phpList Pre-flight: Pre-Send/Installation checklist

Great! You’ve installed phpList, you’ve created your mail message. Now, how to get out the door and past the spam filters. Good grief!

Run down these check lists and you might just make it.

More Pizza phpList stuff: multiple-placeholder plug-in: pbts_xtra or growing list of built-in placeholders

Installation & Setup Check List

  • Have you setup an "abuse@mydomain.com" account?
  • Have you setup a "postmaster@mydomain.com" account?
  • Verify your reverse DNS? Use DNSreport.com to verify.
  • 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 throttle in config.php? There are three settings: MAILQUEUE_BATCH_SIZE, MAILQUEUE_BATCH_PERIOD, and MAILQUEUE_THROTTLE.
  • Have you tested the unsubscribe?
  • Did you include a note in your email asking people to "safe list" your sending-from email address, "my-phplist-account@mydomain.com"?
  • Did you check your bounced mail account setup? phpList requires the IMAP PHP extension. It also requires a valid logon be setup in config.php.
  • 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 AOL? Yahoo! GMail? Hotmail?  HelloKitty.com?
  • You’ve proofread and spell-checked your HTML AND Text-only email? Even if you’re sending all HTML emails, 100%, no exceptions… check the text message. phpList is smart. It will send multi-part 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.
  • Verify the from email address. Does it match the one you told people to "safe list"?
  • Meaningful Subject line?

Great. Hit Send… and then…

What went wrong?

If you send your email and have no problems, fantastic. Wait. Did you say NO PROBLEMS? Ahhhhhhhhh! I mean, Uh-oh. No bounces? No "out of office" auto-responses? Really? Dude, bad news… you’re screwed. Time for quick triage:

  • 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?
  • 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.
See also: