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Mail::Sendmail v. 0.79 - Simple platform independent mailer


  use Mail::Sendmail;

  %mail = ( To      => '',
            From    => '',
            Message => "This is a very short message"

  sendmail(%mail) or die $Mail::Sendmail::error;

  print "OK. Log says:\n", $Mail::Sendmail::log;


Simple platform independent e-mail from your perl script. Only requires Perl 5 and a network connection.

Mail::Sendmail contains mainly &sendmail, which takes a hash with the message to send and sends it. It is intended to be very easy to setup and use. See also "FEATURES" below.



perl -MCPAN -e "install Mail::Sendmail"

    perl Makefile.PL
    make test
    make install

Copy to Mail/ in your Perl lib directory.

    (eg. c:\Perl\site\lib\Mail\
     or  /usr/lib/perl5/site_perl/Mail/
     or whatever it is on your system.
     They are listed when you type C< perl -V >)
ActivePerl's PPM

ppm install --location= Mail-Sendmail

But this way you don't get a chance to have a look at other files (Changes, Todo,, ...).

At the top of, set your default SMTP server(s), unless you specify it with each message, or want to use the default (localhost).

Install MIME::QuotedPrint. This is not required but strongly recommended.


Automatic time zone detection, Date: header, MIME quoted-printable encoding (if MIME::QuotedPrint installed), all of which can be overridden.

Bcc: and Cc: support.

Allows real names in From:, To: and Cc: fields

Doesn't send an X-Mailer: header (unless you do), and allows you to send any header(s) you want.

Configurable retries and use of alternate servers if your mail server is down

Good plain text error reporting


Headers are not encoded, even if they have accented characters.

No suport for the SMTP AUTH extension.

Since the whole message is in memory, it's not suitable for sending very big attached files.

The SMTP server has to be set manually in or in your script, unless you have a mail server on localhost.

Doesn't work on OpenVMS, I was told. Cannot test this myself.


Default SMTP server(s)

This is probably all you want to configure. It is usually done through $mailcfg{smtp}, which you can edit at the top of the file. This is a reference to a list of SMTP servers. You can also set it from your script:

unshift @{$Mail::Sendmail::mailcfg{'smtp'}} , 'my.mail.server';

Alternatively, you can specify the server in the %mail hash you send from your script, which will do the same thing:

$mail{smtp} = 'my.mail.server';

A future version will (hopefully) try to set useful defaults for you during the Makefile.PL.

Other configuration settings

See %mailcfg under "DETAILS" below for other configuration options.



sendmail is the only thing exported to your namespace by default

sendmail(%mail) || print "Error sending mail: $Mail::Sendmail::error\n";

It takes a hash containing the full message, with keys for all headers, body, and optionally for another non-default SMTP server and/or port.

It returns 1 on success or 0 on error, and rewrites $Mail::Sendmail::error and $Mail::Sendmail::log.

Keys are NOT case-sensitive.

The colon after headers is not necessary.

The Body part key can be called 'Body', 'Message' or 'Text'.

The SMTP server key can be called 'Smtp' or 'Server'. If the connection to this one fails, the other ones in $mailcfg{smtp} will still be tried.

The following headers are added unless you specify them yourself:

    Mime-Version: 1.0
    Content-Type: 'text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"'

    Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable
    or (if MIME::QuotedPrint not installed)
    Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit

    Date: [string returned by time_to_date()]

If you wish to use an envelope sender address different than the From: address, set $mail{Sender} in your %mail hash.

The following are not exported by default, but you can still access them with their full name, or request their export on the use line like in: use Mail::Sendmail qw(sendmail $address_rx time_to_date);


convert time ( as from time() ) to an RFC 822 compliant string for the Date header. See also "%Mail::Sendmail::mailcfg".


When you don't run with the -w flag, the module sends no errors to STDERR, but puts anything it has to complain about in here. You should probably always check if it says something.


A summary that you could write to a log file after each send


A handy regex to recognize e-mail addresses.

A correct regex for valid e-mail addresses was written by one of the judges in the obfuscated Perl contest... :-) It is quite big. This one is an attempt to a reasonable compromise, and should accept all real-world internet style addresses. The domain part is required and comments or characters that would need to be quoted are not supported.

    $rx = $Mail::Sendmail::address_rx;
    if (/$rx/) {


This hash contains all configuration options. You normally edit it once (if ever) in and forget about it, but you could also access it from your scripts. For readability, I'll assume you have imported it (with something like use Mail::Sendmail qw(sendmail %mailcfg)).

The keys are not case-sensitive: they are all converted to lowercase before use. Writing $mailcfg{Port} = 2525; is OK: the default $mailcfg{port} (25) will be deleted and replaced with your new value of 2525.


