After upgrade to 3.3.1 from 2.10 I have a few problems

I just upgraded a system I’m administering from 2.10 to 3.3.1. Everyhthing seemed to go OK, except that I have noticed a couple of problems.

  1. When I try to send a Test mailing, after adding content in the ‘Create Campaign’ area, it flashes briefly, but no email is sent out. There are no errors reported on the page. But when I go to ‘Log of Events’, I see this error for each time I hit the ‘Send Test Email’ button:
    Error sending email to <validEmail> Could not instantiate mail function.

The email address provided is one on the same domain as the PHPList is running; it is an email that is a subscriber. I don’t recall exactly how I had this configured in the original 2.10 installation ( set this up about 5 years ago). I believe that I may have been using SMTP instead of PHPMailer(). But that’s when I started to look at the Settings and ran into my second problem…

  1. When viewing the Configuration -> Settings page, there is content in most of the fields and an ‘Edit’ button on each line, but there are no labels associated with each line. I have no idea what data I’m filling out.

For #1, shouldn’t my settings that I hand coded into various configuration files in the old installation have been retained? Or did the new installation come in with completely new/default configuration files? Are there still many places that require manual editing of text files?


This usually means that you are using a From address that is incorrect in some way. It should be a valid email address on your hosting account. Also, this error indicates that you are using the php mail function, not SMTP.

The config file used by your old version of phplist is valid but I recommend that you copy the settings to the config_extended.php file, then rename that to config.php.

Thanks for the response, Duncan.

I’m pretty sure the email address is valid - it’s of the form "" and the system is configured/defined to identify as "". Or…I am pretty sure it is - I see “” in the ‘Settings’ screen, but without the Labels on the data fields, I’m not exactly sure what is what. :slight_smile:

I’m not sure I understand what you mean about copying the settings between files and renaming the files. Do you mean from my original configuration? Does that file exist somewhere still, in the new config? (I made a backup - but haven’t gone browsing around to see if it’s saved in human readable/filesystem form or if it’s a compressed file.)


OK, I believe that I have made a little bit of progress - at least in my understanding of things. I think I know what you meant about copying/editing/renaming ‘config.php’ files.

So I was comparing the values in my backup to the current/new upgraded versions, and it does appear that it brought everything over correctly. I have configured it to use the PHPMailer() class apparently - although, I do have old commented-out values for using SMTP, too. So how do I troubleshoot issues with PHPMailer()?

The “from” address used is on the same domain as the system is configured to use: is entered into the Campaign setup form, and the system is defined to have “” as the home domain (not exactly sure what the field is because the label on the Settings page is missing).

Anyone have further suggestions? I’ll keep reading, but a practiced eye is often much better at picking out the details.


– J

I have tried a number of fixes with no luck. I’m on a system that Uses CPanel - i.e. I don’t have direct command line access to some things. But, I am able to edit a PHP.ini file; I went in there and turned error logging on and set it to write to a specific file. I’m getting nothing in that file - well, there’s no file at all.

I have also started a new campaign - this time I left the email address in the ‘From’ field that the system automatically populated (a listsrv@… email). So I would assume that this is a valid email. (I had tried a few other emails without any luck.) I’m still getting the exact same errors: “could not instantiate mail function”.

Without being able to see some additional logging info from the system, I’m at a loss as to where to look next or what to try.

Oh, I also did copy the ‘config_extended.php’ file and modify it to match most of my prior settings, and then renamed it to ‘config.php’. Still no luck.


Well, I managed to come up with a workaround - I switched it to use SMTP instead of PHPMailer(). I thought PHPMailer was the newer better thing. I like using new/better things - but something made it not working for me.

I’d still like to know why it wasn’t working, and how to get it working perhaps.

In my opinion, using smtp is a better option, in that it is easier/more straight forward(?!) to configure your mail server properly (dns, dkim, spf, etc.) for better delivery results.