Mailing List Software

Maintaining a mailing list for your website can be an excellent way to keep in touch with your visitors, and help return visitors.

A mailing list can be a simple newsletter or announcement list, where you send an email to your subscribers; a moderated discussion list, where you must approve messages sent by subscribers; or an unmoderated discussion list, where any subscriber can post a message to the list without it first being approved by the list owner or moderator.

Many third-party mailing list providers exist, such as:

  • Topica (free and paid options)
  • Your Mailinglist Provider (free and paid options)
  • Yahoo! Groups (free and paid options)
  • Listbot (now defunct)
  • Listbuilder (the new Listbot; this is a paid-only service)

The disadvantage of using third-party mailing list software is that you will need to pay if you do not wish to subject your subscribers to advertisements, or wish to have more than a set number of subscribers on your mailing list.

Often, your web hosting provider will supply you with mailing list software; alternatively, you may be able to install your own. Here are some options:

  • Majordomo (free; common mailing list software)
  • Mailman (free; distributed under the GNU General Public License)
  • Lyris (commercial-level mailing list software; great for heavy loads)
  • EZMLM (free; works with qmail)
  • LISTSERV (free for non-profit organisations)

Ask your web hosting company if they will let you install your own mailing list software, or if they provide one of their own. If the latter, check if you can export the subscriber list in the event you wish to move away from that particular web host – you don’t want to leave your mailing list behind!