I use civimail on a drupal 7/CiviCRM 4.7.8 and have done so for many years.

Recently civimail has started sending out an email multiple times to the same email address even though

1) the email address only exists once in the system.

2) In the sql database under civicrm_mailing_recipients it only says the email contact receives it once and this is borne out in the activities tab.

This is not just happening with one email address - it's happening with hundreds of email addresses.

Any ideas on where to start troubleshooting?

Thanks Caroline

  • I have this same issue. Had to rollback to 4.7.7 to stop. Reported as CRM-18955
    – Dave T
    Jun 28, 2016 at 17:45
  • I had this same problem with 4.6 with some users receiving 6/7 of the same email. The cause of problem was that we had moved to a different shared server and there was a problem with cron that was causing the email queue to be restarted over & over again. I resolved the problem by 1) fixing the problem with cron 2) cancelled the mailings that were still running
    – Andy Clark
    Jun 28, 2016 at 20:01
  • My issue occurs with test messages as well as full broadcasts. I didn't think that cron would have a role in test messages. And the messages just keep coming from the test triggers. Caroline B - do you have the problem with test messages as well?
    – Dave T
    Jun 28, 2016 at 20:13
  • No test mails are fine for me - I'm going to look at the logs I think
    – Caroline B
    Jun 29, 2016 at 19:36

2 Answers 2


Preferably, you'll want to dig into your outgoing mail service logs. How you do that depends on how you've setup civimail. It might be as simple as inspecting a file like /var/log/mail on your server, or it might involve something more complicated if you're using a remote outgoing mail service.

The challenge is to figure out which part of the mailing process is generating multiple mails. Typically this would occur where one server is passing off the mail to another server, and it's being received but not acknowledged, so the first server tries again later. A bad firewall, or misconfigured server along the way, for example. This would show up with the multiple mails having different receive times.

If you don't have access to your maillogs, inspecting the raw mail headers of the received mail may show some clues (e.g. warnings by one or more of the servers that are handling your mail).

  • The mail log (var/log/mail) does show multiple distinct emails. The only ones that are duplicated are those from CiviMail. (Emails sent via Drupal rules, for example, are processed correctly and only show up a single time.) Changing from SMTP to SendMail has the same results. SMTP service shows receipt of the multiple emails. I am stalled at figuring out what Civi process is sending the multiple emails and how it might be configured. Not aware of any changes to our configuration between 4.7.7 and 4.7.8 when problem started.
    – Dave T
    Jun 29, 2016 at 1:25
  • Fascinating ... though I'm not convinced your case has the same origin as the original report. For example - your case seems to be specific to running tests and a limited number of recipient addresses. Mails going out via CiviMail do have some unusual headers compared with Drupal rules, but it does seem like it's the CiviMail code that for whatever reason is quitting after sending the mail off but before identifying it as sent.
    – Alan Dixon
    Jun 29, 2016 at 18:29

I have the same issue with Drupal7/4.7.8 immediately after upgrade for a list of about 9700 - most recipients get the one message intended, a minority received 80+ duplicates. The evidence in the logs seems to indicate a civimail issue as each duplicate has a new postfix, amavis and civimail uid (is it verp?, sorry seems not allowed to post the example - long string of digits & hex @domain.org.

  • Can you find a pattern with the minority that received the duplicates? Look for either patterns in the domain (e.g. something like all @aol.com addresses ...), and separately, look for patterns in the the id's of the corresponding contacts (e.g. all the contact ids greater than or less than some number, or perhaps the group membership ids).
    – Alan Dixon
    Jun 30, 2016 at 15:01
  • Have you seen any duplicates when sending test messages?
    – Dave T
    Jun 30, 2016 at 17:44
  • I have done some analysis. The domains are a wide range of private and commercial with no apparent pattern. The total Recipients from two groups was 9763. Only 5313 of these had email addresses, of which 882 are on hold. However, the mailing's report page shows 3232 intended & 4153 (128.50%) delivered. I have also analysed no. received based on ID that I am happy to share the data from. It shows that of those receiving min was two, max was 105. Many gaps & clusters by ID. Data here: link Have not seen duplicates with test messages.
    – Bryan
    Jul 1, 2016 at 0:30
  • An update. Some mailings affected others not. Those that are affected also have problems sending a draft mailing to some email addresses. Tried six addresses that come to me. One receives 12 copies, another two, the rest zero. The zeroes also give an error "Could not identify any recipients. Perhaps the group is empty?". Repetition produces exact same result for this mailing. For another mailing, same email addresses have no issues when sent drafts.
    – Bryan
    Jul 14, 2016 at 0:13
  • Upgrading to 4.7.9 made no difference. Noted that all the problematic mailings were created (but not all sent) by same user. However, some mailings created by that user OK. Created a duplicate mailing to one of the problem ones myself (ie. same html, options and groups). No problem with this one. Have deleted & re-added the user and will see what happens.
    – Bryan
    Jul 19, 2016 at 2:23

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