I'm following the instructions here:


and I've been running into some obstacles.

1) Bluehost does not support sub-addressing and won't let me create a catch-all so I don't know what to do for my return channel. If anyone has been able to set one up successfully on Bluehost please share how you did it. So far I have created an email account called [email protected] and entered it as my bounce processing account under Administer > CiviMail > Mail Accounts.

2) Test emails are not going out so I'm pretty sure my cron job isn't working. Here's the cron entry:


PARAMS= -j -smydomain.org -u [email protected] -p xxxxxxxxxx -e Job -a process_mailing

*/5 * * * *  cd $CIVI_ROOT; $PHP bin/cli.php $PARAMS

If you can see what I'm doing wrong please let me know. I've tried via the control panel and also from php-cli.

This is a WordPress site with CiviCRM 4.6.3.

  • 2
    I'd recommend using something like civihosting, which solves most of the above issues. You can continue trying to get this to work with bluehost, but the time and hours spent might not be worth it, IMO Commented Jun 1, 2015 at 4:31
  • Your question has multiple questions (how do I use VERP? why doesn't cron work?). Suggest asking these questions separately to get better answers (and to make it easier to answer your question correctly). See civicrm.stackexchange.com/help/how-to-ask Commented Jun 1, 2015 at 5:31
  • +1 to Donald's comment here, which IMO is the correct answer. Bluehost may be fine for some web hosting, but it's not ideal for CiviCRM. You'll expend far more in time and effort working around limitations of cheap hosting than you would spend hosting with a company who supports CiviCRM fully. Commented Jun 1, 2015 at 6:11
  • I ended up switching hosts. Thanks for the comments.
    – Laurie
    Commented Jul 7, 2015 at 4:45

5 Answers 5


Your cron script may not work as displayed because $PHP is not defined, and because PARAMS= -j -smydomain.org -u [email protected] -p xxxxxxxxxx -e Job -a process_mailing will not define $PARAMS without quotemarks surrounding the variable value (instead you get a *sh error).

I suggest adding a MAILTO line with your email at the top so you receive the error output - this will help you debug if/when it fails.

[email protected]

I suspect that your website is not hosted at /var/public_html on Bluehost also? Might want to double-check that value, you might mean ~/public_html

Try this, amending values to suit your email/website?

[email protected]
PARAMS=" -j -smydomain.org -u [email protected] -p xxxxxxxxxx -e Job -a process_mailing"
*/5 * * * * cd $CIVI_ROOT; $PHP bin/cli.php $PARAMS

Regarding test mail not going out - it's not necessarily cron. Here are three things to check:

SMTP Settings: Do you get mail when you send a test SMTP on the screen at Administer menu > System Settings > Outbound Email? If not, your problem is SMTP-related.

Scheduled Jobs screen: Also, make sure you've enabled the job at Administer menu > System Settings > Scheduled Jobs. This is also a good place to see if your job ran. Also, view the log for the "process_mailing" job for errors.

cron If it IS cron-related - I'm not sure why, your command looks good to me. However, I install wp-cli and use that for cron. I find it to be a more satisfactory experience, and it won't leave my password in the server logs.

Here's an example of a working cron job with wp-cli I pulled from a site running Wordpress:

0,15,30,45 * * * * /home/members/xxxx/wp-cli/wp-cli --require=/home/members/xxxx/sites/xxxx/wp-cli/civicrm.php --path=/home/members/xxxx/sites/xxxx/web civicrm api --timezone=America/New_York job.execute

The correct solution is to save yourself time by finding a hosting solution which supports CiviCRM's base requirements fully. You can work around these limitations, but it will cost you more in time than you'd spend on hosting it somewhere more suitable.

Bluehost mail hosting lacks VERP. Bluehost standard webhosting has mail delivery limitations, and is a product suitable for lower-end websites than a busy CiviCRM site.


If your host provides a catch-all e-mail address, that can be an alternative to subaddressing. See here.

The test e-mail question should be a separate question - so I'll answer with a separate answer.


I've used CiviSMTP. They provide an excellent service and are focused on CivCRM.

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