Use Third Party Email Template/Layouts in Dada Mail

Can you use a third party email layout with Dada Mail? Absolutely! So long as you have HTML for Dada Mail to send, it’ll send it!

In this walk through, I’ll be using a template created by (no affiliation). Stripo allows you to export the HTML for your email message – look for the, Export button,

then choose, HTML

Once you have the HTML, you’ll want to open it up in a Text Editor, and replace the unsubscribe link, with what Dada Mail uses. Here’s the template tag that Dada Mail uses as a placeholder for its unsubscribe link:

<!-- tmpl_var list_unsubscribe_link -->

In my template, I found the link for, “Unsubscribe” and placed this tag in the, href="" parameter.

Log into your list control panel, and create a new draft message.

Under the, HTML Version tab, paste the source of your message into the source of the Rich Text Editor – (click the, Source button to reveal the source!)

Since this email message is fully-formed, it doesn’t need a layout of its own. Click the, Layout tab and select: Don’t Use a Layout

Almost done! Preview the message by clicking the, Preview button and make sure everything looks good, before sending things out:

Looks good! One thing to double-check is if the, Unsubscribe link is properly set. You’ll know this if the Unsubscribe link shows this when hovered over (don’t click it!)

Dada Mail will add its own unsubscribe link + text, if it can’t find one in your message. So, if one is added by Dada Mail, it may be because the one you tried to add didn’t work correctly.

And that’s all there is to it!

Some tips:

Make sure css is already inlined. Dada Mail won’t do this for you, when you pick, “Don’t use a layout” in the Layout Options. There’s online inliners to help you (example). Just paste the HTML you’re using in these tools, inline it, copy the results, then paste those results into Dada Mail.

If you’re going to use an outside template/layout often, consider disabling the rich text/WYSIWYG editor. This will speed up pasting in the message itself. In the list control panel, go to: Control Panel Settings: Options. Under:  WYSIWYG Editor Options, Select: Don’t use a WYSIWYG Editor.


Dada Mail v11.2.0 Released

Dada Mail v11.2.0 is out the door! Being a feature-rich release, there’s a quite a few things to go over. Below will expand upon the changelog to help you discover the new features in Dada Mail.

No, “Send a Webpage” screen! (But don’t worry!)

Dada Mail v11.2.0 is the first release to remove the Send a Webpage screen since it was introduced many, many years ago. Please don’t worry though, ALL the features found within that screen have been folded into Dada Mail’s Send a Message screen. We’re hoping that this design change helps simplify how and where you can go from within the list control panel to create a message.

Look below the rich text editor for additional ways to create a message.

A mass mailing message can be created by:

  • writing or pasting content into the rich text editor
  • fetching the message from a specific URL
  • creating the message from a RSS/Atom feed

One small, but important change you’ll also discover is a simple check for any unsaved changes. If you do navigate away from the, Send a Message screen with any unsaved changes, a prompt will alert you about this, and give you a choice of canceling the navigation.

We’ve also changed the list control panels top menu:

Drafts/Stationery/Schedules now reads, All Drafts/Stationery/Schedules. This screen is where you would select the draft message you would like to work with. This screen is also the default screen you’ll see when you log into your list control panel.


We’re hoping these changes help simplify creating and working with multiple draft messages.

The All Drafts… has a few changes itself. The biggest one is the inclusion of a, Preview button, so you can see and compare draft messages, without having to go to the Send a Message screen!

(once clicked)

Both Send a Message and Send a Webpage aren’t listed. Instead a new menu item reads, + New Draft Message. Clicking on this menu item will take you to the Send a Message screen, and will always create a new draft message, rather than loading an already-existing draft message.

New Option: Save Sent Draft Messages as Stationery

Many times, people would like to re-use a previously sent message for a new mass mailing. Now,
Dada Mail has an option to save previously sent messages you’ve authored in the list control panel as
new stationery messages, which you can then use to create a new draft message from.

Here’s how:

  • Once logged in, go to, Mass Mailing: Options.
  • Find the option labeled, Save sent draft messages as stationery.
  • Check that option to enabled it, then Save.

Drafts messages sent from the, Send a Message screen will now be saved as Stationery, able to be re-used for a future mass mailing message draft.

