk of spamming real customers. Spamming customers is one of the worst nightmares of email developers, which from time to time turns into a reality. This is why we always recommend performing email tests in a pre-production environment so that your email experiments take place inside and can’t reach real inboxes. For this purpose, we have created Mailtrap.
How Mailtrap makes your email testing safe and easy
Mailtrap is an online tool for complex and safe email testing for staging & development environments. It imitates the work of a real SMTP server, catches all your test emails, and displays them in virtual inboxes.
- Mailtrap has a forever free plan so you can evaluate it or use it for your small projects.
- Mailtrap has both API and web interfaces so you can choose what you need.
- You can test not only the delivery of your messages but also see how they display in webmail clients, check the spam rate or domain blacklisting.
- You can share testing results with a colleague or a client by inviting them to your projects/inboxes.
- More advanced options include a dedicated email address(-es) for each of your inboxes, email forwarding, as well as Bcc support. This way, you can monitor notifications on production to check, for example, if localization or personalization works.
How Mailtrap works
To start using Mailtrap, you should create an account first. It takes just 2 minutes to sign up and confirm your account.
Once done, go to the SMTP Settings tab in your inbox.
The SMTP Integration is super easy. You just copy your username and password and paste them to your code. You can check ready to use code samples of integration for popular languages and frameworks like PHP, Python, Ruby on Rails, etc. inside the app.
Send your message the same way you would with any SMTP server. In seconds, it will appear in the Mailtrap inbox. Even if you included a huge database of your clients’ addresses as recipients, they won’t get any of your test emails. The emails will only go to your inbox in Mailtrap.
Once you have verified that your email sending script works perfectly, you can perform all those content checks we have described above. View how your message is rendered, check if everything is fine with spam score, and more. To know more about how Mailtrap features work, refer to our Getting started guide or just create your own account and enjoy peace of mind while testing your emails!