Newsletter administration

This article is machine translated.

The newsletter administration is a separate module in the backend, which you can find in the group “content”, where you can create several distribution lists containing the individual newsletters and recipients. By using multiple distribution lists you can sort the newsletters by topic or language.


To create a new distribution list click on Create a new distribution list New.

Title and forwarding

Title: The title of a distribution list is only used in the backend overview.

Forwarding page: Here you can define to which page a visitor is forwarded when clicking on a link in the frontend module “Newsletter list”. This target page should contain the module “Newsletter reader”.

Template settings

E-Mail-Template: Here you can overwrite the e-mail template.

Sender settings

Sender e-mail address: Here you have to enter the sender’s e-mail address.

Sender name: Here you can enter the name of the sender.

Own SMTP server

Without specifying a separate SMTP server, the data is sent via sendmail, which can lead to problems.

We recommend sending via the e-mail transport protocol (SMTP).


Newsletters are always sorted according to their date of dispatch.

To create a new newsletter click on Edit distribution list and then on NewCreate a new newsletter.

Subject and newsletter aliases

Subject: Here you can enter the subject of the newsletter.

Newsletter aliases: The alias of a newsletter is a unique and meaningful reference that you can use to call it up in any browser.

HTML and text content

You may wonder why you have to enter the text of the newsletter twice. This is because neither the HTML nor the text variant is without disadvantages in practice, and so we have decided to include both in the newsletter. The recipient’s mail program then decides for itself which variant it can display.

A pure HTML newsletter has the following disadvantages:

  • Not all mail clients can display HTML correctly.
  • HTML mails are more likely to be classified as spam than plain text mails.
  • Externally embedded images are often blocked.

A text newsletter does not have these problems, but you can neither include pictures nor influence the text formatting.

HTML content: Enter the HTML content of the newsletter here. The input is done in the same way as for the content element “Text” using the Rich Text Editor.

Text content: Enter the text content of the newsletter here.

Personalize newsletter

If you send newsletters to registered members, you can personalize them using the so-called “Simple Tokens”. Simple Tokens work similar to insert tags and can be used in both HTML and text content of a newsletter. Below is a small example:

Sehr geehrte(r) ##firstname## ##lastname##,

bitte prüfen und aktualisieren Sie Ihre Daten:

Anschrift:   ##street##
PLZ/Ort:     ##postal## ##city##
Telefon:     ##phone##
E-Mail:      ##email##

Ihr Administrator

In contrast to insert tags, simple tokens not only allow you to access tl_member the data in the member table, but also to implement simple if-else queries and thus, for example, to specify the gender of the salutation:

{if gender=="male"}
Sehr geehrter Herr ##lastname##,
{elseif gender=="female"}
Sehr geehrte Frau ##lastname##,
Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren,

[Inhalt des Newsletters]

{if phone==""}
Bitte aktualisieren Sie Ihre Daten und geben Sie Ihre Telefonnummer an.

Ihr Administrator

File attachments

You can add one or more files to each newsletter, which are then sent as e-mail attachments or offered for download on the website.

Attach files: Here you activate the function.

File attachments: Here you can select the file attachments.

Template settings

There are two things you need to know about the e-mail template:

  • It is only used for HTML newsletters.
  • It is primarily intended for page layout and not for content.

HTML mails are basically structured like HTML web pages, but unfortunately, e-mail programs cannot handle HTML code like modern Internet browsers. Therefore the template generates an mail_default outdated HTML 3.2 document, which is processed by most email clients.

E-Mail Template: Here you select the template for the HTML mail.

Sender settings

If you do not provide an individual sender address, the mailing list email address will be used.

Individual sender email address: Here you can enter the e-mail address of the sender.

Individual sender name: Here you can enter the name of the sender.

Expert settings

To send a newsletter as a plain text mail, it is not enough to simply leave the HTML content field empty. You also have to select the option Als Text senden in the expert settings.

Send as text: Here you deactivate the HTML-sending

External images: Here you can make sure that images are not embedded in HTML newsletters.


Usually, the recipients of a newsletter manage themselves using the corresponding frontend modules without your intervention as administrator. Nevertheless, you still have the possibility to change recipients manually in the backend. For reasons of data protection, only the e-mail address and the activation status are saved.

Edit a recipient

According to the double opt-in procedure, every subscriber receives an e-mail with a confirmation link when ordering, without which he cannot complete his subscription. This is sufficient to comply with the provisions of §7 paragraph 2 numbers 2 and 3 of the Law against Unfair Competition (UWG).

To edit a subscriber to the distribution list, click on Edit subscribers of the distribution list and then on New Create a new subscriber or Edit subscriber.

Email address: Enter the recipient’s e-mail address here.

Activate subscribers: Here you can activate the e-mail address. As long as an e-mail address is not activated, the recipient will not be considered when sending the newsletter. Activation is normally done by clicking on the link in the confirmation mail, but can also be triggered manually.

CSV import

Maybe you have been working with a newsletter system before Contao and now you are faced with the task of adding existing recipients to Contao. In this case, the newsletter module offers the function CSV-Import.

First export the existing recipients as CSV file. Most programs such as phpMyAdmin or Excel offer a corresponding option to save data in CSV format. Although the name CSV file suggests that only comma separated data can be processed, Contao also accepts semicolons, tabs and line breaks as field separators.

Select the file for import on your computer.

Import newsletter recipients

Then start the import by clicking the button CSV-Import.

Send newsletter

You can start sending a newsletter by clicking on the corresponding navigationSend newsletter symbol in the distribution list overview, which will take you to a preview page where you can check the configuration and content of the newsletter again. It is also recommended that you make active use of the button Testsendung. You can change the recipient address in the field Testsendung an.

Sending a newsletter

Calculate server limits

Usually you will not have rented a separate server for your website, but share a so-called shared hosting server with other customers. Since the system resources in shared hosting are available to all customer communities, there are usually certain limits that restrict their use.

For example, if you send a newsletter to 500,000 recipients, the mail server may be busy for a while, during which time you will virtually block the service for all customers. Therefore the number of emails you can send per minute is usually limited to between 50 and 500.

To accommodate such limitations, Contao does not send all newsletters at once, but divides the sending process into several cycles which you can adjust exactly to the requirements of your mail server.

Mails per cycle: Here you define the number of mails per cycle.

Waiting time in seconds: Here you specify the wait time between each cycle.

Offset: If a transmission was interrupted, you can specify here from which receiver this should be resumed.

For example, assuming a server limit of 100 emails per minute and a total number of 10,000 recipients, you can send 10 emails every 6 seconds. The complete sending process would then take 100 minutes.

Resume interrupted sendings

Normally, the sending of a newsletter is completely automated, and you can do other work while it is being sent. You just must not close the Contao browser window or turn off your computer. However, if this happens accidentally, you can resume sending the newsletter as follows:

  1. Filter in the backend under “System” > “System-Log” the category after the last newsletter entry.
  2. Determine how many newsletters were sent.
  3. Enter the desired offset in the field Versatz.

You can find the log data of the transmission in the backend under “System” > “System Log”. The filter category is calledNEWSLETTER_X, where the X stands for the ID of the respective newsletter. The total number of e-mails sent can be seen in the field Anzeigen. For example, if there were 120 mails, enter “120” to continue with the 121st recipient (counting starts at 0).

Resume interrupted dispatches