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Sending Email in PHP

How to send email using PHP. The following section describes that with coding…..

Before using Mail in PHP, note that, PHP mail is intended for only a small scale use and not for large scale Email systems. So for large scale, you may use other mal softwares.

Email can be sent

  • as ordinary plain message
  • as an HTML Message
  • with attachments

We will see, one by one

Mail in PHP

there is a function mail() which helps in sending mails through PHP Scripts.

the syntax is mail(To address, Subject, Message, headers)

To address – to which address you want to send mail

Subject of the mail -

Message – body of the mail and

headers – are the http headers sent along with the mail to inform the email clients

Example Headers are

  1. “ ” //to inform the from address
  2. “ ” //Reply to a different email id
  3. “ ” //Blind Carbon Copy
  4. “” //Carbon Copy
  6. X-Mailer: PHP5 //inform the email client
  7. MIME-Version:1.0
  8. Content-Type: text/plain” //text/html or multipart/mixed, multipart/alternative (content type is useful for attaching files with MIME headers)
  9. Content-Disposition: attachment;filename=”image.jpg”
  10. Content-Transfer-Encoding: base64″ //Encoding Standards

Email as ordinary Plain message



$subject=”This is a Simple mail from PHP”;

$message=”<h1>this is a text message</h1>”;



echo “Mail sent successfully”;


echo “Mail Failed”;


The mail() function returns a boolean value, so if the mail is sent successfully, it returns 1 else 0. Since the above script does not uses any headers, the mail will be sent as plain text mail and the H1 tag wont be validated for a HTML.

The following code send mail as a HTML page

Email as HTML message



$subject=”This is a Simple mail from PHP”;

$message=”<h1>this is a text message</h1>”;

$headers = “Content-Type: text/html \r\n”;



echo “Mail sent successfully”;


echo “Mail Failed”;


The above script uses a MIME type as text/html, to the message with H1 rendered as an HTML Tag and the message will display with size of header 1

Email with attachments

Lot of headers to be used for Emails with attachments.


//set the to, subject and message
$subject=”Here’s the mail with attachment”;
$message=”I am attaching a PDF file for your information”;

//Open the file to attach

$filename=”rts.pdf”; //name of the file and its path

$f=fopen($filename,”rb”); //open the file under binary mode
$data=fread($f,filesize($filename));  //read the file and its size
fclose($f); //close the file pointer
//header setting
$data=chunk_split(base64_encode($data)); //split the file and encode each chunks to base 64
$headers=”Content-Type: application/pdf \r\n”; //since it is a pdf file, mention the mime type
$headers.=”Content-Disposition: attachment;filename=rts.pdf \r\n”; //header to attach the file with filename
$headers.=”Content-Transfer-Encoding: base64 \r\n”.$data.”\r\n”; //header with encode setting

echo “mail to $to is a success”;
echo “Mail to $to Failed”;

the Mime type used in the above script is application/pdf, so only the attachment will be shown in the email client, but the message wont be showed at all…

to make mixed mode, use the mime type as multipart/mixed.

For any other queries and suggestions, Please Comment!!!!!!


  1. Great work .. but would be excellent if you could add syntax highlighter plugin to show the PHP code in highlighted way :)

  2. Nice tutorial. I was looking for this ...


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