More emails being sent than should be

Once you've installed phpList Version 2... ask questions here!
Forum rules
Please help the volunteers to help you by supplying the version of phpList you are using, browser & version and if possible, a link to your phpList installation. This is for Version 2 of phpList (the orange one).

More emails being sent than should be

Postby Mailingmineral » 6:47am, Thu 22 May, 2014

I have phplist 2.10.17 and had an email in the queue being sent. I was sending it by a cron command from my server to processes the queue every 15 mins. The number of emails was limited to 85. I have done this many times successfully in the past.

However, I noticed on the message summary table in phplist that the number of emails sent was in the thousands when it should have been in the hundreds. And it keeps adding to the number sent even when the cron command was not given.

Is it possible for some external hacker to take over a phplist installation and use it to send out their emails?
phpList newbie
Posts: 2
Joined: 6:31am, Thu 22 May, 2014

Re: More emails being sent than should be

Postby Dragonrider » 6:17am, Fri 06 Jun, 2014

Of course, it's like any script on a server. An external hacker can take over a program, or even your entire server can be hacked.

The important thing is ensure that you change your password immediately for a good strong one, then go through your files to see if there are extra files, or files that are larger than they should be (compare to original files in phplist. zip).

If you have been hacked, it may be best practice to actually delete your entire phplist install, retaining your config.php file and upload/install a fresh copy of phpList then having double checked the config.php file for any extra coding, restore your config.php file as well, changing the password to your mysql database both on your db and in the config.php file.

Hopefully this will remove any hackers traces.
My sites:-,,,
Latest phpList version is now 3.0.12 (3 February 2015) and requires a minimum of MySQL 5.0 and PHP 5.3.x
Posts: 3460
Joined: 6:58am, Sun 02 Jul, 2006
Location: Ilkley, West Yorkshire, United Kingdom

Re: More emails being sent than should be

Postby Mailingmineral » 11:52pm, Sun 08 Jun, 2014

I have discovered the cause of the problem. It did look like someone may have hacked my site and was sending out emails but the problem was due to an email limit on my server.

My web host restricted the number of eamils that can be sent out to a ridiculously low value of 250 per day (and did not tell anyone).

What happened was that once this limit was reached by PHPlist the email was rejected and PHPlist logged the message:
"Mailer Error: Could not instantiate mail function."

PHPlist then went on and tried to send the next email which was rejected, and the count on the number of sent emails on PHPlist continually climbed. It would have kept trying until the whole list was processed.

I have overcome the problem by restricting the number of emails sent per day to well less than the email limit set by my web host, and I'm asking my web host to up the limit.

You can find more on this by Googling "Mailer Error: Could not instantiate mail function."
phpList newbie
Posts: 2
Joined: 6:31am, Thu 22 May, 2014

Return to Question & Problems - after installing

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests