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PHP Sending E-mails


PHP allows you to send e-mails directly from a script.


The PHP mail() Function

The PHP mail() function is used to send emails from inside a script.

Syntax

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

Parameter Description
to Required. Specifies the receiver / receivers of the email
subject Required. Specifies the subject of the email. Note: 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

 


PHP Simple E-Mail

The simplest way to send an email with PHP is to send a text email.

In the example below we first declare the variables ($to, $subject, $message, $from, $headers), then we use the variables in the mail() function to send an e-mail:

<?php
$to = "someone@example.com";
$subject = "Test mail";
$message = "Hello! This is a simple email message.";
$from = "someonelse@example.com";
$headers = "From:" . $from;
mail($to,$subject,$message,$headers);
echo "Mail Sent.";
?>


PHP Mail Form

With PHP, you can create a feedback-form on your website. The example below sends a text message to a specified e-mail address:

<html>
<body>

<?php
if (isset($_REQUEST['email']))
//if "email" is filled out, send email
  {
  //send email
  $email = $_REQUEST['email'] ;
  $subject = $_REQUEST['subject'] ;
  $message = $_REQUEST['message'] ;
  mail("someone@example.com", $subject,
  $message, "From:" . $email);
  echo "Thank you for using our mail form";
  }
else
//if "email" is not filled out, display the form
  {
  echo "<form method='post' action='mailform.php'>
  Email: <input name='email' type='text'><br>
  Subject: <input name='subject' type='text'><br>
  Message:<br>
  <textarea name='message' rows='15' cols='40'>
  </textarea><br>
  <input type='submit'>
  </form>";
  }
?>

</body>
</html>

This is how the example above works:
  • First, check if the email input field is filled out
  • If it is not set (like when the page is first visited); output the HTML form
  • If it is set (after the form is filled out); send the email from the form
  • When submit is pressed after the form is filled out, the page reloads, sees that the email input is set, and sends the email

Note: This is the simplest way to send e-mail, but it is not secure. In the next chapter of this tutorial you can read more about vulnerabilities in e-mail scripts, and how to validate user input to make it more secure.