Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Webmaster: EMail Scripts and cPanel

If you have a website with a contact form, then this is important information for you!

When was the last time you visited your cPanel dashboard?

Most webmasters today use a contact form of some sort to avoid publishing email addresses. But what happens when/if that contact form stops working?

  • That's not something you test every day
  • There's no alert that shows up
  • Whomever is trying to reach you usually doesn't have any other way to contact you
  • You may, at best, lose information and at worst, lose business (revenue) when your visitor just gives up and clicks away.
All of my sites use an admin tool named cPanel. The latest cPanel patch adds a new icon, one that could (and probably would) break your contact form.
It's an envelope with a circled "R" on the back flap.

What this means is that you may continue to use scripts on your website, but you need to register the return address in cPanel for your server to continue to use your scripts. The process is straight-forward. When you click on the icon, a new window will open. At the top are these instructions:

Notice that email sent from your PC email client through your mail server is not affected; you won't get any error messages to alert you of possible problems.

The admins for my hosting provider have posted an announcement to that effect at the top of the cPanel dashboard:

They have been doing everything they're supposed to do. They are applying patches to potential vulnerabilities, and they're posting announcements as they go along. They're not responsible to know that I use a CMS (WordPress), and that I have added a plug-in (Contact 7) to my CMS.

My problem is that I live in WordPress admin pages. The only time I visit cPanel is to add the occasional email account or forwarder. For my sites, that's been weeks ago.

The only reason I visited cPanel today was because I was trouble-shooting.a WordPress email problem. (Contact 7 wasn't working). I opened each Contact 7 configuration file in WordPress to find the "from" address, then added that information to the new cPanel feature.

It's only 5 minutes of work (two browser tabs, two log-ins, cut-and-paste, save, close). but it's a really important 5 minutes.

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