Our server is currently automatically setting the return path as {serverusername@serverhostname.tld}. When sending an email in PHP, I can override this by doing the following:

$return = '<bounce@domain.tld>';
$additional = "-f$return";
mail($to,$subject,$message,$headers, $additional);

My problem is that WordPress doesn't offer the functionality to add additional_parameters like the native PHP Mail function does. Is there a workaround to get this working? Here's the actual code that my WordPress plugin is using to send the email:

$headers = array(
    'From: Eden Mobility <website@domain.co.uk>',
    'Content-Type: text/html; charset=UTF-8',
    'Return-Path: <website@domain.co.uk>'
wp_mail( "myemailaddress@hidden.com", 'Your ' . $item . ' renewal is almost due', $template, $headers ); // LIVE

One thing I have noticed is that I'm now getting warnings when submitting mail:

PHP Warning: escapeshellcmd() has been disabled for security reasons in /home/user/domain.co.uk/wp-includes/class-phpmailer.php on line 1442 [02-Feb-2018 15:25:54 UTC]

  • the warning is something your host can clarify on, looks like they've disabled a PHP function
    – Tom J Nowell
    Feb 2 '18 at 16:55
  • I've logged into my server and enabled escapeshellcmd and re-tried, but it's the exact same outcome. I think I'll reach out to the server support team to see if they're aware of anything that could cause the issue. Feb 2 '18 at 16:58

Yes! There's a plugin that does this, and it's very simple. It uses the phpmailer_init to adjust the $phpmailer object. This is the code it uses:

if ( ! function_exists( 'wp_mail_returnpath_phpmailer_init' ) ) {
    function wp_mail_returnpath_phpmailer_init( $phpmailer ) {
        // Set the Sender (return-path) if it is not already set
        if ( filter_var( $params->Sender, FILTER_VALIDATE_EMAIL ) !== true ) {
            $phpmailer->Sender = $phpmailer->From;



  • I've tried that, but it still isn't working for me. It's still showing as username@serverhostname.tld. Feb 2 '18 at 14:54
  • hmmm are you sure the From value is correct then? How are you setting that? And can you edit your question to include all the relevant code? I only see a call to mail, but nothing for wp_mail
    – Tom J Nowell
    Feb 2 '18 at 15:09
  • Also, are you aware of the wp_mail_from and wp_mail_from_name filters mentioned in the docs for wp_mail? It's difficult to tell when your WP code is not posted. It might be that the code above works, but the from address is the default, not the desired address, in which case your question is not quite your problem, but without your code I can't tell. Also, wether the email is that of the administrator account or not is an important note that's missing
    – Tom J Nowell
    Feb 2 '18 at 15:11
  • I've updated my code so that you can see. Also, my wp_mail_from and wp_mail_from_name are set in my functions.php file so that they're used globally. Feb 2 '18 at 15:18
  • Please correct the bracket on the first line of your code. I cannot do it because it's only one character.
    – B. Martin
    Jan 27 at 14:10

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