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PHP - Sending Emails


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PHP must be configured correctly in the php.ini file with the details of how your system sends email. Open php.ini file available in /etc/ directory and find the section headed [mail function].

Windows users should ensure that two directives are supplied. The first is called SMTP that defines your email server address. The second is called sendmail_from which defines your own email address.

The configuration for Windows should look something like this:

[mail function]
; For Win32 only.
SMTP = smtp.secureserver.net

; For win32 only
sendmail_from = webmaster@tutorialspoint.com

Linux users simply need to let PHP know the location of their sendmail application. The path and any desired switches should be specified to the sendmail_path directive.

The configuration for Linux should look something like this:

[mail function]
; For Win32 only.
SMTP = 

; For win32 only
sendmail_from = 

; For Unix only
sendmail_path = /usr/sbin/sendmail -t -i

Now you are ready to go:

Sending plain text email:

PHP makes use of mail() function to send an email. This function requires three mandatory arguments that specify the recipient's email address, the subject of the the message and the actual message additionally there are other two optional parameters.

mail( to, subject, message, headers, parameters );

Here is the description for each parameters.

Parameter Description
to Required. Specifies the receiver / receivers of the email
subject Required. Specifies the subject of the email. This parameter cannot contain any newline characters
message Required. Defines the message to be sent. Each line should be separated with a LF (\n). Lines should not exceed 70 characters
headers Optional. Specifies additional headers, like From, Cc, and Bcc. The additional headers should be separated with a CRLF (\r\n)
parameters Optional. Specifies an additional parameter to the sendmail program

As soon as the mail function is called PHP will attempt to send the email then it will return true if successful or false if it is failed.

Multiple recipients can be specified as the first argument to the mail() function in a comma separated list.

Example:

Following example will send an HTML email message to xyz@somedomain.com. You can code this program in such a way that it should receive all content from the user and then it should send an email.

<html>
<head>
<title>Sending email using PHP</title>
</head>
<body>
<?php
   $to = "xyz@somedomain.com";
   $subject = "This is subject";
   $message = "This is simple text message.";
   $header = "From:abc@somedomain.com \r\n";
   $retval = mail ($to,$subject,$message,$header);
   if( $retval == true )  
   {
      echo "Message sent successfully...";
   }
   else
   {
      echo "Message could not be sent...";
   }
?>
</body>
</html>

Sending HTML email:

When you send a text message using PHP then all the content will be treated as simple text. Even if you will include HTML tags in a text message, it will be displayed as simple text and HTML tags will not be formatted according to HTML syntax. But PHP provides option to send an HTML message as actual HTML message.

While sending an email message you can specify a Mime version, content type and character set to send an HTML email.

Example:

Following example will send an HTML email message to xyz@somedomain.com copying it to afgh@somedomain.com. You can code this program in such a way that it should recieve all content from the user and then it should send an email.

<html>
<head>
<title>Sending HTML email using PHP</title>
</head>
<body>
<?php
   $to = "xyz@somedomain.com";
   $subject = "This is subject";
   $message = "<b>This is HTML message.</b>";
   $message .= "<h1>This is headline.</h1>";
   $header = "From:abc@somedomain.com \r\n";
   $header = "Cc:afgh@somedomain.com \r\n";
   $header .= "MIME-Version: 1.0\r\n";
   $header .= "Content-type: text/html\r\n";
   $retval = mail ($to,$subject,$message,$header);
   if( $retval == true )
   {
      echo "Message sent successfully...";
   }
   else
   {
      echo "Message could not be sent...";
   }
?>
</body>
</html>

Sending attachments with email:

To send an email with mixed content requires to set Content-type header to multipart/mixed. Then text and attachment sections can be specified within boundaries.

A boundary is started with two hyphens followed by a unique number which can not appear in the message part of the email. A PHP function md5() is used to create a 32 digit hexadecimal number to create unique number. A final boundary denoting the email's final section must also end with two hyphens.

Attached files should be encoded with the base64_encode() function for safer transmission and are best split into chunks with the chunk_split() function. This adds \r\n inside the file at regular intervals, normally every 76 characters.

Following is the example which will send a file /tmp/test.txt as an attachment. you can code your program to receive an uploaded file and send it.

<html>
<head>
<title>Sending attachment using PHP</title>
</head>
<body>
<?php
  $to = "xyz@somedomain.com";
  $subject = "This is subject";
  $message = "This is test message.";
  # Open a file
  $file = fopen( "/tmp/test.txt", "r" );
  if( $file == false )
  {
     echo "Error in opening file";
     exit();
  }
  # Read the file into a variable
  $size = filesize("/tmp/test.txt");
  $content = fread( $file, $size);

  # encode the data for safe transit
  # and insert \r\n after every 76 chars.
  $encoded_content = chunk_split( base64_encode($content));
  
  # Get a random 32 bit number using time() as seed.
  $num = md5( time() );

  # Define the main headers.
  $header = "From:xyz@somedomain.com\r\n";
  $header .= "MIME-Version: 1.0\r\n";
  $header .= "Content-Type: multipart/mixed; ";
  $header .= "boundary=$num\r\n";
  $header .= "--$num\r\n";

  # Define the message section
  $header .= "Content-Type: text/plain\r\n";
  $header .= "Content-Transfer-Encoding:8bit\r\n\n";
  $header .= "$message\r\n";
  $header .= "--$num\r\n";

  # Define the attachment section
  $header .= "Content-Type:  multipart/mixed; ";
  $header .= "name=\"test.txt\"\r\n";
  $header .= "Content-Transfer-Encoding:base64\r\n";
  $header .= "Content-Disposition:attachment; ";
  $header .= "filename=\"test.txt\"\r\n\n";
  $header .= "$encoded_content\r\n";
  $header .= "--$num--";

  # Send email now
  $retval = mail ( $to, $subject, "", $header );
  if( $retval == true )
   {
      echo "Message sent successfully...";
   }
   else
   {
      echo "Message could not be sent...";
   }
?>
</body>
</html>

You try all the above examples. If you face any problem then you can post that problem in discussion forum.


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