Category Archives: Email

Getting email from your blog.

How To Add Users To Your MailPress Newsletter Manually

Every now and then you want to add a new user to your MailPress newsletter and/or mailing list, without them having to go through the normal subscription process. For example, to create test users or for people who you meet and give you their email address offline.

It's easy to do this, but not so easy to find. On your WordPress dashboard, select Mails -> All Users. Scoll down to the bottom of the Users list. Click in the box next to the Bulk Add button. Options appear magically to allow you to select a mailing list to add them to, and whether you need them to confirm (i.e. Require Authorization) or not (i.e. Activate); generally, you want to select Activate. Enter pairs of email addresses and names, separated by , and ;. Then click Bulk Add. All new additions get added to the default newsletter … Continue reading…

Posted in MailPress | Tagged | 5 Comments

How to Disable Content Plugins in a MailPress Newsletter

Many WordPress plugins register the_content filters that alter your posts in some way, like adding bookmarking icons at the bottom of a post, or Google +1 buttons without you having to edit your theme. This is particularly helpful when you change themes, and some plugins make dynamic content modifications that you couldn't do by editing your theme anyway.

MailPress runs these filters when generating your newsletter so that the post looks the same in your newsletter as it does on your site. However, email programs often have bizarre limitations on what they are able to display and sometimes plugins generate content that looks fine in a web browser but doesn't look good at all in email. For example, the SexyBookmarks icons turn into a list of bookmarking links which look way less than sexy when viewed in Windows Live Mail.

When you use a plugin which generates content that doesn't … Continue reading…

Posted in MailPress | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

How to Set Up Automatic Bounce Email Processing in MailPress

MailPress 5.1 introduced an improved method for automatically handling bounce messages that occur when subscribers to your newsletter fall off the face of the earth with the Bounce_handling_II add-in. This helps reduce the load on your host's mail server, and ensures that your subscriber list doesn't contain bogus addresses.

The Variable Envelope Return Path (VERP) method of bounce processing provided by the original Bounce_handling add-in imposed some restrictions on your hosting provider. The improved method used by Bounce_handling_II is less restrictive and you must use it if your host can't:

  • Dynamically set the Return-Path on messages generated by PHP (e.g. IX Web Hosting)
  • Create a catch-all or address pattern-matching email box

Even if your host can do these things, the new approach described below is better because VERP requires a catch-all email box for all email sent to any unknown address on your domain, meaning that senders who misspell … Continue reading…

Posted in MailPress | Tagged , | 7 Comments

How to Style the MailPress Subscription Widget

By default, the MailPress subscription widget looks pretty crude, because it has no styling. To make it look nice like the one on, you need to add some rules to the style.css file in your theme. Start by creating a child theme, if you haven't already done so. Then add these rules to your child theme's style.css:

/* Center the MailPress subscription form */
.MailPress { text-align: center; }

/* Widen the subscription form boxes, and put space between them */
.MailPressFormEmail, .MailPressFormName {
 width: 190px;
 margin: 5px 0;

There is no field in the widget for adding a friendly message inviting your visitors to subscribe, but you can do this by adding:

/* Add a friendly invitation to the top of the MailPress signup form */
.MailPress:before { content: "Enter your Email and Name to Subscribe
to my Free Newsletter:" }

These styles … Continue reading…

Posted in MailPress | Tagged , | 1 Comment

How to Configure Your Blog's Newsletter in MailPress

MailPress is the most powerful free self-hosted automatic newsletter plugin for WordPress, according to my detailed comparison of WordPress newsletter plugins. But and all that power can make it a little tricky to configure.

Having a newsletter on your blog allows visitors to subscribe to regular updates via email. An automatic newsletter simplifies the process so that all you have to do is post articles to your blog, and the newsletter to your subscribers is built and sent automatically with no extra effort from you. Even with the advent of RSS feeds and Twitter, email is still the easiest way of getting back in touch with people who have visited your blog before, and giving them a reason to visit again.

So here is a step-by-step guide to configuring your MailPress newsletter:

Install MailPress

If you don't already have MailPress installed, now is the time. Add it just like … Continue reading…

Posted in MailPress | Tagged , | 53 Comments

How to Set Up Automatic Bounce Email Processing in MailPress using VERP

MailPress is the most powerful free self-hosted automatic newsletter and mailing list package for WordPress. If you don't believe me see my comparison with other WordPress newsletter plugins.

If you have a blog with many subscribers, you don't want to spend time handling bounce messages from readers who fall off the face of the earth, or from spammers who subscribe bad addresses for reasons that make no sense to me. To combat this, MailPress handles bounce messages automatically for you; but it can be a little tricky to set up.

MailPress has two different methods for handling bounce messages. The one described here uses a technique called Variable Envelope Return-Path (VERP) to identify where the bounce messages are coming from. The downside of this technique is that it relies on an address encoding trick that requires a mailbox which will catch all email addressed to a range of bounce … Continue reading…

Posted in MailPress | Tagged , , , | 9 Comments

Comparison of WordPress Email Newsletter Subscription Plugins

When I was migrating my blog from Joomla! to WordPress, I investigated a bunch of different automatic newsletter generation options. I concluded that MailPress was the best fit for my requirements. Here is a summary of what I found along the way.


Under Joomla! I used Vemod News Mailer to automatically mail new content to subscribers, and I wanted the same functionality under WordPress. My basic requirements, prioritized from most-to-least important, were for a solution that could:

  1. Automatically email new posts to all subscribers
  2. Send HTML
  3. Bulk Import subscribers from CSV file
  4. Export subscribers in a CSV file
  5. Support throttling to avoid mail server rate limitations
  6. Capture Name in addition to Email address
  7. Allow links in HTML
  8. Send a personalized email per article, Title as Subject
  9. Include links generated by the SEO Smart Links Pro plugin
  10. Include a simple unsubscribe link in every email
  11. Add a clickable list of
Continue reading…
Posted in Email | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 30 Comments