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Phplist Documentation» Message functions » Settings for handling bounces »

Advanced Bounce Handling


This page describes how to use the Advanced bounce handling feature of Phplist. Keep in mind this feature is still experimental. Please report any bugs you may find in the bug discussion forum or the bugtracker.


Advanced bounce handling adds the ability to classify bounces into hard and soft bounces and determine what to do with them.

A bounce is matched on a regular expression, which is set up in "bounce rules". The bounce rule determines what needs to be done the bounce. Typical actions on a bounce would be:
  • Blacklist user and delete bounce
  • You would do this, if the bounce identifies that the email is invalid. The reason to blacklist the user instead of delete them is to keep a record in the system, in case importing adds the email again. After having processed the bounce, you can delete it, because the bounce has been actively used.
  • Delete bounce
    • This is probably most useful with "Mailbox Full" type messages. In this case, you just want to delete the bounce and do nothing on it, so that a new newsletter will go to this address again, in the hope that it will arrive this time. There is no facility just yet to "resend" the bounced message to this user.
  • Unsubscribe user and delete bounce
    • This might be a useful thing to do if the email needs investigation and manual intervention of an administrator who can try to correct the problem.
There are some more actions, and it is quite obvious what they do, but the above are probably the most useful ones.


Setup regular expressions


In order to teach the system about regular expressions, there are a few options available.
  • Generate bounce rules will work it's way through the current list of bounces and try to determine candidate regular expressions. It basically does a search on a "55x" code in the email and take the line that it is contained in. This will get quite a few rules, but certainly not catch all of them. But once you've got some rules, and review them in "List bounce rules" and activate them, you can use the following option to check their effectiveness.
  • Check current bounce rules to see how well your rules are doing. It will report on the bounces that are not caught by the current rules, so you can review those and add new rules to catch them. This page is quite demanding, so be patient when using it.


Process bounces


Lastly, the "processbounces" page will process these rules on all existing bounces in the system. As usual it will first pull down the bounces from the mailbox and then it will work on them. It will also continue to do the normal "consecutive bounces" check to see if any other users need unsubscribing.

As such this is quite a demanding process if you have a lot of bounces, so running it once a day should be enough.


Enable Advanced bounce handling


In order to use advanced bounce processing you need to enable it in your config.php file:

 define('USE_ADVANCED_BOUNCEHANDLING',1);



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