Sending newsletters with site updates is a common task, as is sending out one off special notifications. Which module is the best choice?
- Mime Mail 55932 users
- Simplenews 51442 users
- Mass Contact 6255 users
- Newsletter 4926 users
- Advanced User
- Autoresponder adds an autoresponder to mime mail.
- Email Newsletters
- CRM often has newsletter facilities.
- External mail services
Mime mail, https://drupal.org/project/mimemail, can also replace the standard Drupal mail so that all your administration mail, registration confirmations, and everything else, is themed the same way as your site. Some other mail modules (such as Simplenews) uses Mime mail to format and send mail.
55932 sites report using this module as of 20 September, 2013. Version 7.x-1.0-alpha2 is available as of 2012-Aug-22.
Simplenews, https://drupal.org/project/simplenews, is the easiest way to produce newsletters for email. In Simplenews a newsletter issue is a content node and lets you produce the type of newsletter that will go through the email system.
Simplenews uses Mime Mail to send HTML mail.
Simplenews lets you send out a test email from the newsletter issue edit page and Mime mail will use the theme from the edit page. If you use a separate theme for administration, or for content editing, your newsletters will use the wrong theme. There is an issue open for this and it looks close to resolution.
51442 sites currently report using this module. There is a full D7 release.
Mass Contact is expanded from the core site contact module to send email by user role. Now has groups of roles, opt out, and a bunch of other features.
Used by 6255 sites. D7 version is up to beta 3.
Newsletter module aims to be a full blown newsletter solution for Drupal 7. It is especially recommended for people that need more than one newsletter list for their site.
4,926 sites currently report using this module. D7 version is beta 9.
The Advanced User module allows users who have "administer users" permission to send mail to selected groups of users, and that includes selection by role.
Used by 8223 sites. The D7 port is up to alpha 2.
E-publish, https://drupal.org/project/epublish, lets you build a newspaper online and could be used for a newsletter. E-publish divides issues into sections then topics and every topic can have multiple stories with each story a separate node. If you used all the features of E-publish to produce a newsletter, including multiple writers adding articles into each topic, the email would be too big for Gmail and similar services.
E-publish sends the newsletter to the Send module then Send sends the mail to Mime Mail to produce HTML mail. Send is still in alpha for D6 and has many bugs when used with Mime Mail. An attempt to use E-publish at http://d-theme.com for a HTML mail based newsletter was a disaster. Simplenews replaced E-publish and did everything required for a newsletter.
130 sites use the D6 version of this module. See https://drupal.org/node/984360 for the status of D7 (none so far).
98 sites currently report using this module. D6 version still alpha. No sign of a D7 version.
60 sites use Email Newsletters. The project contains a bunch of modules that collectively provide a lot of functions. The modules have many dependencies. Email bounce handling is under development.
There is no mention of a D7 version, not even an issue open for D7. This would be a dangerous choice for a D6 site that is going to be upgraded. When looking toward a D6 to D7 upgrade in 2012, you want a project that has a D7 version at least at the beta stage.
The documentation is a slideshow spread out and the content really hard to read. Would be better to copy the documentation to regular HTML pages.
There are newsletter facilities in the CRM modules including CiviCRM, https://drupal.org/project/civicrm. You should look at them when you want more contact information and management or want to run advertising campaigns instead of simple newsletters.
No release available, latest commit for Drupal 6, used by 6 sites.
External mail services
Notes on external services:
One nice thing about having a third-party service, like MailChimp, handle your actual mailing, is that they will deal with the hassle of your site getting black-listed as a possible spam-source, if ever that happens. If Google, Yahoo, or any other major email service ever suspects your site as being a source of spam and decides to blacklist you (meaning that anyone with an @gmail.com or @yahoo.com email address will suddenly and silently stop receiving your mailings), getting your server unblacklisted is a *giant* pain, and a bit of a black art. But with a third-party service, they have experts on staff who know how to deal with this sort of thing and get it cleared up if/when it happens.
On one project the Web host had no limitations on sending email but slowed the mail delivery down to less than a 1000 per hour. Weekend specials sent out on Friday might not arrive until the following Monday. After a few months the Web host changed their terms of service without notification and threw away any mail over 1000 per hour. If you do not have a written agreement with your hosting company on mail volumes, use an external service.
Mailman, www.gnu.org/software/mailman, is the world's most popular open source mailing list manager. There are several Drupal modules for connecting Drupal to Mailman.
You need to check the limitations on mail sent from the Mailman server. Find out what spam checking is in use and test your email before a bulk send. test what happens with a bounce. Check the mail received by the customer to make sure all the links have the right domain name. You may need to learn a few of the Mailman configuration options if the Mailman server is configured by someone else and not clearly documented.
Mailman Manager, https://drupal.org/project/mailman_manager, is the most popular Mailman interface with 2143 sites using it and a Drupal 7 version has reached release candidate .
User mailman register
User mailman register, https://drupal.org/project/user_mailman_register, is the next most popular Mailman interface with 2047 sites using it and there is a Drupal 7 version in alpha.
PHP list (no longer maintained)
PHP list is an option for e-mail campaigns. It is an outside program with Drupal integration at https://drupal.org/project/phplist.
From the developer: I have started the conversion process and released a D7-DEV version. Please test and let me know of any problems! If a couple of people can conform that it basically works, I can release it as a beta version.
E-goi Synchronization is an experiment at https://drupal.org/sandbox/E-goi/1110712.
The MailChimp module, https://drupal.org/project/mailchimp, connects to the external MailChimp service at mailchimp.com. You would use an external service if your Web host limits your email activity. MailChimp has an easy to read Web site and a million users. The service is free up to 2000 subscribers and 12000 email per month.
The MailChimp module is loaded into 6000 web sites. I am working on a project where the MailChimp module and service slipped in easily. There is a full module for D7 which makes a change from all the D7 modules still in beta.
The D7 version 2 module has many more features than the D6 version. One is the API for connecting from other modules. If you developed your own mail module and want to convert to D7, you might consider connecting to the MailChimp module API to reduce your workload.
A quick read suggests Campaign Monitor has extra features overlapping CRM. If you need those features and have a low volume of mail, consider the mailout features of CivicCRM coupled with a free entry level service from MailChimp or equivalent.
This is a wiki page. Please edit and add your experience of the following.
- Sending newsletters from Drupal
- Sending mail using anything other than the default Drupal mail
- Displaying archives of previous newsletters
- Managing and searching archives of previous mail