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Fixing PHP mail() on Ubuntu

Published April 8 2011 by Alex Blackie

I’m still settling into the new Rackspace Cloud Server, and I just solved a problem I was trying to fix for the last two days. And all I had to do was change three characters in an .ini file.

On my server I’m running Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid LTS. I had everything working – MySQL, PHP, Apache… The only thing that wasn’t working properly was sendmail. It would send, but after it hung for a minute and 25 seconds (I timed it). This was bad – to comment in WordPress, the person would have to wait for a minute-and-a-half after they click “submit” before it would finally go.

It took me two solid days of searching through forum threads and blog posts before I finally found the answer. I probably lost a bit of hair as well.

In the end, the fix was as simple as removing the -i at the end of the sendmail_path variable in my php.ini.

How To Do That

First, find your PHP.ini file’s location. For me it’s under /etc/php5/apache2/php.ini. You can find this by using the phpinfo() function.

I use nano, but you could use VIM or another editor of your choosing. I simply opened my PHP.ini file, and found the sendmail_path line (which, for me, is on line 1047). Just search for a line that starts with sendmail_path.

Then, change the line so it says: sendmail_path = /usr/sbin/sendmail -t.