$mailcfg{smtp} = [qw(localhost my.other.mail.server)];

This is a reference to a list of smtp servers, so if your main server is down, the module tries the next one. If one of your servers uses a special port, add it to the server name with a colon in front, to override the default port (like in my.special.server:2525).

Default: localhost.


$mailcfg{from} = 'Mailing script';

From address used if you don't supply one in your script. Should not be of type 'user@localhost' since that may not be valid on the recipient's host.

Default: undefined.


$mailcfg{mime} = 1;

Set this to 0 if you don't want any automatic MIME encoding. You normally don't need this, the module should 'Do the right thing' anyway.

Default: 1;


$mailcfg{retries} = 1;

How many times should the connection to the same SMTP server be retried in case of a failure.

Default: 1;


$mailcfg{delay} = 1;

Number of seconds to wait between retries. This delay also happens before trying the next server in the list, if the retries for the current server have been exhausted. For CGI scripts, you want few retries and short delays to return with a results page before the http connection times out. For unattended scripts, you may want to use many retries and long delays to have a good chance of your mail being sent even with temporary failures on your network.

Default: 1 (second);


$mailcfg{tz} = '+0800';

Normally, your time zone is set automatically, from the difference between time() and gmtime(). This allows you to override automatic detection in cases where your system is confused (such as some Win32 systems in zones which do not use daylight savings time: see Microsoft KB article Q148681)

Default: undefined (automatic detection at run-time).


$mailcfg{port} = 25;

Port used when none is specified in the server name.

Default: 25.


$mailcfg{debug} = 0;

Prints stuff to STDERR. Current maximum is 6, which prints the whole SMTP session, except data exceeding 500 bytes.

Default: 0;


The package version number (you can not import this one)

Configuration variables from previous versions

The following global variables were used in version 0.74 for configuration. As from version 0.78_1, they are not supported anymore. Use the %mailcfg hash if you need to access the configuration from your scripts.



  use Mail::Sendmail;

  print "Testing Mail::Sendmail version $Mail::Sendmail::VERSION\n";
  print "Default server: $Mail::Sendmail::mailcfg{smtp}->[0]\n";
  print "Default sender: $Mail::Sendmail::mailcfg{from}\n";

  %mail = (
      #To      => 'No to field this time, only Bcc and Cc',
      #From    => 'not needed, use default',
      Bcc     => 'Someone <>, Someone else',
      # only addresses are extracted from Bcc, real names disregarded
      Cc      => 'Yet someone else <>',
      # Cc will appear in the header. (Bcc will not)
      Subject => 'Test message',
      'X-Mailer' => "Mail::Sendmail version $Mail::Sendmail::VERSION",

  $mail{Smtp} = '';
  $mail{'X-custom'} = 'My custom additionnal header';
  $mail{'mESSaGE : '} = "The message key looks terrible, but works.";
  # cheat on the date:
  $mail{Date} = Mail::Sendmail::time_to_date( time() - 86400 );

  if (sendmail %mail) { print "Mail sent OK.\n" }
  else { print "Error sending mail: $Mail::Sendmail::error \n" }

  print "\n\$Mail::Sendmail::log says:\n", $Mail::Sendmail::log;

Also see for examples of HTML mail and sending attachments.


Main changes since version 0.78:

Added "/" (\x2F) as a valid character in mailbox part.

Removed old configuration variables which are not used anymore since version 0.74.

Added support for different envelope sender (through $mail{Sender})

Changed case of headers: first character after "-" also uppercased

Support for multi-line server responses

Localized $\ and $_

Some internal rewrites and documentation updates

Fixed old bug of dot as 76th character on line disappearing.

Fixed very old bug where port number was not extracted from stuff like 'my.server:2525'.

Fixed time_to_date bug with negative half-hour zones (only Newfoundland?)

Added seconds to date string

Now uses Sys::Hostname to get the hostname for HELO. (This may break the module on some very old Win32 Perls where Sys::Hostname was broken)

Enable full session output for debugging

See the Changes file for the full history. If you don't have it because you installed through PPM, you can also find the latest one on


Milivoj Ivkovic <mi\> ("\x40" is "@" of course)


MIME::QuotedPrint is used by default on every message if available. It allows reliable sending of accented characters, and also takes care of too long lines (which can happen in HTML mails). It is available in the MIME-Base64 package at or through PPM.

Look at for additional info (CGI, examples of sending attachments, HTML mail etc...)

You can use this module freely. (Someone complained this is too vague. So, more precisely: do whatever you want with it, but be warned that terrible things will happen to you if you use it badly, like for sending spam, or ...?)

Thanks to the many users who sent me feedback, bug reports, suggestions, etc. And please excuse me if I forgot to answer your mail. I am not always reliabe in answering mail. I intend to set up a mailing list soon.

Last revision: 06.02.2003. Latest version should be available on CPAN: