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  1. #1
    SitePoint Addict amy.damnit's Avatar
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    Understanding Sending E-mail with PHP

    Hi everyone!

    Okay, here is another "meaning of life" question that I am hoping you guys can help point me down the right path?!

    What is required to be able to send e-mails using PHP?

    The books I have read make it sound like it is just a few lines of code, however, this rather academic approach has some flaws from what I understand...

    Objective:
    I would like the ability to send limited e-mails to customer for things like:
    - Activating Accounts,
    - Receipts of Orders
    - Seminar Check-In Reminders

    I'm not sure what web-host I will be using yet, but I want a secure and reliable way to send e-mail to customers via PHP.

    Questions:
    1.) What things do I need to consider?

    2.) What technologies are involved?

    3.) If I have a web-hosting account, will I have to buy or install any additional programs or technology to be able to send e-mails from my website?

    4.) What problems could I run into?

    5.) Are there any constraints or limitations I need to consider?

    6.) Are there any major security risks (e.g. getting SPAM) that I need to take into consideration?


    From what I have heard, the way most PHP books tell you to do e-mail is NOT how you would want to do it in the "real world" for security and reliability reasons. But then again, I am a newbie, so what do I know?!

    Thanks,


    Amy

  2. #2
    Follow Me On Twitter: @djg gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Grossman's Avatar
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    Sending a mail is really just one line of code. You don't need to buy or install anything, you don't need any extra technology, and the problem you'll run into is spam filtering on the recipient's end no matter what you do.

    All the security has to do with what you decide to write in the mail. E-mail is a 1970s technology, it's simple and insecure by nature. Anything you send by e-mail can potentially be intercepted, it's plain text hopping from server to server. Whether that matters to you is your decision. Plenty of companies send passwords by e-mail, for example, even though they could be intercepted if someone was sniffing a router along the way. But what are the chances, with a couple billion e-mails moving about every day?

    All the reliability has to do with how spammy your message looks to filters (something that's virtually impossible to quantify without sending test mails to see) and whether some other user of your host's server happened to get it landed on a spam blacklist the same day you send your mail. Virtually every server that sends e-mail is blacklisted a few times a year, because people will report even mail they asked for as spam. Google's servers are currently listed on SORBS as a mass spammer, for example.


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