Using Google Mail as an SMTP server

By default, Tutor comes with a simple SMTP server for sending emails. Such a server has an important limitation: it does not implement mailing good practices, such as DKIM or SPF. As a consequence. the emails you send might be flagged as spam by their recipients. Thus, you might want to disable the SMTP server and run your own, for instance using your Google Mail account.

Warning

Google Mail SMTP servers come with their own set of limitations. For instance, you are limited to sending 500 emails a day. Reference: https://support.google.com/mail/answer/22839

You should authorize third-party to access your Google Mail account. In your Google Mail account, select “Manage Account”, “Security”, and turn on “Less Secure App Access”. Check the Google documentation for more information on “less secure apps”: https://support.google.com/accounts/answer/6010255

Then, check that you can reach the Google Mail SMTP service from your own server:

$ telnet smtp.gmail.com 587

If you get Connected to smtp.gmail.com. then it means that you can successfully reach the Google Mail SMTP servers. If not, you will have to reconfigure your firewall.

To exit the telnet shell, type ctrl+], then ctrl+d.

Then, disable the SMTP server that comes with Tutor:

$ tutor config save --set RUN_SMTP=false

Configure credentials to access your SMTP server:

$ tutor config save \
  --set SMTP_HOST=smtp.gmail.com \
  --set SMTP_PORT=587 \
  --set SMTP_USE_SSL=false  \
  --set SMTP_USE_TLS=true \
  --set SMTP_USERNAME=YOURUSERNAME@gmail.com \
  --set SMTP_PASSWORD='YOURPASSWORD'

Don’t forget to replace your email address and password in the prompt above. If your email password contains special characters, you might have to escape them.

Then, restart your platform:

$ tutor local quickstart

That’s it! You can send a test email with the following command:

$ tutor local run --no-deps lms ./manage.py lms shell -c \
  "from django.core.mail import send_mail; send_mail('test subject', 'test message', 'YOURUSERNAME@gmail.com', ['YOURRECIPIENT@domain.com'])"