PHPList reliable ?

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PHPList reliable ?

Postby airelle » 5:12pm, Thu 10 Jan, 2013

Hello !

In the past (two years from now I think), I tried PHPList to send some newsletters to my fan database but some months later, many of my fans told me that they didn't receive anymore my newsletter... which was very annoying of course. Then I put PHPList away and spent some hours to send each newsletter with GMail... My fans were happy to get news from me again.

I see now that some versions of PHPList has been released since this and I'm considering to use PHPList again.

BUT I would like to know if now, PHPList is reliable.

My database contains approx. 1300 valid email addresses and I don't send more than 5 newsletters a month... but I have to be SURE that my emails are really sent, exactly as I do now with GMail...

Many thanks in advance for your recommendations !

Best regards

Airelle
airelle
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Re: PHPList reliable ?

Postby JacobN » 11:01pm, Thu 10 Jan, 2013

Hello Airelle,

From my experience working at a hosting company, and seeing a wide variety of users utilizing phpList, it does seem very reliable these days.

I think probably one of the largest determining factors on if your messages are ending up in your users Inbox or not, will be on what type of platform you're hosting phpList on.

The reason I say this, is because if you're crammed on a shared-server with a bunch of other users and your host isn't monitoring outgoing spam, there is a possibility that your mail server's IP address reputation could be negatively affected by other users mailing activity.

So let's say right before you go to send out your mailing to your fan database, another user on your server spams 10,000 messages to AOL and Yahoo accounts. Chances are AOL and Yahoo will blacklist, or at least delay your messages then, because they are originating from the same mail IP address.

Typically the best way to ensure that all of your users receive your mailings, is to have them specifically whitelist your domain name, or at least the email address at their various email services.

Also if you are on like a VPS (Virtual Private Server), where just your account is responsible for all the mailing that happens from the mail IP address. This would be much the same as signing up for phpList's own hosted services I'm assuming, so one of those would be a good option to ensure reliability.

- Jacob
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Re: PHPList reliable ?

Postby airelle » 12:06pm, Sat 12 Jan, 2013

Hello JacobN !

Thank you very much for your answer ! I'm hosted on a shared server, but I think that there is no spam from this server.

Is there a way to check if my IP is blacklisted ? I found some blacklist checkers on the web, but are they reliable ? Would you recommend one instead of another ?

Another question : would it be a good solution to configure PHPList to use GMAIL's SMTP server to send messages ?

Best regards,

Airelle
airelle
phpLister
 
Posts: 13
Joined: 4:17pm, Thu 10 Jan, 2013

Re: PHPList reliable ?

Postby JacobN » 12:42pm, Sat 12 Jan, 2013

Hello Airelle,

Sure no problem at all, glad to lend a hand.

To check your shared-server IP for blacklisting, first send yourself a message to Gmail. Then click the little down arrow (more) at the top-right of the message, and select Show original.

Starting from the bottom of the message, scan upward till you see the first line that looks something along the lines of:

Received: from ecbiz103.inmotionhosting.com (ecbiz103.inmotionhosting.com. [70.39.145.116])

In my case, I've installed phpList on one of our shared-servers and the mail IP address is 70.39.145.116. So take that IP address over to MXToolBox.com's Blacklist checker, by far the most useful blacklist checker I've stumbled upon, as it will do a large check for you against multiple blacklists and then provide you with links to go see any blacklists you might be listed on.

You can also use Gmail's SMTP server's as you mentioned. However be careful, I'll have to double check for you a bit later today because I have to meet up some friends for a run, but I believe you could hit a daily limit of outgoing messages, and I'm not sure exactly what theirs would be.

