Recently I’ve been trying to find a good free email list newsletter program that I can run from the shared hosting account I already pay for. The program you can use that is already installed in cPanel is Mailman email. While not the prettiest software it’s been around for quite awhile and is reliable and stable. There is one big problem with MailMan though, it’s a huge pain in the ass to use!
From what I’ve read about Mailman email and from what I can tell it’s mainly popular among large educational institutions and IT departments. The main reason for this is that MailMan has the ability for users of a list to send emails and not just the administrator of the email list. This means people can communicate with each other private on an email list, similar to what Yahoo Groups offers. (Are you old enough to remember those? I am!)
While Mailman might have great and powerful features honestly it does not have the most user friendly design. It’s got a high learning curve and for those that love Richard Stallman (if you don’t know who that just search his name) it’s probably great. I’ve tried to scour the web for good tutorials but haven’t really found any. It’s built by hackers for hackers.
This is not so surprising since Mailmain email is a GNU project and is written in Python. However, what does surprise me is that cPanel still comes packaged with Mailman. I mean how many people are really using this email list manager? I am thinking very few are, especially when you could install PHPList or Dada Mail which seem much easier to use from what I can tell. I’m surprised that cPanel has not moved to another email software and abandoned Mailman altogether. I assume it’s probably because web hosting companies don’t actually want people using their shared hosting accounts for sending out email newsletters. They’d rather you pony up the money for an Aweber, MailChimp, GetResponse, ConstantContact, etc. subscription so you they don’t get spam complaints on their servers. Why come installed with Mailman in the first place though?
If you’ve tried to use Mailman email and been frustrated by how difficult it is to use, I’d like to hear about it. If you have used another email list manager, like PHPList, I’d be happy to hear about your experiences too.
I am a fan of free open source software. It’s just Mailman is not for me and is not worth the hassle.