New Ignore Bounces Sublist

Discussion List Owners have reported that sometimes there’s one problem domain with important list members, who have an uncooperative mail server that seems to bounce back messages coming from the discussion mailing list. If the bounce handler is installed, eventually these members will be removed from the list, even though their address is valid. Ugh!

To counter this, Dada Mail can now ignore addresses and/or domains in a new, Ignore Bounces sublist. Here’s how to enable it:

  • Navigate to, Plugins/Extensions: Bounce Handler (the Bounce Handler will need to be installed and configured).
  • Find the option labeled, Enable Ignore Bounces
  • Check this option, and Save.

Now, when you visit the, Membership: View screen, a new tab will appear labeled, Ignore Bounces which will allow you to administrate this sublist like any other sublist:

The Ignore Bounces sublist works similar to the Black and White lists, where you can either enter in a specific address, or just part of an address. For example, adding will direct Bounce Handler to ignore all addresses bouncing from from Adding steve@ will ignore any email address with, steve in it, like or

If these features sound awesome, give v11.2.0 a try! If you need help with installation or upgrading Dada Mail, check out our install/upgrade services!

And please, let us know how Dada Mail is working for you!

New Community Support Forum!

Support Forum for Dada Mail are back! We’re going to roll these out slowly (beta!) to see how well they’re working:

The purpose of these forums are for Dada Mail users to help each other in getting the most out of the app. Post away!


Consent and Mailing List Subscriptions in Dada Mail

With the GDPR finally active, many people have questions about “consent” and how it relates to public mailing list subscriptions. This article is to try to help out those who are confused, and give a little bit of guidance on how you can set up your mailing list correctly to make sure your subscribers have granted their consent when being a part of your mailing list. We’ll highlight some of the tools at your disposal to help build trust with your subscribers when it comes to asking for their consent to use their personal information, like their email address, for your mailing list.

We’re going to use this doc. put out by the UK’s ICO as the basis for this article:

Closed-Loop Opt-In Subscription

This is what the subscription confirmation button looks like embedded in an email message when it’s received by a user.

The original form of consent used in Dada Mail since version 1 is still with us today. That is Closed-Loop Opt-In Subscription – a fancy way of saying that after user fills out a form to subscribe, they will have to then click a link in an email message they receive to confirm their subscription to the mailing list.
The main reason to have this done is to make sure that the user who filled out the information into the subscription form is also the same user that has access to the email account the information will be tied to.
If you can’t check the email account, you can’t subscribe the email address to a mailing list. Simple and effective,  Closed-Loop Opt-In also stops a lot of abusive things that happen on a mailing list, like a ‘bot subscribing bogus addresses through your subscription form.

Collecting Additional Consent

If there is something specific that you would like to do with the data you collect during a subscription request, Dada Mail has an additional mechanism in place to ask, record, and report this consent.
To be thorough, we do suggest collecting this consent specifically for asking a user to grant the consent to be a part of your mailing list! This means, at minimum, you’ll have one List Consent set up that says something like,
I would like to subscribe to [YOUR MAILING LIST NAME] to receive updates from [YOUR ORGANIZATION’S NAME] by email about [A SPECIFIC TOPIC]
In Dada Mail, this is simply called, List Consents. Here’s how to work with them:
Log into your mailing list – make sure to use your Pro Dada Root Password, as this screen is, by default, only available to those who use that password (the List Password won’t show this screen!)
Once logged on, navigate to, Mailing List: List Consents
This screen will allow you to add as many explicit, and separate different points of consents you would like the users of your mailing list to give you.
Find the form labeled, Create a New Consent
Fill out the textbox with the new point of consent and click, Save New Consent.
That’s it! You’re done!
The List Consents you have set up will now show up on your mailing list subscription form, next to checkboxes (unchecked) a user will have to explicitly check in order to then join your mailing list.
When a user requests a subscription for your mailing list, the request will be recorded, along with exactly which List Consents the user has agreed to.
Once a user has joined your mailing list, this data can be seen being reported from within the list control panel. Log back in (if you aren’t logged in still), and navigate to: Membership: View.
Search/Select an address you would like to see the report about.
Once on the individual user’s screen, click the, Subscriber History tab.
Data about their subscription will be shown.
This data can be exported via CSV – click the button in this same tab labeled, Export Subscriber Activity (.csv)

How Should You Construct A List Consent?

