After testing many different free mailing scripts, I have determined that Dada Mail is the best and also easiest to install and use. Although the script is "free," the author requests that commercial users pay $50 to support the author and help provide for future enhancements. The program is worth much more than the $50 requested.
This is a simplified, "quick and dirty" instruction set to get the program up and running.
- Download the program at http://mojo.skazat.com.
- Extract the downloaded program using Win Zip or other zip extraction program.
- Open the "dada" folder. Open the "mail.cgi" file with a text editor (like Notepad, BBedit, etc.). Edit the first line (Path to Perl) if necessary. For most hosts, no editing will be necessary (default is "#!/usr/bin/perl").
- Open the "DADA" folder within the "dada" folder.
Open the "Config.pm" file with a text editor. You must edit
four settings within this file. If your hosting service uses CPANEL,
these are the settings you should use:
- $DADA_ROOT_PASSWORD = 'yourpassword';
- $FILES = '/home/yourusername/dada_files';
- $MAILPROG = '/usr/sbin/sendmail';
- $DADA_URL ='http://www.yourwebsite.com/cgi-bin/dada/mail.cgi';
- Upload the entire "dada" folder using an FTP client into the cgi-bin directory where your html files go. Change the permissions of the "mail.cgi" file within the "dada" folder to 755.
- Create the directory "dada_files" in the root directory of your site (outside of the folder that contains your HTML files) This folder will contain your database of archives and e-mail addresses. Creating the directory outside of your html directory prevents unauthorized access.
- Run the program from your browser by typing "http://www.yourwebsite.com/cgi-bin/dada/mail.cgi". Enter your password and create a new mailing list. You are now ready to use the program.
Templates are not necessary, but provide a way to match the look and navigation of your site. Create the template using your favorite HTML editor or use one that you have already created.
A few lines of code need to be added or changed on your template.
- Replace the Title tag with "<title>[message]</title>"
- If you want title text on your page, enter it in the usual place with only the text "[message]" (e.g., "<h1 align="center">[message]</h1>")
- Where the body of your page normally goes, use the following text:
<!-- end header -->
<p>[dada] <!-- start footer -->
The text "[message]" puts the appropriate title on the page. The "[dada]" code is required to put the appropriate content on the page (e.g., the newsletter archives). If you use style sheets or specific images, make sure that you use absolute referencing (e.g., /images/yourimage.jpg). Login to administration and click on the "Edit Template" link. Paste the html code into the box and click the "Change Template" button. A template tutorial can be found at Dada Support.
Dada Mail has a whole bunch of features. I advise clicking on the admin links and looking at the various settings to see what you would like to do. However, the default settings are adequate for nearly everybody who would use the program.
The program allows you to add subscribers manually (just make sure that the addresses are separated by spaces, commas or carriage returns). You can add archived messages (including the date and time that they were sent). Just click the "View Archive" link and then click the "New Archived Message" button. Subscribers or potential subscribers will be able to browse these archives to determine if they wish to join your list.
Sending to your list
You can send an HTML or plain text message or even send a webpage. There is also a link to send a list invitation. When sending to your list, I recommend that you send both HTML and plain text. There are some people who are unable to receive HTML e-mail because of the configuration of their mail server (usually due to restrictions imposed by certain business e-mail systems). To send to your list, click the link "Send A List Message" then click the "Advanced" link. Paste the HTML code of your page into the "HTML Version" box. View your page in your browser, select the entire page (click and drag or use Ctrl A from the keyboard), select the Edit copy menu, then paste the text into the "Text Version" box. Now you will have both text and HTML versions of your e-mail. I suggest sending the message to yourself first (click "Send Test Message to Owner"). If it comes out okay, then send it again to your list.
There are many more options and much more documentation on the Dada website. However, these brief instructions will get you going without having to wade through their extensive documentation. Check Dada Mail on this site: Evidence for God Newsletter
Last Modified April 2, 2006