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I'm totally new to civicrm, so I'd appreciate the simplest answer possible :)

Here's my goal: to send mass emails through civicrm, to certain mailing list groups. Here's the problem: I can't even send test emails to myself! Here's what I did: 1.Admin> System Settings> outbound mail> SMTP: I tried three different configurations with three different email systems. CiviCRM insisted that all the settings I tried were incorrect. I confirmed with the email providers that the information I was using was correct.
2. Admin> Civi Mail> Email Accounts: I don't seem to be able to modify or delete any account I added to that list. I have absolutely no idea if it's required for sending email, or for just reading bounce emails. I'm not sure if it should be the same account used for outbound mail. 3. From Email addresses: I added the address I used for Outbound Mail, but it didn't work.

My questions is, what's the simplest way to configure civicrm for mass emailing?

Thanks.

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    Hi. Have you added a valid 'from' email address in 'Administer - Communication - From Email Addresses'? Either way, it may be worth updating your question with the error you get when setting your SMTP settings and I'm sure someone will be able to provide some guidance. – RebeccaTregenna Jul 20 at 8:13
  • maybe there's a firewall rule blocking the ports needed? – ericG Jul 20 at 19:57
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to address your primary question "what's the simplest way to configure civicrm for mass emailing?"

That's a difficult question to answer without a lot of context.

In some ways, the simplest is to use sendmail/postfix/php mail(), if that's setup and running on your server. Many smtp relays you might use put limits on how many messages can be sent, that could get in the way of bulk email. But, using the server's local server adds complexity -- you have to set some DNS records and pay close attention to bounces to make sure your messages are getting through and not being marked as spam by some stupid automated system (yes, google, I'm looking at you).

In some cases, I use the local server; in some I use an smtp relay service like CiviSMTP, sendgrid or mandril. Some organizations have services they are paying for already (like google apps) and use that. I've had problems using organizational outlook accounts in the past, I try to avoid having microsoft in the mix, but I think outlook can now handle the verp separator that civi uses for bounce tracking so maybe it's not as annoying now.

So the right answer depends on the resources and skills you have in the organization. Sorry if that is not a complete answer.

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The simplest way is to use a service designed for the purpose (e.g. civismtp). But even that isn't very simple. Effective mass mail is inherently difficult, and a moving target. Eric's answer is a good answer to "what's the best way": i.e. it depends. Maybe the correct answer is: 'get someone else to do it for you'. If you're using a hosting service, they're probably the best candidate, otherwise you could look up an expert.

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