Making sure that Zenario can send email

Zenario sends emails from the server, for various reasons:

  • for administrator 2FA login and password recovery
  • to report database and script errors
  • to report problems or actions in scheduled tasks
  • when visitors use a contact form
  • when extranet users sign up
  • and for various other reasons, depending on how your site has been customised.

Therefor it is important that Zenario is correctly configured to send email. If you are not receiving email from Zenario, for example after the initial installation, it's important to address this.

Sending from the server

How to send email from your server depends on its OS.  

If you use Ubuntu or similar versions of Linux, you mail be able to use the utility called mailutils. (There are others). Note that on a newly-set up server, it is likely that there's no mail utility already installed.

To install mailutils using Aptitude, type this (requires root level permission):

sudo apt install mailutils

To test if mail is sending from your server, try this:

echo test1 | mail your-email-address

That middle character is a pipe | symbol. You should immediately receive an email from the server (check your spam folder). If not, then there could be other issues, such as DNS (your server's /etc/hosts and /etc/resolv.conf setups), or server blacklisting. Contact your sysadmin for help.

Configuring Zenario's From address

In its initial install state, Zenario sends "From" the Apache web server "at" your site's name. For example it may be:


...where www-data is Apache, is your site's domain name. It could also be a host name or IP address.

This is not pretty! Zenario starts in this way to reduce the chance of the welcome email going into spam or being blocked. But you should change this.

Email settings 1Note the "From" address. You should change this to whatever email address you would like your emails to appear to come from, such as your site's domain name.

Sending using an SMTP gateway

If your server doesn't support sending email, the solution is probably to specify SMTP.

While in Zenario's email settings, look at the Sending tab:

Email settings 2 SMTPBy default, this will be set to "Use PHP mail()", which uses the PHP in-built mail function.

You can change this to "Use SMTP", and then specify a server name. In the above example, an SMTP gateway of AWS's Simple Email Service (SES) has been selected. You will need to first set up SES and enter credentials in this screen. Then go to the Test tab, enter your email address, and test the sending.