The ‘error 554: transaction failed’ issue occurs when emails from your website fail to be delivered to the user’s inbox. It typically indicates that the transaction between your SMTP server and the recipient’s email server failed.
The error, often accompanied by a message like “Transaction Failed,” is essentially a rejection of your email by the recipient’s mail server. This rejection occurs for various reasons. Therefore, understanding these causes is the key to resolving the issue.
Below, we’ve highlighted some of the most common causes of SMTP error 554.
- Recipient server configuration issue: “554 invalid recipient”
- Email server blacklisting: “554 denied (Mode: normal)”
- Spammy content: “554 spam detected”
- Incomplete DNS settings: “554 permanent problems with the remote server”
Resolving the Error – Solution
Addressing this error can be tedious because it can occur for various reasons. Below, we’ll review the most common causes and how to resolve each of them.
Recipient’s Server Configuration Issue
Email sending often involves the SMTP server and the recipient’s email server. If one of these servers is misconfigured, emails from your site might not be delivered.
So, the first step is to confirm that the recipient’s email address is valid and that the server is correctly configured. You may need to ask the user to review their email settings or contact their provider for guidance.
Email Server Blacklisting
Most email clients have a security feature to block emails from SMTP servers with a spam history. If your SMTP server falls under the blocklist, emails from your site will likely get blocked and prevented from delivering.
To resolve this, you’ll need to ask the user to whitelist your SMTP server. This can be done by contacting the user’s email service provider.
Alternatively, you can switch to a more secure SMTP service provider like SendLayer to ensure your emails get delivered.
Note: If you’d like to learn how to set up SendLayer in an SMTP plugin like Easy WP SMTP, see Easy WP SMTP’s guide to setting up SendLayer for more details.
Spam filters are designed to catch and block emails with spammy content. If your email contains suspicious links, excessive use of capital letters, or other spam indicators, it might trigger SMTP Error 554.
So, you’ll need to review and clean up your email content to make it less spam-prone.
Incomplete DNS Settings
Most SMTP servers provide users with a list of DNS records when configuring their site to send emails via SMTP. These records are often used to verify domain ownership and improve email deliverability.
If the records are incorrect or missing on your site, it might lead to SMTP errors, such as the 554 error.
You’ll need to make sure that the DNS records are correctly configured. If you are not sure how to access your site’s DNS settings, we suggest contacting your domain host.