Post to your blog using email

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WordPress can be configured to use e-mail to post to a blog through the use of plugins or by configuring your WordPress installation yourself.

Using Plugins

Configure WordPress Install

To enable this functionality, you need to:

  1. Create a dedicated e-mail account to be used solely for posting to your blog
  2. Configure WordPress to access that account via POP3
  3. Configure WordPress to publish messages from that e-mail account

You can blog by e-mail using most standard e-mail software programs or a Weblog Client -- a program specifically designed to send posts via email.

Limitations: - Standard characters in the object - Plain text only

Setting Up Post via E-mail

Step 1 - Create an e-mail account

  1. Log in to WordPress with the administration login you use to administer your WordPress blog.
  2. Go to Settings > Writing.
  3. Read the instructions under Post via e-mail at the bottom of the page. At the end of these instructions, WordPress will suggest three random strings of numbers you may want to use for the login name of the new e-mail account you'll create. For WordPress Multisite, see the section below.
  4. Create a new e-mail account on your web host's mail server or a separate e-mail server, using one of the suggested numeric strings (or your own secret word) for the username (also called a "login name"). A mail server receives e-mails on your behalf and stores them for retrieval. Do not use public, free e-mail servers like Yahoo, Hotmail, etc., for this account.
    Note: It is strongly recommended that you use a "secret" address - that is, an e-mail account name that is very difficult to guess and known only to you, such as those suggested by WordPress. Any e-mail sent to this address will automatically be posted to your blog. Be aware, however, that some e-mail servers do not allow numbers-only e-mail accounts or accounts starting with a number. Please check with your web host.

Step 2 - Configure WordPress to access your new account

  1. When you are done creating the new e-mail account , return to the Writing Options panel and fill in the name of the mail server and port number your web hosting provider uses. (If you don't know these, refer to your web hosting provider's FAQ or manual pages. The port number is usually 110.) If your mail server requires an SSL (secure) connection, precede your mail server address with ssl://, e.g. ssl://
  2. Next, enter the login name and password for your new e-mail account .
    NOTE: In the Login Name field, use the full e-mail address (e.g.,
  3. Choose the default category that will be assigned to posts submitted via e-mail.
  4. Click Update Options .
NOTE: If you are using the Administration > Settings > Writing > Post via e-mail section to specify the e-mail address before you've actually created the e-mail account, remember to use the same login and password when you create the account as you specified in the section.

Step 3 - Publish Your E-mail Posts

You've created the new e-mail account and configured your WordPress blog to accept e-mails from that account, but you still need to set up WordPress to publish those e-mail messages on your blog. Do one of the following:

Manual Browser Activation

Go to the following link immediately after you send an e-mail to your new e-mail account. (Note: You must do this every time you send a new post.)

Automated Browser Activation

An alternative to manual browser activation is to add the following iframe code to the footer of your blog:

<iframe src="http://yourblogdomain/wordpressinstalldir/wp-mail.php" name="mailiframe" width="0" height="0" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title=""></iframe>

Edit the above line of code so that it refers to the location of your wp-mail.php file. Add this line of code to the footer.php file in the directory for whatever theme you are using (don't include it within an HTML paragraph).

You may have to refresh your blog to see the new post. New users may find this method the most helpful.

If you're using or would like to use the Postie Plugin for WordPress, use the following iframe code, which will call Postie's check mail commands:

<iframe src="http://yourblogdomain/wordpressinstalldir/wp-content/plugins/postie/get_mail.php?Submit=Run+Postie" name="mailiframe" width="0" height="0" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title=""> </iframe>

Add this code to your footer, and the next time anyone goes to your blog, your new emails will be automatically posted, so you need to do nothing but send them. You may have to refresh the blog to see the changes.

Action-based functions.php Activation

An alternative to calling the iframe on every page load (detailed above), or setting up a cron job (details below), you can add an action to your active theme's functions.php file. This will check for mail every 15 minutes and does not add any HTML to your theme.

add_action('shutdown', 'retrieve_post_via_mail');
function retrieve_post_via_mail() {
	flush(); // Display the page before the mail fetching begins
	if(get_transient('retrieve_post_via_mail')) { 
		return; // The mail has been checked recently; don't check again
	} else { // The mail has not been checked in more than 15 minutes
		$mail = wp_remote_get(get_bloginfo('wpurl').'/wp-mail.php');
		if(!is_wp_error($mail)) { // If retrieve succeeded
			set_transient('retrieve_post_via_mail', 1, 60 * 15); // check again in 15 minutes.
		} else {
			set_transient('retrieve_post_via_mail', 1, 60 * 5); // check again in 5 minutes; we don't want to overload the server

This method is good for users who would like to avoid using cron jobs, which are configured on the server. Unlike cron jobs, this process will only run when pages on the blog are loaded. Cron jobs run independent of site traffic.

WP-Cron Plugin Activation

Download, install, and activate the WP-Cron Plugin. It will work in the background without user intervention to update your site about every 15 minutes.

NOTE: WP-CRON is no longer supported by the author

Cron Job Activation

Set up a UNIX cron job to have your blog periodically view using a command-line HTTP agent like wget, curl or GET. The command to execute will look like:

wget -N

If you use a different program than wget, substitute that program and its arguments for wget in this line.

Note: Another possibility is to run "php /full/path/to/wp-mail.php" in a cronjob. This will run the php-script using php, without the need for an extra program to run. (You are more likely authorized to run php than wget.)

