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PHP Tutorial: how to use php mail function for sending HTML emails

Updated on November 9, 2011


So, you're thinking about sending an email from your php script or you're in a mood of developing an online application that will allow you and your friends to send private emails. Well, building an service like gmail is little daunting task but everything starts from small (I mean - A small cup of Tea).


  1. Php mail function can be used only for sending emails directly from your script.
  2. You can integrate it with contact forms, So, users can send a direct mail to you.

"PHP mail function" is an alternative for complex socket programming and is very easy to use. Below are the instructions on "How to use it in your script".


mail(to, subject, message, headers, parameters) ,

Where parameters of this function are explained below.

Recipient email address / Email Address of person to whom this email will be sent.
this parameter requires "subject" of the email / purpose of mail
this parameter requires text that will be sent as email to recepient / Body of the email
In this parameter, you can add additional information like 'email id of sender', 'Cc' 'Bcc'
In this parameter you can add additional parameters, if you would like to.
All of this fields are required, Either as blank like "" or with input like "my text" and double quotes are necessary.

Example 1

Simplest and smallest example explaining the usage of this function is shown below.

	mail("","My subject","Hello myself, how are you.");

Example 2

An advanced usage of this mail function is shown below which can be modified by you for your own use. In this example we will send an HTML email to the recipient.

$to = ",";
$subject = "MY HTML EMAIL";

$email = "
<title>MY HTML EMAIL</title>
<div id="header" style="margin:10px;background-color:red;padding:10px;">
	<h1> MY Website Name</h1>
<div id=body" style="margin:10px;background-color:pink;padding:10px;">
	<p> What's up man????? </p>

// Always set content-type when sending HTML email
$headers = "MIME-Version: 1.0" . "\r\n";
$headers .= "Content-type:text/html;charset=iso-8859-1" . "\r\n";

// More headers
$headers .= 'From: <>' . "\r\n";
$headers .= 'Cc:' . "\r\n";


In the above code, Cc indicates Carbon Copy means a copy of same email will be sent to email ids beside on Cc.

  • Cc: Carbon copy - Every recipient can see email id's of other recipients of that email.
  • Bcc: Blind Carbon Copy - Nobody can see email id of other recipients of that email.

Thanks for reading.


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