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Sending many emails via PHP - challenges and solutions

Newsletters are a key method of keeping in touch with website visitors, alerting them to new releases and overall strengthening the connection. Other web applications can also lead to the need to send quite a lot of email: For example, an online store, a forum, or a social network.

Sending a few hundred emails per day is not yet a technical challenge. However, if the application requires you to send tens of thousands of emails per day, the technical implementation is not so easy anymore.

In this article, I explain the challenges you face and good technical solutions to solve the problem.

Why you shouldn't send email via mail() command

Sending an email in PHP is quick: You simply use the mail command and already the email is sent by the web server. At least most of the time.

But with larger amounts of mail this can quickly lead to problems:

  • Many web servers are not configured to send many emails. The server crashes, blocks new emails or discards emails.
  • Email spam is a big challenge: Many web servers do not have the necessary configuration and certificates to be classified as trustworthy. Especially when sending a newsletter to several hundred recipients at GMail / Web.de / Gmx.de etc., the web server quickly gets on spam lists. The emails are then not delivered at all to many recipients. Especially with apps from the financial sector, such as Bitqt App, the reliable delivery of e-mails is mandatory.
  • Sent e-mails are often considered untrustworthy. Even if you have the domain and the e-mail box from the same provider, the web server has nothing to do with your e-mail address. So if the web server sends an email with the sender [email protected], it may look untrustworthy to the recipient because the email was not sent from your official email server. Often such e-mails are blocked as spam.
  • Not every e-mail can be delivered immediately. Sometimes the recipient requires that the e-mail should be delivered again later (among other things as a protection against spam). Many web servers are not optimally configured there and these recipients will not receive your email.
  • Many web hosts in the shared web hosting area also have limits on how many emails can be sent using the mail() command. Or the function is completely disabled.

Alternative - subscription box business

If you decide you want to implement a subscription box as part of your present company, either to critically study whether a subscription box's a good choice for your company or not, or to test whether or not a subscription box is a good idea, you can add a box to your existing business model.

People have been making money from online subscription businesses since at least 2004, but the industry didn't really start taking off until 2012, and a lot has happened since then. While subscription boxes remain a very popular model, the same concept has been applied to dozens of other industries, from digital content to access to services.

Subbly can answer to a question "How to start subscription box business"

Sending e-mail via SMTP

Most web hosts also include an email mailbox in the form [email protected]

This e-mail box also includes an SMTP server, which is responsible for sending e-mail. This can also be used with PHP to send the e-mail via this special e-mail outbox server. For this I can recommend to use the library PHPMailer.

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