Mailing lists (aka “listserves”) can be used to create either email discussion groups, or announcement-only lists. Birdhouse uses the Mailman list software package, which is partially integrated with cPanel. The number of mailing lists you can create is determined by your service plan.
Each mailing list has an administrator, who controls the list configuration, and one or more moderators, who can optionally be set up to monitor list traffic, approve questionable messages, etc. Moderators do not have to be Birdhouse customers. Users can subscribe to lists either via email or through a web-based interface.
To create a mailing list, log in to your cPanel, click Mail, click Mailing Lists, then “Add Mailing List.” Enter a name and an administrative password for the list, select the domain to which the list should be attached, and click Create. You can now return to the previous screen and click Edit to manage the mailing list.
Mailman has hundreds of configuration options, which we can’t possibly document here. See the documentation and FAQs at the Mailman site for complete information. For general purposes, you probably won’t need to read the documentation.
Once a list has been created, a public interface for it will be created as well. Look for the link in the Mailman interface labeled “Go to the general list information page.” The URL of that page is the URL you should advertise on your site.
To instruct users to subscribe via email, append “-join” to the list name. For example, if the list address is email@example.com, you can tell users to subscribe by sending a blank message to firstname.lastname@example.org, and to unsubscribe by sending a blank message to email@example.com.
Creating a One-Way Mailing List
Subscribers can be either moderated or unmoderated. You can tell Mailman to either reject posts from unmoderated users, or to hold them for moderation. Therefore, the way to create a one-way (non-discussion) list, e.g. for announcements to customers, is to configure the list so that all new subscribers are moderated, and that posts from all moderated users are rejected. Here’s how:
- Go to the Membership Management page and use the Additional Member Tasks to turn on the moderation flag for all existing subscribers. Then find the addresses for the administrator and moderators and turn their moderation flags off again.
- Go to Privacy Options | Sender filters and set the default_member_moderation flag to Yes so that new users are automatically set as moderated.
- Set the member_moderation_action to Reject and add a nice rejection notice text to the following text box. For example: “This is an announcement-only list. To reach the owner, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.”
- Set the generic_nonmember_action to Reject or Discard.
Now the administrator and moderators will be able to post to the list, but general subscribers will not.