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Phplist Documentation » Installation » Configuring »

Tasks to do before you send your first email

Great! You've installed and configured phpList, you've created a List, Imported some Users, added a Template, and written your first Message. Now, how to get out the door and past the spam filters?

Installation & Setup Check List
  • Have you setup an "" account? (This helps recipients' email systems know you aren't a spammer)
  • Have you setup a "" account? (Ditto.)
  • Did you verify your (reverse)DNS? A badly configured DNS is likely to look suspicious to spam filters. You can use a some of the available DNS tools to check your DNS. Or consult this forum thread for more DNS tools you could use.
  • Added a SPF record? (debate continues on how crucial this is, or even whether it's even a good idea. AOL seems to be throwing their weight behind "yes, do this")
  • Does your email/site hosting company limit the number of emails per hour you may send? Are you sure? If so, have you set phpList's "sending speed"? If not, check-out Configuring the Send-Speed
  • Have you included and tested the unsubscribe link?
  • Did you include a note in your email asking people to "safe list" your sending-from email address, ""?
  • Did you check your bounced mail account setup? phpList requires the IMAP PHP extension. It also requires a valid email account logon, see Configuring Bounce Handling.
  • On the configure page you've set your domain correctly?

Message Sending Check List
  • You've added Users (recipients) to your target List (seems obvious, lots of people remember to add Users, but not make them Members of a List)?
  • Have you sent a test message? Which desktop mail client and webmail have you viewed it in? Have you test-mailed popular webmail providers like AOL? Yahoo? GMail? Hotmail?
  • Did proofread and spell-checked your HTML AND Text-only email? Even if you're sending all HTML emails, 100%, no exceptions... check the text version of the message. phpList is smart. It will send multipart alternative emails: that is, it will send your HTML email and, in another hidden bucket inside that email will be the text-only version. Why? If the recipient's email client can't view HTML emails it will look for the text version. Fails politely.
  • Did you verify the From email address. Does it match the one you told people to "safe list"?
  • Meaningful Subject line?

Great. Hit Send, and then Process Queue... and then... What went wrong?
If you send your email and have no problems, fantastic. Wait. Did you say NO PROBLEMS? No bounces? No "out of office" auto-responses? Really? That's actually bad news...

Check the email account you setup to capture all of the bounces. It's rare for no bounces to occur. Check these:
  • Was everyone on your list confirmed?
  • If you imported Users into your List from a file did you set them all as pre-confirmed?
  • Maybe you exceeded your hosting company's limit? FTP in and, if you're able to find it, look in your mail directory. Look for sent, bad, etc. You may find a big pile of all of your emails.
  • Did you inadvertently leave phplist in "Test mode"? In config.php check your value for this constant (0 is off, 1 is on): define ("TEST",0);
  • Send a test mail. Perhaps you've a basic setup/configuration problem with mail account etc?
  • Check the FAQs and Troubleshooting pages.
  • Still no ideas? Head over to the phpList forums and do a search. Odds are that someone has had a similar problem. Oh, if you do decide to post a new thread -- don't be an asshat. Ask a specif clear, meaningful, well constructed question, details and examples help and people will be more likely to reply. Give it a meaningful post name (not "Help me!!!!!!!! " or "Didn't work" or "this program sux") And, if you solve your problem, please, post the solution. For the next person, who is just exactly like you and me.
  • Also, don't forget your hosting company's support forum, knowledgebase, or other options. Might get help configuring there.

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