All my points about this are going to be from the ICO doc, linked about (and here). Here’s some things to include:
  • The name of your organization
  • Why you want the data (example: join your mailing list)
  • What you will do with it  (example: email updates/news/announcements, etc)

Dada Mail’s subscription forms also lists the fact:

  • that individuals can withdraw consent at any time.
as well as a link to the privacy policy for the mailing list – so that’s already covered.

Will I Need Additional List Consents?

Are you doing anything else with the information you’re collecting? If so, yes! You will have to explicitly ask your user to grant you that consent. Remember to list why your want the data, and what you will do with it, as well as any third-party involved with the user of the data. There’s a good chance that all you’re using a mailing list’s data for is (get ready) for the mailing list, which makes your life easy.

This goes the other way, too. Did you NOT ask for explicit consent to use a person’s information in a specific way?! Then guess what, you can’t use it in a way they haven’t given their consent to. That’s it! That’s the whole idea around this mechanism of asking for a user’s consent on the use of their data.

Stick with your end of the bargain! This is a dead-easy way to gain the trust of your users. This trust is critical in developing a positive relationship with your users!

Revoking Consent As a User

This one is an easy concept: a subscriber removes consent by unsubscribing from a mailing list. When that happens, the personal information (including the email address) won’t be used for anything when it comes to the mailing list itself. The user can still be a part of the mailing list again, but they must again provide their explicit consent to do so.
Unsubscribing is very easy to do in Dada Mail. For public mailing lists, a working unsubscription link is required to be in place in all mailing list messages sent out by the app itself. If one isn’t found, Dada Mail will put one in on your behalf.
Unsubscribing is also available from within a user’s profile.
Data about the unsubscription and removal of the consent for this mailing list will also be recorded.

More Information

For a Deep Dive on Dada Mail and GDPR Compliance, see this doc:

Getting Started with SparkPost Email Delivery Service and Dada Mail

SparkPost is a new Email Delivery Service. In this post, I’ll go over how to set up Dada Mail to utilize it. Using a third party email delivery service is a GREAT way to cost effectively support large mailing lists, without having to chose a different, and perhaps more costly website hosting account just to bump up your hourly email limitations. Instead, keep your current hosting setup for your website (and your Dada Mail!), but get more horsepower  in the email sending department by using a third party email sending service. We have a list of various third party email delivery services that we curate here. One advantage SparkPost has over Amazon SES is a much easier setup.

Before we get started, you may want to make sure you can connection to the outgoing SMTP server using either port 2525 or port 587. For example, my shared hosting account on Bluehost does NOT have these ports open. For Bluehost, I would have purchase a dedicated IP address to be able to use port 2525. Your own hosting account may be set up differently – double check what you’re able to do with your webhost.

Ok! Here we go:

Continue reading…

Easily Use Dada Mail with Google Analytics Campaign Tracking

Dada Mail v10.7.0 comes with new options in the Send a Message, and Send a Webpage screens, to help you easily create special query parameters that can then be understood by using Google Analytics. with them,  you can then keep track of visitors that originate from your mass mailings.

In this blog post, I’m going to assume you’re familiar with Google Analytics, and using its UTM query parameters to create custom campaigns. But, if you’re not, check out the  Google Analytics site, the docs on Custom Campaigns, the docs on Best Practices for Custom Campaigns, as well as Google’s own URL builder.

So, let’s get to it! We’ll need version 10.7.0 of Dada Mail to have this feature available, so if you haven’t already, install or upgrade to at least  v10.7.0.

First, log into your list control panel, and make sure you’re on the Send a Message screen. Find and click the tab labeled, Options.

Within that tab, click the tab labeled, Analytics:

This will reveal all the options for transforming the links in your message to work with Google Analytics and its Custom Campaigns:

Add UTM parameters to links with the following domains:

Check this option to enable the feature itself. When it’s disabled (which is the default), none of the links in your message will be touched.

