I finally took the time to investigate why I receive two notification emails each time a comment is posted at this blog. Granted, it didn’t hurt anything, but it was annoying to get the multiple emails on my iPhone. Initially I assumed the issue had something to do with my use of the WP-Mail-SMTP plugin (which I highly recommend if you want to use GMail to send your emails from WordPress), however it turned out not to be the culprit. The problem was simply the way I had WordPress and my email configured; if you too are plagued by extra comment notification emails, read on for an explanation and solution.

It’s the Configuration

Most posts I found regarding this issue suggested the problem lay with the Settings > Discussion “E-mail me whenever” options. The two settings allow you to receive an email whenever “Anyone posts a comment” or “A comment is held for moderation”:

I send all new comments to moderation so I can filter spam by hand, so this sounded like a reasonable explanation: one email for the moderation, one email for the comment. However a simple test of these options showed them not to be the source of the problem: by unchecking “A comment is held for moderation” and leaving myself a comment, instead of two emails I received zero, which wasn’t quite what I wanted.

Not knowing what to try next in the configuration settings, I added a debug statement and stack trace to the wp_mail() function to see what was really going on. Naturally wp_mail() was called twice, but the interesting thing is that it was called with two different email addresses. And that’s when this statement from the WordPress codex finally clicked for me:

Please note that the use of “me” refers to either a post author or the administrator (person whose email address is used for admin purposes).

I am both the site administrator and the post author, and for whatever reason I had configured two different emails for those purposes, and forwarded all messages from one to the other. So, to summarize, if the following matches your situation:

  • You are both the site administrator and primary content author
  • You configure email A in Settings > General as the admin E-mail address
  • You configure a different email B as your account email in Users > Your Profile – E-mail
  • You forward email A to B, or vice versa

The solution is very easy: change one email or the other so they are both exactly the same (including capitalization), and you should not be plagued with duplicate comment notifications any longer.

Published by Justin Stern

Justin is one of our co-founders, and is our resident overengineer. He likes to write developer tutorials and make black magic happen in our plugins. He thinks that writing code is a lot easier than writing words.


  1. Great guide, solved my annoying problem with duplicate notification mails. Thanks!

  2. Thanks for sharing the solution!

  3. Thanks, i’m waiting to see if is fixed the doubled notificatons.

  4. A quick fix to an annoying problem. Thank you for the post!

  5. This does seem to solve it for the simple case where the author and site admin are the same person. I kept thinking there must be a way to set it up so authors receive moderation requests but the site admin does not. I guess that’s not possible? So really instead of “email me whenever…” it should read “email me and the site admin whenever….”

  6. Ah, maybe this will fix it:


    “This plugin could also have been called Don’t bother the Site Administrator with every other author’s Comment Moderation Notifications, unless the author has no moderation rights.”

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