When we are working on a new web application we usually test our projects locally before making them public. But, localhost doesn’t have all the good stuff available on the real host. Some functions need to be configured properly and some additional programs need to be implemented.
I was working on PHP/MySQL based small project which is all about students’ registration system, where the students can register themselves then they’ll be able to receive school transcripts and such stuff by email.
When I finished the project I tested the application to see if it was working properly but I got a problem with PHP‘s
mail() function, which was not sending any email messages out.
I was feeling frustrated for a while before coming up with the solution below.
To make our locally hosted web applications talk to any SMTP server including those on the Internet, we will configure that by using the PHP‘s configuration file called
php.ini which can be found in the following locations (assuming you are using XAMPP installed in drive
C:\<xampp-installation-path>\php\php.ini C:\<xampp-installation-path>\php\php5.ini C:\<xampp-installation-path>\apache\bin\php.ini
Okay, that was locating the configuration files; let’s move to the next steps.
php.ini file and uncomment the
php_smtp.dll extension. This is required when sending emails to a remote server.
– Scroll down and find the following lines:
[mail function] ; For Win32 only. ;SMTP = localhost ;smtp_port = 25 ; For Win32 only. ;sendmail_from = [email protected]
– From the lines above, uncomment
directives, then add SMTP server, SMTP port number and your preferred email address to
sendmail_from directives respectively, your final code should be similar to the one below:
[mail function] ; For Win32 only. SMTP = mail.server.com smtp_port = 25 ; For Win32 only. sendmail_from = [email protected]
[email protected] with correct values. The defualt SMTP port number is “25”, therefore, you have 99% chance of not changing this.
– Restart your server.
Everything should work properly now. If not, double check your changes again. If you think you made everything correct, but there is nothing working, try method 2 instead.
NB: You should be aware that once you assign an email address to
sendmail_from PHP will force all the senders’ emails to that address.
This method is more easier than the steps described in method 1. We’ll use fake Sendmail Program for Windows (
sendmail.exe) which is a simple windows console application that emulates
sendmail's "-t" option to deliver emails piped via
sendmail.exe is bundled with XAMPP so you don’t need to install it unless you are using hand made server.
– In method 1 we have enabled
sendmail_from directives, please make sure that these directives are commented out since we don’t need them anymore. Then scroll down and find the following two lines in your
; For Unix only. You may supply arguments as well (default: "sendmail -t -i"). sendmail_path = "C:\<xampp-installation-path>\sendmail\sendmail.exe -t"
– Make sure that the
sendmail_path directive is not commented out, and the path is correct, then save
php.ini and close it.
Edit Sendmail Configuration File (
The fake Sendmail program is found in the following location:
…and its configuration file is found here:
Okey. That was that. Let’s configure it, so it will work the way we wanted.
– Open sendmail.ini file and use the following settings:
[sendmail] ; you must change mail.mydomain.com to your smtp server, smtp_server=mail.mydomain.com ; smtp port (normally 25) smtp_port=25
mail.mydomain.com with a valid SMTP server and assign port number (usually 25) to
Your SMTP server may require an authentication. If this is the case, scroll down the file and find the following lines:
; if your smtp server requires authentication, modify the following two lines auth_username=username auth_password=drowssap
– Modify the above two directives. Add your SMTP server’s username and password.
Some SMTP servers use POP3. If yours is one of those servers, then you need further modifications.
; if your smtp server uses pop3 before smtp authentication, modify the ; following three lines pop3_server=mail.mydomain.com pop3_username=username pop3_password=drowssap
– Change the values of the above three directives to fit your needs and save your file. Then restart your server and try to send a test message to your email address.
If everything is correct, you can send emails to any server now. The following snippet is a header of message sent from my localhost server:
Return-path: Envelope-to: [email protected] Delivery-date: Sun, 15 Jun 2009 17:18:55 +0200 Received: from [192.168.3.134] (helo=mehmett) by host.server.com with esmtpa (Exim 4.62) (envelope-from ) id 1MFrTy-000CQx-OY for [email protected]; Sun, 15 Jun 2009 17:18:55 +0200 To: [email protected] Subject: Taste email from localhost Date: Sun, 15 Jun 2009 19:18:39 +0400 From: J Mehmett Message-ID: X-Priority: 3 X-Mailer: PHPMailer (phpmailer.sourceforge.net) [version 2.0.4] MIME-Version: 1.0 Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit Content-Type: text/plain; charset="UTF-8"
That was easy, huh?
This is a simple mail configuration. I tested it using the SMTP settings of my host and it worked properly.
Gmail users may check Brett Shaffer’s solution, alternatively, AOL users may see KahWee’s solution.
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