Email testing for QA Specialists: What to Know

No matter your app sends transactional emails or your company sends marketing ones, you must test them before reaching real users. The notion that only marketers are responsible for email testing is not quite accurate since the template debugging, email infrastructure setup and analysis of other tech email aspects are duties of dev and QA teams.

In this post, I’ll explain why testers need to be aware of email testing as a part of mobile testing and what elements must be fixed.

The Importance of Testing Your Emails

If you send untested emails, there are high risks of:

Harming brand reputation. If the email is bugged, something important is not rendered, or links are misleading, users will get a poor experience.

Messing up the entire campaign. If you send the same email to thousands of recipients and the email is broken – yikes! The entire campaign is ruined.

Non-delivering emails. If you haven’t tested and monitored email infrastructure, deliverability, and authentication, important emails won’t get to customers. Also, your domain reputation will be affected.
No one can better understand the technicalities of emails than the technicians themselves. So for QAs, ignoring email testing is an ill test management practice in 2021 because it can damage the entire company.


3 Email Testing Pillars to Remember

HTML templates need inspecting and debugging

Many companies use HTML templates to stand out from hundreds of emails that get into user’s email boxes. However, not all email clients show HTML templates in the same way, which affects the customer experience and bounce rates.

Every time you use a new template, you should do HTML/CSS checks. Now there is no need to do everything manually – special tools will help you with this. The best tools include Litmus, Mailtrap, Email on Acid, and HTML Email Check.

Ensuring email deliverability is a must

To increase email deliverability, first, it is essential to set up email authentication records. Namely, you need to configure DKIM (and SPF, DMARC) to authenticate the sender. This will show email providers that the message comes really from your company. 

To determine the reputation, email providers evaluate the sender’s domain or IP address on the blacklists. A QA specialist should check if the domain or IP is blacklisted. To avoid getting there, you need to monitor the relevance of the subscribers/users list and set up Double Opt-In. To earn a good reputation from scratch, it is also useful to gradually increase the number of emails on the mailing list.

Current market leaders that can help you with this task include MxToolbox, GlockApps, and Spamcheck.


Email infrastructure requires configuring and monitoring

An SMTP server is an email protocol, a part of email infrastructure, without which you can’t send emails at all. When administering an SMTP server, various errors often occur that worsen or completely block the delivery of emails. Mistakes related to the SMTP include the following:

  • Hostname configured incorrectly
  • Required DNS records are missing
  • The rDNS on the IP address does not match the server host
  • Long connection timeout or transaction time
  • Incorrect Firewall settings
  • Server-port isn’t working

Apart from SMTP setup, you’ll need to configure receiving email protocols (IMAP and POP) as well as other email infrastructure elements, which should be periodically updated or monitored. Troubleshooting of email infrastructure may be a task of a QA team, especially in small companies. 

You can use one of such SMTP monitoring/testing tools as MxToolbox, Wormly, and CheckTLS.

Final Words

Email testing is not the responsibility of marketers exclusively. Crucial tech aspects of email sending should be well configured, and only techies can help with that. That’s why QA specialists are often involved in debugging and inspecting emails as well as setting everything up for the sending.

About the Author


I'm a Digital Marketing Specialist at Mailtrap, an email sandbox service. I have 6+ years of experience in producing engaging content. Apart from collaborating with our dev team, I'm passionate about networking and NBA.
Find out more about @dmytrozaichenko

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