PHPMailer — Installing on a VPS or Dedicated 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 VPS or Dedicated Server using Composer. If your website is on a shared server, view the following article instead.

Install PHPMailer using Composer

The recommended way to install PHPMailer is through composer on a VPS or Dedicated Server.

  1. View the following article to set up composer on your DreamHost server:
  2. Once composer is configured, navigate to the directory you wish to install PHPMailer in.
  3. In that directory, install PHPMailer by running the following command:
    [server]$ composer require phpmailer/phpmailer

    This installs PHPMailer into a folder called /vendor in the directory where the command was run.

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. Then add the full path to the vendor directory you created in step #2 above.

Path to the autoload.php file — This is the full path to the autoload.php file. This is different depending on where you installed PHPMailer. Make sure to change this path to the location where you installed PHPMailer.

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;

//Load composer's autoloader
require '/home/username/path-to-vendor-dir/vendor/autoload.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 587
    $mail->Port = 465;                                    // TCP port to connect to

    $mail->setFrom('', 'Mailer');
    $mail->addAddress('', 'Joe User');     // Add a recipient
    //$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;

It is recommended to use port 465 with SSL as shown above.

You could optionally use port 587 with TLS.

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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