Dada Mail can add the custom UTM parameters to every link in your message, or only to links that go to specific domains. If you leave the textbox underneath this option blank, all links will have custom UTM parameters added to them.

But, if you would like to only target specific domains, just list them in the textbox – separate each domain with a space:

In the example above, I’ve enabled adding the UTM parameters, and I’ve listed two domains to add them to, and, Don’t list these domains with, “http://” or, “https://” – just the domain itself.

The rest of the options available are the actual UTM parameters you can set. There are five:

For a full description of what each of these for, see the docs I’ve linked above – start with this one which explains the custom parameters. For your convenience, we’ve set defaults for Campaign Source to the app’s name and Campaign Medium to email, so that right off the bat, any outgoing links you have you’ll know are coming from Pro Dada’s email messages!

Campaign Term is an interesting one, as we treat it a bit special than the others. You may set a default for ALL links in the textbox provided, but Dada Mail will also do its best to try to find the text associated with the actual link click.

For example, if in the source of your message, you have the following:

<a href="">Dada Mail Mailing List Manager</a>

Dada Mail will set the Campaign Term to, Dada Mail Mailing List Manager. Then, you’ll know that that specific link was clicked, and not the link you have with the same URL in it, that says:

<a href="">
    Download and Install Today!

This will report a Campaign Term of, Download and Install Today! You can then track which links work better in your mass mailings.

In fact, all these parameters can be overridden in two other different ways.

The first is to simply set the parameters yourself. If you use Google’s Campaign URL Builder for example, and use the URL it creates in your message, Dada Mail will observe those parameters, and will not override them. For example, let’s set the Campaign Term to, “Best Mailing List Manager” in the URL Builder:

Here’s the URL it created for me:

If I then use this URL like so:

<a href=">
    Download and Install Today!

Dada Mail will keep the Campaign Term, Best Mailing List Manager instead of using the text that’s within your anchor tag, Download and Install Today!, or with whatever you set in the Campaign Term in the Analytics Tag. Options!

Finally, you may set any of the UTM parameters using attributes inside the anchor tag itself So, for example, to set the Campaign Term in an attribute, I would use the following attribute: data-utm_term:

<a href="" data-utm_term="Give+them+the+goods">
    Download and Install Today!

Now, the Campaign term will be set by Dada Mail to, Give them the goods instead of, Download and Install Today!

Here’s the order of precedence to all this:

  • Any query parameters found in the link itself have the highest precedence.
  • Next, are the dada-utm_* attributes in the anchor tag, itself
  • Then, (for Campaign Term), it’s the actual text found wrapped inside the anchor tag
  • Finally, the parameters you set within the Send a Message/Send a Webpage screen will be used.

And that’s the new support for created the custom UTM parameters to be used in conjunction with platforms like Google Analytics. Give it a try, and let us know how it’s working for you. We’re looking forward on building upon this start of the feature and to add improvements over time!


Configuring your Dada Mail install to work over https

Many website owners are moving their site’s configuration from http to https connections.

But, when they do so, they find that their Dada Mail installs seem to become broken: images don’t show up, and no styles are applied. What to do?

Thankfully, the fix is simple: all you’ll need to do is change your Dada Mail’s global configuration from your old http address, to your new https address.

The easiest way to do that is to use the included Dada Mail installer and the easiest way to set up the installer to work is to use the Global Configuration plugin. Hopefully, you can do this before you switch over to https, as everything will work well – but don’t worry, it’s also possible to do this after switching to https. We’ll go through the other way, as well.

Log in a mailing list you’re administrating with Dada Mail.  In the upper menu, go to: Plugins: Global Configuration:

Global Config is a pretty simple plugin, and only presents to you one button to push labeled, Reconfigure Dada Mail/Pro Dada…:

Once pressed, you’ll be returned into the Dada Mail installer, where you can make the chances you’ll need. Of course, the Dada Mail install allows you to make many different global configuration chances, so it’s pretty useful outside our task for today! Be careful though, since you can misconfigure your installation, which you definitely do not want to do.

Once in the installer, we’ll want to look at two configuration variables specifically:

  • Pro Dada Program URL
  •  URL to the Support Files Directory

Simply change these variables from their http version to their https version, click, “Configure Dada Mail/Pro Dada”, finishing the installation processs – and you’re done!

