Configure SMTP for reader emails

Readers may receive three types of emails from KnowledgeOwl:

  • Reader welcome emails: system-generated; sent when a reader is granted access to your knowledge base to send a welcome message with their login information
  • Password reset emails: system-generated; sent when the reader has requested a password reset or an administrator has reset their password
  • Subscription notification emails: optional; only sent when Subscriptions have been enabled + the reader has opted in to subscriptions + there is new/updated content to notify them about

The two system-generated reader emails (reader welcome and password reset) are sent from You can change the email address these are sent from, but sometimes that arrangement will flag the emails as spam. To ensure delivery of your reader welcome and password reset emails, you can configure your reader emails to use your own or a third-party SMTP email server.

Configure your SMTP Settings

To do so, go to Your Account > Readers.

Then click on the Settings tab.

Scroll to the SMTP Settings section: 

SMTP settings

You'll need to configure each field:

  1. SMTP Host: The address your email server provides for the SMTP host.
  2. Port: Most providers will have specific recommended ports. Where possible and supported, we recommend using port 587, as this is the port used by modern email servers for secure submission of email for delivery. If you'd like to encrypt emails during transmission, we recommend using port 587 with TLS enabled unless otherwise directed by your provider.
  3. Send From Address: The email address that will show up in the "From" field for all subscription notification emails.
    If you're using Google's SMTP, it will automatically override whatever Send From address you use here with the SMTP Username.
  4. Reply To Address: The email address that will show up in the "Reply-to" field for all subscription notification emails. 
  5. Send From Name: The name that will show up in the "From" field for all subscription notification emails.
  6. Unauthenticated: If your SMTP server doesn't utilize a username or password, check this box. This will hide the Username and Password sections and you can jump straight to sending a test email.
  7. Username: The username you use to log in to the SMTP Host.
  8. Password: The password you use to log in to the SMTP Host.
  9. Send Test Email: Once you have entered your SMTP settings, send a test email to an email address of your choice to confirm the settings work properly. (See below!)

Once you're happy with the test email, you can finish configuring this feature. See below for more information.

KnowledgeOwl IP Address

If you need to set up an exception for these communications with your SMTP provider, please contact support for a list of IP addresses.

Find your SMTP settings

Each email server is a bit different, but we've tried to capture information on finding your SMTP settings from these popular providers:

If your provider isn't listed above, see what information they have on configuring SMTP mail relay for external use or checking your SMTP settings.

Gmail with Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)

For Gmail, you'll most likely need to set up an App Password. If you get a warning referencing error code 5.7.9 when you send a test email, you definitely need to set one up. This is most common with Gmail with two-factor authentication (2FA) but may be necessary for other Gmail configurations.

You'll use the App Password in place of your normal Gmail password. All the other SMTP settings are the same as regular Gmail accounts.

If you're using Google's SMTP, it will automatically override whatever Send From address you use with the SMTP Username, so be sure you're using the best account available to generate your App Password.

To create the App Password:

  1. From the Google Account Settings (, click on Security on the left.
  2. About halfway down the screen, in the Signing In to Google section, click the App Passwords link.
  3. The next screen creates and manages App Passwords that will work with 2FA. Click on the dropdown to select an app and select 'Custom' to type in 'KnowledgeOwl' (or something else that will identify that this password is for your KB!).
  4. Click Generate.
  5. A 16-digit password will appear. This is good for only a few minutes. Copy it.
  6. In KnowledgeOwl's SMTP settings, paste the 16-digit password you copied instead of the normal Gmail password.
  7. Finish filling out the rest of the SMTP settings using standard Gmail settings and save.

If you do receive error 5.7.9, there's more information on how to resolve it (and more detail on the above steps) available in Google Account Help for Sign in using App Passwords.

Send a test email for SMTP

Once you have entered your SMTP settings, click the button to send a test email. Following these steps will send a sample reader welcome email using our standard welcome email template, so you'll be able to see how things look.

We strongly encourage you to do this because it:

  • Lets you confirm that your SMTP host, port, username, and password are properly configured
  • Lets you see how the names and email addresses you've configured show up
  • Lets you test the settings without having to enable SMTP yet

To do so, click the Send Test Email button.

This will open a pop-up where you can specify the email address you'd like to send the test to. Enter the test recipient email address and click Send Email.

If anything is improperly configured, you'll get an error message. This should be one of two types:

  • Basic validation: we'll alert you if the email address you've entered doesn't follow standard email address conventions or if no fields have been left blank. 
  • SMTP provider validation: if the error comes from the call to your SMTP provider, we'll return the error message they provide

If everything is properly configured, you'll see a confirmation message:

You should receive an email with the subject line matching the Email Subject defined above, from the address specified in your Send From Address. It should look something like this:

Sample SMTP test reader welcome email

Enable SMTP for reader emails

Once your test email looks good, check the Enable SMTP box to Use SMTP to send all reader emails.

Enable SMTP and Save

Save your changes.