Just open up your /lists/config/config.php script, then look for this line:

Code: Select all
# To use a SMTP please give your server hostname here, leave it blank to use the standard
# PHP mail() command.
define("PHPMAILERHOST",'');


By default, phpList will use the server's PHP mail() function, if you change that line to read:

Code: Select all
define("PHPMAILERHOST",smtp.gmail.com'');


That will instead use the phpMailer script which handles SMTP authentication, and it can use whatever server you'd like then. Next you need to look for:

Code: Select all
if you want to use smtp authentication when sending the email uncomment the following
# two lines and set the username and password to be the correct ones
#$phpmailer_smtpuser = 'smtpuser';
#$phpmailer_smtppassword = 'smtppassword';


Un-comment the two lines that begin with #$phpmailer by removing the #'s. Then fill out smtpuser and smtppassword with your Gmail username and password.

Please also note when doing it this way, you'll want to add Gmail's IP address ranges to your own domain's DNS SPF (Sender Policy Framework) records. That way any server that does an SPF check on incoming mail, will see that the message isn't just being spoofed from any old Gmail user, and flag it as spam.

I'm pretty sure that should all work, but haven't had time to test it out yet myself. If you have success with that let me know, or if you run into any issues, I can test it out later today myself and let you know what else you might need to do.

- Jacob
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Re: PHPList reliable ?

Postby airelle » 1:25pm, Sat 12 Jan, 2013

Waouw ! Thank you very much !! :-)

The IP address of my SMTP server is only blacklisted by Barracuda, for now. I can imagine that there is something to do to remove this blacklisting. I'll ask to my web hosting company (whose CEO is a friend)... :-)

After some readings, using Gmail SMTP server appears quite risky I think : many limits of sent messages per day, per hour, ...
Using my own SMTP server could finally be a better solution...
airelle
phpLister
 
Posts: 13
Joined: 4:17pm, Thu 10 Jan, 2013

Re: PHPList reliable ?

Postby airelle » 1:25pm, Sat 12 Jan, 2013

Waouw ! Thank you very much !! :-)

The IP address of my SMTP server is only blacklisted by Barracuda, for now. I can imagine that there is something to do to remove this blacklisting. I'll ask to my web hosting company (whose CEO is a friend)... :-)

After some readings, using Gmail SMTP server appears quite risky I think : many limits of sent messages per day, per hour, ...
Using my own SMTP server could finally be a better solution...
airelle
phpLister
 
Posts: 13
Joined: 4:17pm, Thu 10 Jan, 2013

Re: PHPList reliable ?

Postby JacobN » 2:05pm, Sat 12 Jan, 2013

Hey Airelle,

You are quite welcome :D

Barracuda is one of the easier ones to get de-listed from, you can do it yourself, or request your host to do it for you by using the Barracuda Central Reputation System – Removal Request page they have.

Yeah I figured Gmail might impose some limits, as they have a paid Google Apps for your domain service, and don't think they'd want to cut too deep into their own revenue stream :)

- Jacob
JacobN
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Re: PHPList reliable ?

Postby airelle » 3:08pm, Fri 18 Jan, 2013

Hi !

Is there anything else I could check to ensure that my emails come straight into the mailboxes of my recipients ?

I would like to install and configure it but if my emails are not received again, I will cry and shout !
So is there anything that I could check before doing all the job ?

I'm on a shared server, but my host is a friend and I could ask him some particular things if necessary...
Please tell me ! :-)

Many thanks in advance for your help !!

Airelle
airelle
phpLister
 
Posts: 13
Joined: 4:17pm, Thu 10 Jan, 2013

Re: PHPList reliable ?

Postby JacobN » 7:56pm, Fri 18 Jan, 2013

Hello Airelle,

If your mail server isn't blacklisted anywhere, and you have SPF records setup for your domain, then your mail should be getting to people's Inboxes.

You also of course want to make sure that the content of the messages themselves that you're sending out wouldn't be triggering any spam filters to the people you are mailing.

Aside from that stuff on the server side, having the people you are mailing add your address to their internal whitelist or depending on the service they use even just their contacts, it should allow any of your messages to show up in their Inbox.

- Jacob
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Posts: 33
Joined: 4:34pm, Tue 01 Jan, 2013


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