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I am running CiviCRM 4.7.20 on Windows 7, Wordpress. CiviCRM will be accessible only in our LAN network. Want to use the mail functionalities. Got stuck with the email configuration. Bit confused with the steps. I need to send emails to my contacts from 1. Gmail 2. My institute's email addresses.

Is SMTP necessary? If yes how to proceed? If no, what other options?

New to Web technology. Any help would be appreciated. Little better explanation than help docs is needed

Thanks, Partha

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If you want CiviCRM to send email, you'll need a means of delivering them! SMTP is the internet protocol for doing this. Unlike Linux, Windows does not typically include an SMTP service out of the box. That's OK - you probably want to outsource that task to a provider!

  • Since you're coming from a LAN, it may be that your internet provider offers an SMTP server you may use. This would be suitable for limited mail use, but not suitable for large mailouts. Consult with your ISP to understand their usage policy.
  • You mention you're on a LAN at an institute. It's possible your institute provides an SMTP service already - your IT support (assuming you aren't the IT support yourself!) may be able to help.
  • Dedicated SMTP providers (Wiki listing) are your next option.
    • Some of these offer a free tier (see my comment below). Free service may have some other cost associated, so choose a provider that you trust (they will be delivering your mail!) and can rely on.
    • Some of these providers will require a plugin to work well with CiviCRM.
  • It's possible to use some "regular" mail providers (Google Apps and similar providers) as an SMTP service. Unless this is a development or test instance, I would not recommend this. (Basically, if you depend on the mails being delivered quickly, choose a dedicated service from those above and pay a few bucks.)
  • Since you're hosting on Windows, you can't use mail() or sendmail options without installing a local Message Transfer Agent (MTA). This probably isn't the right option for you; choose this only if you have experience with managing internet-facing mail servers.
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    I've had good experience with testing Sendgrid's free tier in the past, and I've tested ElasticEmail recently too. For development instances I use a throwaway gmail account myself. Free providers should be selected carefully; expect conditions, limitations, and ask yourself what the deal really is (remember - your contact data may be sensitive, so you want to consider privacy and trust issues in depth, for your organisation and your contacts sake). – Chris Burgess Jul 5 '17 at 23:09
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    You also said you wanted to send from Gmail. You can send "as" your Gmail account from anywhere, but unless it originates from Gmails servers, it may be flagged as spam. Your best options there are (1) send via gmail (with caveats above), or (2) select an address / domain you control to send from and use that instead. – Chris Burgess Jul 6 '17 at 0:07
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    We've been very happy with the free tier (100K free messages/month) from SparkPost (I'm not affiliated with them) – MtnPavlas Jul 10 '17 at 16:25
  • I am the IT Admin :) with no experience of it, learning on the job !! – Parthibaraj Rajasekar Jul 26 '17 at 13:09

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