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How to send email with PHP

Although PHP has built in function mail() to send email, it's quite insecure and use nonobvious arguments. Here is the example of easy-to-use and reliable mail function.
  • PHP 4.0.2 or higher
  • ae_send_mail (below) can send mail when called with just four arguments: from, to, subject, text

    To avoid email injection (using malformed parameters to send spam through mail()) removing of special characters is used.

    source code: php
    function ae_send_mail($from$to$subject$text$headers="")
        if (
    strtolower(substr(PHP_OS03)) === 'win')
    $mail_sep "\r\n";
    $mail_sep "\n";

    $s str_replace("\n"''$s);
    $s str_replace("\r"''$s);

    $h '';
        if (
    $headers as $k=>$v)
    $h _rsc($k).': '._rsc($v).$mail_sep;
            if (
    $h != '') {
    $h substr($h0strlen($h) - strlen($mail_sep));
    $h $mail_sep.$h;

    $from _rsc($from);
    $to _rsc($to);
    $subject _rsc($subject);
    mail($to$subject$text'From: '.$from.$h);

    Besides $from, $to, $subject, $text there is optional $headers argument, in associative array format, like:

    array( "Header1" => "value", "Header2" => "value" )
    Header names and values are also checked for injection.

    Here is a page-example of using ae_send_mail function. It may be used on 'contact'-page, to mail web form data to site administrator. To run this example, you need to copy-paste it contents to and empty PHP file and set $site_admin variable to your(site administrator) mail.

    source code: php
    <?php $site_admin 'your@email.adress';

    // function ae_send_mail (see code above) is pasted here

    if (($_SERVER['REQUEST_METHOD'] == 'POST') &&
    $_POST['subject']) && isset($_POST['text']) &&
    $_POST['from1']) && isset($_POST['from2']))
    $from $_POST['from1'].' <'.$_POST['from2'].'>';
    // nice RFC 2822 From field

    ae_send_mail($from$site_admin$_POST['subject'], $_POST['text'],
    'X-Mailer'=>'PHP script at '.$_SERVER['HTTP_HOST']));
    $mail_send true;
    <html><head><title>Send us mail</title>
    if (isset($mail_send)) {
    '<h1>Form has been sent, thank you</h1>';
    else {
    <form action="<?php echo $_SERVER['REQUEST_URI']; ?>" method="post">
    Your Name: <input type="text" name="from1" size="30" /><br />
    Your Email: <input type="text" name="from2" size="30" /><br />
    Subject: <input type="text" name="subject" size="30" /><br />
    Text: <br />
    <textarea rows="5" cols="40" name="text"></textarea>
    <input type="submit" value="send" />
    <?php ?>
  • as ae_send_mail function uses internal PHP mail() function, it has the same mail transport configuration issues as original php mail()
  • tested 
  • FreeBSD 5.2 :: PHP 5.1.4 :: Postfix 2.3

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