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Bug #22317 mail() has address parsing problems
Submitted: 2003-02-20 00:07 UTC Modified: 2003-02-24 07:45 UTC
From: mark at virtualcreations dot com dot au Assigned:
Status: Not a bug Package: Mail related
PHP Version: 4.3.0 OS: Win32
Private report: No CVE-ID: None
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From: mark at virtualcreations dot com dot au
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 [2003-02-20 00:07 UTC] mark at virtualcreations dot com dot au
This just started happening with 4.3.0.  Before that it was all fine.  The problem only exists on Win32 - it works perfectly on Linux.

Using the example from the manual, this works fine:

   mail("", "My Subject", "Line 1");

But this returns FALSE and the message is not sent:

   mail(",", "My Subject", "Line 1");

However, THIS is fine (note the missing space):

   mail(",", "My Subject", "Line 1");

Also, I have yet to figure out a way to send a message where the recipient's NAME is also specified.  For example, this fails:

   mail("Fred <>", "My Subject", "Line 1");

Finally, when I use a BCC option, it is also dependent upon the placement of a space.  For example, if I include a line that reads:

   $headers .= "\n";

it works as expected, but:

   $headers .= "Bcc:\n";

fails.  It doesn't make any difference if a "\r\n" is added to the end of the line.

I repeat, all the problems above are NOT problems in Linux.



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 [2003-02-20 00:48 UTC] mark at virtualcreations dot com dot au
Thanks for the reply, but that made no difference whatsoever.

(installed the Win32 version, and restarted Apache.  It definitely installed correctly because phpinfo() showed version 4.3.2-dev)
 [2003-02-20 01:39 UTC]
These work just fine for me. Do you get any error messages?
(put error_reporting(E_ALL); into your script)
 [2003-02-20 02:22 UTC] mark at virtualcreations dot com dot au
Thanks for the suggestion.  I put the error reporting code in, and now have more information to share:

When I tried:

   mail(",", "My Subject", "Line 1")

I got the response:

   Warning: mail() [function.mail]: SMTP server response: 501 unacceptable characters in local-part in index.php on line 5

I think the "unacceptable characters" refers to the space after the comma and before the "".

Then I tried:

   mail("Fred <>", "My Subject", "Line 1")

and got the response:

   Warning: mail() [function.mail]: SMTP server response: 501 illegal address syntax in index.php on line 5

But this same line of code works fine in Linux, and used to work fine in Win32 4.2.3

 [2003-02-24 05:20 UTC]
so your SMTP server doesn't accept this syntax. What kind of SMTP server is that?
Is there any way you can capture what php is sending out to the server?
 [2003-02-24 07:06 UTC] mark at virtualcreations dot com dot au
Well, the SMTP server is the one I use through my ISP (  But because of your comments, I tried another SMTP server (, and it worked better, but still not perfectly.  Sending to two recipients (separated by commas) worked fine this time, but sending to "Mark <>" had a problem.  The SMTP server sent the message, but it bounced, with the following reason:

    Remote host said: 550 5.1.1 <"Mark <mvirtue">... User unknown

(but that is a perfectly valid address, of course).

Then I tried a THIRD SMTP server (, and everything worked perfectly.

So, clearly all SMTP servers are different, but I would hope that the Win32 version of the mail() sending function would work with as many as possible of them.

I reiterate what I said before:  Before version 4.3.0, this worked perfectly, and I've never had any problems with the Linux version.

 [2003-02-24 07:45 UTC]
Yes, and if we lived in a perfect world.. :)

btw. It might work better if you used this style:
"firstname surname" <>

But as it's clearly problem with those SMTP servers,
closing this as bogus. (use that one that worked..)

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