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Nagy Richárd 2008.10.22. 18:39

Sending UTF-8, HTML, etc. mails with PHP mail()

Sometimes you just have to send an e-mail with PHP. Contact forms, notifications, forgotten passwords, registration confirmations, whatever. PHP's mail() is an easy solution and with a little tweaking it is capable to do a lot.

The basic format for mail() is like this (well for our purposes... but you can check the complete reference):

mail ($to, $subject, $message, $headers);

Returns boolean true if sending the mail was successful.

Defining the recipient address(es):

Basicly, you just write a simple e-mail like 'vaze@retek.hu'. You can also use a name before the e-mail address with the format 'John Vaze !lt!vaze@retek.hu!gt!'. Sometimes you want several recipients, in this case you must separate them with commas.

Defining From:, CC:, BCC:, Reply-To headers:

Do these in $headers. You should separate header definitions with a "\\r\\n".

For example:

$headers='From: mocsk@retek.hu'."\\r\\n";
$headers.='Reply-To: mocsk@retek.hu'."\\r\\n";
$headers.='CC: mocsk@retek.hu, gihi@retek.hu'."\\r\\n";
$headers.='BCC: Baze Vaze !lt!bv@retek.hu!gt!'."\\r\\n";

Sending HTML e-mail:

To be able to send nice-looking e-mails, you need this. All you have to do is include these headers:

$headers.='MIME-version: 1.0'."\\r\\n";
$headers.='Content-type: text/html; charset=iso-8859-1'."\\r\\n";

Sending UTF-8 headers:

When dealing with customers from different nations, it is a must to use a character set which supports a wide range of characters. For example, Hungarian language uses ő and ű. The best answer is to use UTF-8.

$headers.='MIME-version: 1.0'."\\r\\n";
$headers.='Content-type: text/html; charset=utf-8'."\\r\\n";

If you don't need HTML, you can use text/plain. Remember that this applies only to $message, but not $subject and the names before the e-mail addresses. You have to convert these.


Remember that in $to, From:, etc. you should not convert the e-mail addresses, only the names! So don't convert the whole string, only the names.

(of course for UTF-8 to work normally the strings you use should be UTF-8, so either use UTF-8 in the database or utf8_encode(), or if you are using constant string in the code, the PHP file itself should be UTF-8)