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Sunday, May 04, 2008

Creating a ‘Contact Us’ Form (E-Mail Version)

Creating a Simple ‘Contact Us’ Form in PHP (E-Mail Version)

This is a short follow-up of the last post Creating a Simple ‘Contact Us’ Form in PHP.

In the last post we discussed how we can create a simple contact form for our website. That surely will give visitors an easy way to contact you. But I guess many of you would be thinking that it’d have been better if contact form could just send emails. If you are one of them, keep reading!

To be true guys, PHP gives us a dead easy way of sending emails from scripts, thanks to the mail() function. mail() function in its simplest form has the following prototype:

bool mail(string tostring subjectstring msg, string headers);

Here,

  • to- email address, mail is to be sent to

  • subject- subject of the email

  • msg- body of the email

  • headers- For this argument a "From: <email@host.com>" string must be sent. it can be like "From: joesemail@yahoo.com" where the email can be any exisiting or non-existing email address. Email clients use this address for replying to incoming emails.

For our contact form, we’ll have to give our own (or whoever the webmaster is) email for the ‘to’ argument (since we should get the messages sent form the form), ‘subject’ can be anything better if related to the website the message is sent form and 'msg' can be the text we were storing in the file (see Creating a Simple ‘Contact Us’ Form in PHP). That’s it!

One more thing, it'd be good idea to set the "From" header string to the email of the user sending the messageso that they can be replied to just by pressing "Reply" when you get thier message.

It is obvious that from previous post Creating a Simple ‘Contact Us’ Form in PHP, only the PHP script needs rewriting to be able to send emails, here it is:

<?php
//define some constants
//storing the webmaster's email address
//to which the emails from the form
//will be sent to
define('WERBMASTER_EMAIL','YOUR_EMAIL');
define('SUBJECT','New Message From XYZ');

//fetch the information from
//the form elements
//we're using trim() function
//to TRIM whitespaces
$name=trim($_POST['name']);
$email=trim($_POST['email']);
$subject=trim($_POST['subject']);
$message=trim($_POST['message']);

//check whether all the (*) required 
//informations are filled or not
//show a message if not
if($name=='' || $email=='' || $message=='')
{
    echo 
"<h1>Error</h1>";
    echo 
"<p>One of the (*) required fields
     were missing. Please click the 'BACK' 
     button and re-send the form with all 
     the required infromations filled.</p>"
;

    
//exit script
    
exit;
}
//if OK

//format a string to be written to file
$data.="NAME: $name\n";
$data.="EMAIL: $email\n";
$data.="SUBJECT: $subject\n";
$data.="MESSAGE: $message\n";

//send the email message from the script
//using the mail() function
if(mail(WEBMASTER_EMAIL,SUBJECT,$data,"From: $email"))
{
    
//show message
    
echo "<h1>Successful</h1>";
    echo 
"<p>Message sent successfully!</p>";
}
else
{
    
//there is some problem in sending
    //the email. Most probably a server
    //error
    
echo "<h1>Server Error</h1>";
    echo 
"<p>Please try after sometime.</p>";
}
?>

The above script sends email to the webmaster whenever any visitor leaves a message from the ‘contact form’.

NOTE: This will only work if you have Mail Server installed and configured. So you can’t easily check its working on local server. Many of the free and almost all paid web hosts have Mail Servers configured though.

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