Add Mailing List to WordPress

This guide explains how to add a mailing list to WordPress and let users subscribe to the mailing list on your WordPress site.

First of all, a mailing list needs a backend, so any time you want to set one up, it’s going to be a two-step process, but don’t worry! It’s easy.

The first thing we have to do is install the mailing list software. For this we are going to use PHPlist – it’s the best and it’s very easy to use.

If you use a hosting service that offers Fantastico to install applications (which pretty much all of them do):

  • Head into Fantastico
  • Select PHPlist on the left side (under Mailing Lists)
  • Create a new installation in a /lists/ folder on your site
  • Set the admin username and password and the email address you would like to use for the mailing list
  • You can skip the section immediately below this one

If you do not use a web hosting service, just download the latest version of PHPlist from their website and extract and upload it to the public_html/lists/ section of your web server.

Now we have to setup the list:

  • Go to the URL where you installed PHPlist (probably http://YOURSITE.com/lists/)
  • Go to the mainpage
  • Select setup
  • Go to initialize database – if you see any errors, you’ll have to login to phpmyadmin (try http://YOURSITE/phpMyAdmin or, click the phpMyAdmin link from the backend of your web hosting service, usually pretty close to where you clicked Fantastico)
    • Click the SQL tab at the top
    • Paste in the following line and hit Go (make sure to change the database name to the one that you are using, i.e. mysite77_plst1)
    • ALTER DATABASE firsts77_plst1 DEFAULT CHARACTER SET latin1
    • If you got the message “Your SQL query has been executed successfully” then you are good to go, if not, you probably didn’t change the database name to your own.
    • Exit phpMyAdmin and go back to setting up your PHPlist
  • Go back to the mainpage -> setup
  • Go to configure attributes
  • Add 2 new attributes: Name and Email
  • Go back to the setup and create list
  • Go back to the setup and create a new subscribe page (just change the Title for now, everything else can stay the same)
  • NOTE:: In the Configure section there are a lot of options that you probably want to play around with – you don’t have to do that now, everything will work without customizing those items, but you probably want to come back to this area later to set things up the way you want them (i.e. change the “What name do system messages appear to come from” field

You’re finished setting up your PHPlist – now we just have to add a section on your WordPress site for users to subscribe to the mailing list

Head into the backend/dashboard section of your WordPress site

  • Go to the plugins section and hit Add New
  • Install the WP PHPList plugin and activate it
  • Go to the Settings section and select PHPlist
  • Fill in your information (make sure the Name and Email fields are checked off at the bottom)
  • Hit Update Options (top and bottom)

Now you need to add a new page to your WordPress site called Subscribe

  • Go to Pages -> Add New
  • Set the title to Subscribe
  • Hit the HTML button to add some code and past the following line:
    • <!–phplist form–>
  • Hit the Update Button and go check out your Subscribe Page

When you want to edit/manage/mail-to your list, go back into the area where we setup PHPlist (http://YOURSITE.com/lists)

  • To mage the users list, hit users (in the menu on the right)
  • To send a message, click send a message (in the menu on the right)

Feel free to ask any questions or post any problem, we reply very quickly.

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