For more information about setting up a cron job, see:

Note to Windows Users: There are similar programs to cron available if your host runs Windows. For example, VisualCron, Cron for Windows and pycron. Consult these projects' documentation for further information.

Procmail Activation

If your server uses procmail, a simple .procmailrc in the blogmailaccounts home directory will be sufficient:

| wget -N

This could be more specific, such as capturing certain subject expressions. Check procmail for more information.

.qmail Activation

If your server uses qmail to process e-mail, you may be able to use it to call wp-mail.php whenever an e-mail message is delivered. To do this, first create a small shell script to call wp-mail.php. You could call the file wp-mail:

/bin/sh -c "sleep 5; /path/to/php /path/to/your/blog/wp-mail.php > /dev/null" &

The sleep command causes a 5-second delay to allow qmail to finish processing the message before wp-mail.php is called. Note that the ampersand on the end of the line is required. The above script should go in your root directory, and the execute bit should be set (chmod 700). For debugging purposes, you could change /dev/null to a filename to save the output generated by wp-mail.php.

Then all you need to do create/modify the appropriate .qmail file to call your shell script. Add the following line to the .qmail file for your mailbox name:


See your ISP's documentation for use of .qmail files. Naming conventions may vary for different ISPs.

Email Format

WordPress will use the Subject line of your email for the title of the post, and all body of the email will be used as the content of the post, with common HTML tags stripped. WordPress will file the post under whichever category is selected for "Usual Category" in Step 1, and will use Site Admin as the poster.

Posting by email does not support attachments and any attachments sent with the email will appear in their raw form in the blog post.


To test your configuration, simply send an e-mail to yournewaccount@yourmaildomain (or to user@yourmaildomain if you used the .qmail forwarding setup). Then do the following:

  • If you have no automated system set up, simply view in your browser. The script should tell you that it found an e-mail, and print details of the post it made. Then view your blog again to see your email posted.
  • If you are using an iframe code in your footer, refresh your browser to see the new post.
  • If you are using WP-Cron, simply wait fifteen or twenty minutes.
  • If you have a cron job running, wait until the next time it's scheduled to run (or temporarily edit the cron job to make it run sooner). If you run tail -f /var/log/cron in a terminal, you'll be able to see the job create its log entry when it's finished running. When that happens, just view the site in your web browser to see your email posted.
  • Your email may be recorded with a post status of 'Pending Review' rather than 'Published'. If the status is 'Pending Review', then the post will be visible in the Dashboard but will not be visible in the Blog. By default, wp-mail.php will validate the sending email address against the email addresses for authorized users. If the email address is found, the post status will be 'Published', otherwise the status will be 'Pending Review'.


If you receive the following error messages, follow the procedures below.

Error Message:
Ooops POP3: premature NOOP OK, NOT an RFC 1939 Compliant server

For this error, open wp-includes/class-pop3.php and change this line:

if($this->RFC1939) {

to this:

if(!$this->RFC1939) {

Note the exclamation point.

Error Message: There does not seem to be any new mail

This error is a bit of a misnomer - the test just checks to see if anything was retrieved.

If you're feeling adventuresome, open
and search for:
$count = $pop3->login(get_settings('mailserver_login'), get_settings('mailserver_pass'));

Change the lines following it to something like:

  if (0 == $count) :
    echo "There does not seem to be any new mail. <br/>\n";
    echo "count = $count<br/> \n"; 
    echo "$pop3->ERROR \n";

You'll then be presented with a more informative message.

The e-mail server may be refusing connections that attempt to provide an unencrypted password - like POP3. If your webserver and e-mail server are on the same physical computer, you can specify localhost or as the mail server. That traffic is assumed to be OK without encryption because it never traveled across the network.

Multisite Support

By default, WordPress Multisite has this feature disabled. You need to enable it first before the options will appear. Add the following code to your wp-config.php file.

define( 'POST_BY_EMAIL', true );

Extensions and Add-ons

There are several add-ons and hacks that will extend the capabilities of posting by e-mail with WordPress. Some of these may involve changing the core files, so do it carefully and make backups.

Enhanced Functionality Hack

One replacement file for the original wp-mail.php file has been created:

  • Postie supports posting to categories, automatic removal of email signatures, POP3/IMAL (+SSL) and more.

Hack E-mail Format

The following enhancements may be made to your wp-mail.php so your e-mail will be translated into metadata for your post:

Sender's e-mail address 
The enhanced wp-mail.php looks up the email address you send from in its user database. If there is a match with any user there, it files the post under that user. If there is no match, it drops the e-mail and does not create a post in the blog. (Great for security and spam prevention.) It is set by the From field.
Subject line 
If [n] is present anywhere in the subject line of your email, the e-mail will be filed under the category numbered n. Otherwise, it will be posted under whichever category is selected for "Usual Category" in Step 1. Example: [1] This is a Test! would be posted as "This is a Test!", filed under General.

Blog By Email From Yahoo! Mail, Gmail and Hotmail

By default, most web-based email clients send messages in HTML formatting, which WordPress's blog-by-email feature filters out.

To get around this, you must select "plain text" before sending.

In Yahoo! Mail, the button for switching to plain text is just to the right of the SUBJECT field. In Gmail a similar button is located at the right end of the text formatting tool bar. Hotmail's is found next to the SPELL CHECK button in the email action bar which is located above the email message.