PHPMailer — Installing on a shared server


PHPMailer allows you to send email from your site via SMTP. Visit PHPMailer’s GitHub page for further details on what it has to offer.

This article explains how to install PHPMailer on a shared server. If your website is on a VPS or Dedicated Server, view the following article instead.

In the following examples, username would be your Shell user and your website.

Installing PHPMailer

  1. Log into your server via SSH.
  2. Make sure you're in your user's home directory.
    [server]$ cd ~
  3. Download the zip file from
    [server]$ wget
  4. Unzip the file.
    [server]$ unzip
    This creates a directory named PHPMailer-master.
  5. Rename this directory.
    [server]$ mv PHPMailer-master PHPMailer

Basic code example for email hosted at DreamHost

Create a new PHP file and name it something like phpmail.php

It can be named anything and be placed in any directory.

Insert the following code into the PHP file.

You only need to update the code in bold.

username — Make sure to change the 'username' field to your actual shell username. You can also view this by running the following command.

[server]$ echo $USER

Host — If you're sending from a DreamHost address, you should only use If you are using a Gmail address, use

Username and setFrom must both be an email on the domain you're sending from.

// Import PHPMailer classes into the global namespace
// These must be at the top of your script, not inside a function
use PHPMailer\PHPMailer\PHPMailer;
use PHPMailer\PHPMailer\Exception;

require '/home/username/PHPMailer/src/Exception.php';
require '/home/username/PHPMailer/src/PHPMailer.php';
require '/home/username/PHPMailer/src/SMTP.php';

$mail = new PHPMailer(true);                              // Passing `true` enables exceptions
try {
    //Server settings
    $mail->SMTPDebug = 2;                                 // Enable verbose debug output
    $mail->isSMTP();                                      // Set mailer to use SMTP
    $mail->Host = '';                  // Specify main and backup SMTP servers
    $mail->SMTPAuth = true;                               // Enable SMTP authentication
    $mail->Username = '';             // SMTP username
    $mail->Password = 'secret';                           // SMTP password
    $mail->SMTPSecure = 'ssl';                            // Enable SSL encryption, TLS also accepted with port 465
    $mail->Port = 465;                                    // TCP port to connect to

    $mail->setFrom('', 'Mailer');          //This is the email your form sends From
    $mail->addAddress('', 'Joe User'); // Add a recipient address
    //$mail->addAddress('');               // Name is optional
    //$mail->addReplyTo('', 'Information');

    //$mail->addAttachment('/var/tmp/file.tar.gz');         // Add attachments
    //$mail->addAttachment('/tmp/image.jpg', 'new.jpg');    // Optional name

    $mail->isHTML(true);                                  // Set email format to HTML
    $mail->Subject = 'Subject line goes here';
    $mail->Body    = 'Body text goes here';
    //$mail->AltBody = 'This is the body in plain text for non-HTML mail clients';

    echo 'Message has been sent';
} catch (Exception $e) {
    echo 'Message could not be sent.';
    echo 'Mailer Error: ' . $mail->ErrorInfo;

DreamHost recommends using port 465 with SSL as shown above. You can optionally use port 587, which PHPMailer automatically upgrades to the highest version of TLS supported by the server via STARTTLS.

Running the file

The file you created is a simple PHP file, so it can be run like this:

[server]$ php phpmail.php

This sends an email to the recipient address you added to the script.

Using PHPMailer in a contact form

The code above is a simple example that sends an email when the script is run. Most often, a contact form is used to send the email. View the following link for an example of using PHPMailer in a contact form instead.

The following page lists additional examples of other ways you could use PHPMailer.

Allowing GMAIL to send from your mail application

If you're using your GMAIL address to send via SMTP, you must first allow your application access to your GMAIL address. If you do not do this, your email will not authenticate and not send. View the following article for details:

See also

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