If your website has already been configured to only use https connections, your Dada Mail may be inoperable to a certain extent, until you make this change. You can still visit the installer by doing the work of the Global Config plugin manually:

Login into your site via ssh/FTP/web-based file manager – something that will allow you to make changes to your site’s files/directories, and navigate to where you’ve set up your, “dada” directory:

  • Rename the, “dada/installer-a.bunch.of.letters.and.numbers” directory back to, “dada/installer”
  • Change the file permission of the, “dada/installer/install.cgi” script back to, “755”
  • Visit the “install.cgi” script in your browser

Then, repeat the process above.

And that’s it! You’ve changed your Dada Mail/Pro Dada install from using an http connection to a https connection.

Again, you can use the Global Config plugin to modify many more global configuration variables. Here are the docs on the global configuration variables available. Good luck!

Using Rich Filemanager to Add Images and Attachments in Dada Mail

v10.5.0 of Dada Mail comes with a new file browser/uploader, called Rich Filemanager! This tool allows you to select files from your desktop computer, upload them to the server that Dada Mail is running on, and select the file to add as an inline image or as a file attachment for your mass mailing. Once the file has been uploaded, you may use it again for another mass mailing.

Continue reading…

Dada Mail v10.5.0 Beta 1 Released: Rich File Manager Support!

10.5.0 Beta 1 is out! Give it a try, and give back and feedback you may have:

Download and Install (Pro Dada version is available, too)


Rich Filemanager Support

Dada Mail has come shipped with multiple file managers: KCFinder, and Core5 Filemanger. We’re adding a new filemanager called, Rich Filemanager ( which will be set as the default.

Rich Filemanager is an update of Core 5 Filemanager, which has shown a slowdown of development and is listed as, “deprecated” by its developer.

Rich Filemanager comes with some pretty great features and enhancments over Core 5 Filemanager:

  • Drag-and-drop support
  • Clipboard feature: copy, cut, paste, clear
  • Multiple & chunked uploads support – based on jQuery-File-Upload
  • New design of multiple upload window; New upload controls for each previewed file (start, abort, resume, delete, etc.)
  • Online text / code editor – based on codeMirror
  • Online PDF & OpenOffice documents viewer – based on viewerJS
  • Online MS Office documents viewer – based on Google Docs Viewer
  • Extended list of previewed file types via ViewerJS

and more.

We are not yet removing support either of the two current file managers, so if you’re happy with them, keep using them!

Demo: Easily Import and Export Subscribers in a Dada Mail Mailing List

We get asked quite a bit about if it’s possible to import an already existing mailing list into Dada Mail, as well as if it’s possible to export a mailing list out. The answer to both of these questions is a resounding, yes! The above screen cast should demo both of these abilities quite nicely. (Sorry for the cracklin’ mic.!)

Some notes on importing to make things even easier:

If you’re importing a mailing list used for things like public announcements and marketing, you’ll need to make sure that either the mailing list only has already confirmed subscribers (like if you’re moving from a past system, to Dada Mail), or that you’re actually importing the addresses to invite them to your mailing list, rather than subscribing them outright. This is a very importing point when running a public mailing list: only have confirmed subscribers!

Log in with your Dada Mail Root Password. This will give you privileges to do the mass import by default.

If you want to give privileges to someone that logs in with the List Password, change the list settings to allow this:

  • Go to, Mailing List: Options.
  • Check, Allow subscriptions in the List Control Panel, without confirmation
  • Uncheck, Only allow when logged in with the Pro Dada Root Password

Don’t go over import limit set! By default, Dada Mail only allows 5,000 subscribers to be imported at once. This is to prevent the app from trying to chew through too much data at one time, and failing. If you would like raise/eliminate this limitation that can also be done in the List Control Panel:

  • Go to: Membership: Options
  • To remove the limit, uncheck, Limit the number of addresses processed to:
  • To change the limit, select a new value in the popup menu below this option

We do have an older screencast going into more detail on how to import a mailing list into Dada Mail – much of what’s available now is the same, athough the UI has been redesigned since this screen cast has been made: