Are My Mass Mailings Being Received? Part #1: Sending Errors and the Tracker plugin

I work with a whole lot of different clients in making sure their mass mailings are going out successfully. One of the pressing issues they’re always worried about is: did my message actually get sent out?

Although we can’t ultimately control where a message will be delivered when it finds itself into a mail client,  we can do our best to make sure that things are working as best as possible on our end. I’m going to talk about ways to verify that sending is working out correctly, using the Tracker plugin that comes with Dada Mail.

Sending Errors

Sending errors on your side can happen for a couple of reasons. One reason is that the authentication of your mail server/service has changed, and what has been saved in your mailing list settings is now incorrect.

Enter the Tracker plugin: among many other jobs, it does keep track of sending errors. I’ll demonstrate this with a test mailing list with a just few subscribers. I’ll set up my sending options to use an SMTP server that I know doesn’t exist: I’ve set my SMTP server to, inconceivable! which… isn’t even a valid name for an SMTP server!

This will all but guarantee I’ll get sending errors on my end:

To confirm we’ve totally botched up our sending options, we can try them out by clicking the button labeled, Save, Then Test, which will open up a modal window showing the results of testing our sending options:

As expected, Dada Mail is having problems connecting to this non-existent SMTP server. So, it should be no surprise that when we send a mass mailing, we’ll also have problems.

So, let’s do just that!

I’m going to send a mass mailing out to a subscription list with just three addresses, and see what the Tracker plugin tells me.

While I wait for my mass mailing to finishing, one strange thing that may be tip me off that there’s a problem is how slow my  mass mailing seems to be taking. Hmm! I wonder what could be going on? If I check my error logs using the Log Viewer plugin, I see lines in the log that look similar to this,

[Mon Jan 30 21:27:09 2017] mail.cgi: [j] Mass Cannot send to, address: after 2 x 3 tries, skipping and logging address. at DADA/Mail/ line 1951.

Even if Dada Mail has trouble sending out to an address, it does try re-sending the same message out a few times, just in case the first attempt and error was a fluke. If it’s not successful, it’ll wait a brief period of time before trying again.

This slowdown is not by accident: many mass mailing sending problems are because the mass mailing options are set to send out messages at too fast of a rate, which leads you to go over your hourly email quota set up for your account. Check your host/email service to see if you fall under such a restriction. Most shared hosts have some sort of hourly email restriction.

Once my mass mailing completed, I checked the Tracker plugin, and found this:

Yup: a 100% failure rate of sending out to my mailing list. D’oh!

This type of evidence:

the test in the sending options failing

the mass mailing taking longer than I would have anticipated

the specific error logs about sending problems

the Tracker plugin reporting a 100% sending error rate

Makes me believe that there’s a problem on MY side! In this case, it’s my SMTP server set up incorrectly, and not something else, like my email server being black listed, or my messages going to a junk folder. This is a problem I can easily fix on my side (use the right SMTP credentials!) and not something I’ll need to investigate further, until I fixed this problem


Use Dada Mail to create a mass mailing from a blog feed, then send it on a recurring schedule

In Dada Mail v10.3.0, the ability to mass mail the content of a blog’s feed was added. We’re going to go over the steps on how to send thtis type of message, then how to send out the mass mailing on a recurring schedule that will be sent whenever new content in the feed is available. That way, we’ll be able to automatically send out new mass mailings in the future without any additional work, helping your users be updated when new blog entries are available to be viewed.

For this walk-through, I’ll be using the blog of The Long Ranger (, an outdoor mountain athlete.

In Dada Mail’s list control panel, go to Mass Mailing: Send a Webpage. In the HTML Version tab,  select the radio button, Grab content from an RSS/Atom feed. The options for this selection will be shown, and the first textbox presented is where you plug in the URL of your feed. In my case it’s,

For the other options, I’m going to select, Use Just the Summary, (rather than, Use Full Content) and I’m setting, Maximum number of entries to include: to, 3.

I’m also going to add some HTML to be shown before the entries are listed,

<h1>How-do, partners,</h1> 

<p>Here are the latest stories I've written:</p>

and after:

<h2>See you on the trails,</h2>

Here’s how that all looks,

And when I preview everything,

Perfect! I can see that the feed is being successfully fetched, and placed into my message!

I could stop here and be satisfied about sending out this single message, but let’s now set it on a recurring schedule. On the top button bar, click, Save As: Schedule. A draft of the message will be saved, and the screen itself will refresh. New scheduling options will be shown at the top of the screen.

Check, Activate, and select, Recurring. I want this to send only once a week on Monday, at 6:00am, and only when there’s fresh content:

If there are no new entries, no message will be sent out. If there’s only one new entry, only that one entry will be sent out. That way, I won’t send out content I’ve already sent out before. Who wants to get the same message, twice?

All I have to do now is click the, Save Schedule button – and I’m done! Here’s what it all looks like when sent:

Some flourishes you may notice: the Subject, The Latest Wild Adventures Since January 2nd, 2017 is dynamic! It will change based on when the message is sent. This is accomplished by using some date-related template tags. Here’s what those look like:

The Latest Wild Adventures Since <!-- tmpl_var date.named_month --> <!-- tmpl_var date.nth_day -->, <!-- tmpl_var date.year -->

I’m also using an email theme that ships with Dada Mail called, Salmon Are Running. You can switch which theme your mailing list uses in, Appearance: Email Themes. Finally, I’ve set an image to be shown on the top banner of my email messages. You can set your own image under, Mailing List: List Information; look for the option labeled, Logo Image URL.