Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The PHP mail() Function

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)





























ParameterDescription
toRequired. Specifies
the receiver / receivers of the email
subjectRequired. Specifies
the subject of the email. Note: This parameter cannot contain any newline
characters
messageRequired. Defines the message to be sent. Each line should
be separated with a LF (\n). Lines should not exceed 70 characters
headersOptional. Specifies additional headers, like From, Cc, and
Bcc. The additional headers should be separated with a CRLF (\r\n)
parametersOptional. Specifies an additional parameter to the sendmail program

Note: For the mail functions to be available, PHP requires an installed
and working email system. The program to be used is defined by the configuration
settings in the php.ini file. Read more in our PHP
Mail reference
.



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:








$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:









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: $subject",
$message, "From: $email" );
echo "Thank you for using our mail form";
}
else
//if "email" is not filled out, display the form
{
echo "

Email:


Subject:

Message:





";
}
?>




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.

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