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What is a Mailing List Server?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 04 November 2016
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    2003-2016
    Conjecture Corporation
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A mailing list server is a program that helps to manage a number of separate mailing lists for a user or a group of users. There are a number of mailing list server programs currently on the market. Two of the more popular list servers today are Majordomo and Listserv. A range of free list servers have also been deployed in recent years.

Mailing list servers are an excellent way to maintain different mailing lists without having to tie up resources on a local hard drive or even a local network. Many businesses that use electronic mailing lists to reach customers will code the lists and store them on the remote server. When needed, the server is accessed and the proper list activated for a given mail out. The server then takes care of sending out the mailing to all addresses included within the specified list.

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Some of the more robust examples of the mailing list server include features above and beyond the simple storage of email lists and the utilization of the lists in mass email campaigns. One very popular option is to allow the server to also manage opt-in and opt-out functions regarding the addresses included on the list. This function allows interested parties to sign up and receive future mailings sent to the entire list. At the same time, the server provides the ability for persons who no longer wish to receive messages to remove the email address from the listing automatically.

Along with the ability to opt in or out of a given list, several of the more popular mailing list server programs also make purging the list very easy. When an email is bounced back for some reason, the mailing list server can make note and either be set to automatically delete the address, or provide the owner of the list with details on the bounces. The owner can then either choose to remove the bouncing address from the list, or authorize the continued inclusion.

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