Prospective Member has trouble signing up
A potential member writes in to say that she has signed up for the site but never received a confirmation email from the site. I advised her to 1. check her spam folder and 2. wait a few more hours to see whether the email came through. She gave it ten hours, but still no email.
Can you explain how you would troubleshoot this so that we can document it for future cases? This problem seems to pop up a lot. I know that other members successfully signed up for accounts both before and after the time this person signed up yesterday.
I am cc'ing our community team on this so they can troubleshoot it in the future
Updated by Boone Gorges about 12 years ago
It's very unlikely that the emails are not being sent. Most likely, the emails are getting flagged as spam. Sometimes that happens in a way that the user can see (such as diversion to the spam folder), but sometimes it can happen a bit further up the chain, eg by the email provider, so that the user would have no way of knowing that an email was diverted.
If I have the email address of the user, it's possible for me to check the database to ensure that the user has actually registered. it's not really possible to do this from the WP Dashboard, as registered-but-not-activated users are in a sort of ontological limbo, not really existing in the wp_users table. It's also possible for me to get the user's activation key or to manually activate the account.
If this is happening fairly regularly, there are a couple things we might consider doing:
1) Checking with André to make sure that the Commons mailserver is configured correctly. There are certain aspects of mailserver configuration that ISPs look at when they're looking for spam, and it's be good to make sure we have them set correctly.
2) Changing the content of the activation email that gets sent to users. I think we're using the default BP/WP text, which is generic enough that it might be contributing to being marked as spam.
3) Putting some development effort toward building a tool for triaging this sort of situation. As I said, the WP backend has no interface for seeing failed signups. It wouldn't be too hard to build one, though, so that admins could see at a glance whether a user's registration has gone through, to resend activation emails, and to manually activate accounts if necessary.
My own feeling is that all three of these avenues are worth pursuing. Matt, if you agree, I encourage you to open tickets.
If it turns out that the user didn't correctly complete the registration process, then the email never would have sent. But that's something I can only check via directly querying the database, as described above.
Updated by Matt Gold about 12 years ago
- Status changed from Assigned to Resolved
Thanks for your wonderful and thorough response, Boone. Let me deal with first things first: it turned out that this user had submitted an incorrect email address; when she submitted the correct address, she received an email invitation immediately.
Even so, I would love to pursue the paths you've laid out above. I will submit tickets.
Updated by Andrea Rennick about 12 years ago
"1) Checking with André to make sure that the Commons mailserver is configured correctly. There are certain aspects of mailserver configuration that ISPs look at when they're looking for spam, and it's be good to make sure we have them set correctly."
Just a note on specifics to this. It's called a Reverse DNS entry. Some email hosts (Comcast and Hotmail come to mind) automatically dump emails that they can't resolve in reverse. Should be easy enough to set up, but this was the number one reason we found for actual signups that got sent but failed to arrive.