Hi everyone! I’m not a new admin of phplist, but I admit I haven’t given it much attention over the years while helping to manage our small organization. I have a problem which hopefully a few of you could help me with. I have sadly not found any matching issues via basic search engine searches.
Okay, so basically, here is what is going on with this problem:
When a subscriber visits our subscription URL for phplist (accessible on our main web page), they get added to our main mailing list. They also get a confirmation e-mail in return. If the person on the other end clicks on that confirmation e-mail, they get labeled “confirmed” as a subscriber. If they do not, then they remain “unconfirmed” but are still a member of the mailing list.
If an invalid e-mail is submitted to the subscription URL, then the person is added to the list and the confirmation e-mail is sent out. The e-mail bounces, though, from whatever remote server the e-mail address was claimed to be coming from. This e-mail gets forwarded to our webmaster e-mail, and the webmaster sees it. As far as I can tell, this is proper behavior.
Somehow, some bots or some people are continually trying to subscribe the same invalid e-mail addresses over and over again, hour after hour, day after day. Hence, these “Undelivered Mail Returned to Sender” bounced e-mail messages keep coming to our webmaster e-mail.
I would think that this should be easily fixed by finding the corresponding subscription entries for each of these invalid e-mail addresses in phplist and then either 1.) blacklisting them, 2.) marking them as “confirmed” manually (so that future confirmation e-mails are no longer necessary, 3.) disabling the account, or 4.) removing the subscriber. However, I have tried all of these options multiple times, often in combination with one another, and none of them seem to work. The bounced confirmation e-mails entitled, “Undelivered Mail Returned to Sender” keep coming. Interestingly, phplist will change a disabled account back to enabled or even re-create a subscriber that has been manually removed by myself if a fresh subscription is requested again later.
My guess is that phplist ignores all of the settings or actions listed above if a person or bot submits a fresh request to be added to the mailing list through the subscription link, which is not the behavior I would expect. I would expect that I should be able to mark subscriptions as permanently “do not engage” through some method. In particular, I know that the blacklist option only appears to prevent campaign messages from being sent to a particular subscriber, but doesn’t affect other things.
I have no idea what to try next.
I apologize if this is a common problem and I just don’t know about it, or if there is a known solution. I just wasn’t able to find anything in the manual or web searches. I’m using phplist 3.6.7 on Hostgator, and the website is on Wordpress 5.9.2.