Welcome to the phpList Manual!
This first chapter will explain what phpList is used for and give you a basic overview of how it works.
What is phpList?
phpList is used for sending email newsletters, announcements and notifications. It is designed to send a single message (a campaign), by email to large numbers of recipients (subscribers).
You organize your subscribers into lists and you can import email addresses from your email account, online shop, blog or database. You can also import attribute data, for example, subscriber name, city or shoe size.
Campaigns are composed in a web interface and can be personalized for each subscriber. Personalization is done with the use of placeholders which display attribute data within the text of the emails, as well as unique links that allow subscribers to join or leave lists easily. You can use plain text, HTML and templates.
Once a campaign has been sent, phpList will show statistics about it. This will include opens/views (who read the campaign), clicks (who clicked which link in the campaign) and bounces (which addresses were incorrect and delivery failed). Bounced mails and unsubscribes are automatically removed from the system, which will benefit future delivery of campaigns.
phpList is Open Source software and it is published under the AGPLv3 license. You can install and host phpList on your own servers or you can use it via the phpList Hosted service.
A quick tour of phpList
phpList has an attractive web interface and a wealth of features to explore.
Composing and sending campaigns is achieved by following a step by step process.
In phpList you upload your contacts once and the information is ready to use every time you send a campaign.
You can group subscribers into one or more lists
Simply choose which list you want to send to when you create your campaign.
Subscribers can sign up to your lists though subscribe pages, which are fully customizable.
...and can be integrated with your website.
You can view basic and detailed statistics about every campaign you send to help you learn more about your subscribers.
What is Open Source?
Open Source, or "Free Software", means that the original programming code is made freely available and may be modified. In practice this means that; phpList is very adaptable, easy to change and improve. Open Source development relies on communities of users contributing to the project they use. You pay nothing for the software, but you are encouraged to collaborate with the project though contributing code and/or though bug reports, translations, documentation, spreading the word and if you feel it has enriched your life, you can even donate!
What is phpList.com?
phpList.com offers phpList as a service is the cheapest way to have a fully working installation without having to worry about servers, blacklisting, bounces and deliverability. We manage the day to day maintenance of the software including updates and security.
Using phpList.com is also a great way to support the future development of phpList.
What does phpList not do?
phpList is a one-to-many email program. It cannot easily be used to have "email conversations" many-to-many as you might do on software such as mailman
Below are six examples of how phpList is used, including a small business, a large business, a city and a community group. They are ordered by the number of emails sent per month.
- Large Business - 500,000 to 6 million emails per month
- Artist & Record label - 10,000 emails per month
- Re-seller - facilitating several phpList installations
- Small business - 500-1000 emails a month
- Government department - 500 emails a month
- Community Group - less than 100 emails a month
BroadwayWorld.com is "the largest theatre website in the world" and is devoted to all things Broadway and theatre. Their website has news about shows, audition listings, user forums and a blog.
BroadwayWorld.com has around 500,000 subscribers on their phpList system, and these are divided into smaller lists by State and/or Country, for example.
They grow their lists by sign up's though their website and from special offers and promotions throughout the year.
They send 2 to 3 campaigns per week which provide news and information to theatre lovers. They have an average open rate of 3-8%.
The aim of the BroadwayWorld.com newsletter is to provide readers with relevant information and special offers for Broadway shows and related media on behalf of advertisers.Their phpList system is managed by two staff members: one who collects the information from the advertisers and assembles campaigns and another who updates the lists and sends the campaigns, as well as dealing with any technical issues. They sometimes seek additional paid technical support from phpList Ltd.