FAQ
I have a website client that would like a push-only mailing list that his
customers can subscribe to to receive announcements of special sales and
new products, and trade show schedules.

His website, however, is hosted on an ISP (running FreeBSD) who vhosts many
different other sites.

In the Features page, I don't really see any specific mention of whether
mailman would handle a server with many different vhosted sites. Obviously
one would like the clients to be able to subscribe and unsubscribe
themselves via a web-interface, but how to provide a link to the
client-side-admin page within the vhosted domain would be one question.

Also I'm sure the ISP themselves would have questions regarding how this may
affect their other vhosted sites.

Can anyone provide me with some information and explanation of these issues?
I'd be most grateful.

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  • Richard Barrett at Jun 14, 2004 at 3:58 pm

    On 14 Jun 2004, at 16:14, Scott R. Godin wrote:

    I have a website client that would like a push-only mailing list that
    his
    customers can subscribe to to receive announcements of special sales
    and
    new products, and trade show schedules.

    His website, however, is hosted on an ISP (running FreeBSD) who vhosts
    many
    different other sites.

    In the Features page, I don't really see any specific mention of
    whether
    mailman would handle a server with many different vhosted sites.
    Obviously
    one would like the clients to be able to subscribe and unsubscribe
    themselves via a web-interface, but how to provide a link to the
    client-side-admin page within the vhosted domain would be one question.

    Also I'm sure the ISP themselves would have questions regarding how
    this may
    affect their other vhosted sites.

    Can anyone provide me with some information and explanation of these
    issues?
    I'd be most grateful.
    This recent post discusses some relevant issues:

    http://mail.python.org/pipermail/mailman-users/2004-June/037415.html

    In a private follow-up to that post I further discussed some of the
    issues:
    On 13 Jun 2004, at 13:07, Richard Barrett wrote:

    Eric
    On 13 Jun 2004, at 03:40, Eric Pretorious wrote:

    Hi, Richard!
    On Friday 11 June 2004 11:23 pm, you wrote:
    With unmodified, standard Mailman source code, there is a single
    namespace for list names shared by all virtual host supported by a
    given Mailman installation. Multiple installations on the same
    machine
    can be used to avoid the list naming restrictions this creates.
    Is this difficult to configure?
    Not done this myself but I would not expect the Mailman end of it to
    be much harder than a normal Mailman source install; you just have to
    do it more than once.

    Say you would normally have installed Mailman into a directory called
    /mailman/run and run the Mailman ./configure with
    --prefix=/mailman/run and then make.

    My approach would be to perform per-hostname installs into directories
    named after the hostname, called for example /mailman/run/domX.tld,
    running the Mailman ./configure with --prefix=/mailman/run/domX.tld
    before running make install for each hostname to be supported

    You probably also want to use the --with-mailhost and --with-urlhost
    ./configure option to get the appropriate DEFAULT_URL_HOST and
    DEFAULT-MAIL_HOST in each installation's Defaults.py although you
    could fix this after make'ing by assignment in mm_cfg.py

    In practice you will probably not have any add_virtualhost() calls in
    your mm_cfg.py except for the single
    DEFAULT_URL_HOST/DEFAULT_EMAIL_HOST call as the use of "real" hosting
    removes the purpose of the normal Mailman virtual hosting setup.

    You are going to need separate Alias and ScriptAlias (and related)
    directives in each per-host VirtualHost container in your Apache
    httpd.conf, each of which refers to the matching host's Mailman
    installation directory. Behaviour when an HTTP client does not provide
    a Host: request header is going to be a little different if you use
    Apache named virtual hosts rather than numbered virtual hosts with
    distinct IP numbers. But practically all modern browsers supply the
    Host: header so I would not expect this to be a problem.

    Where thing may get more complicated is setting up your local MTA to
    support virtual hosts. For instance, aliases generated by the per-host
    copies of $per-host-prefix/bin/newlist will generate alias definitions
    that pipe to the correct per-host instance of the Mailman delivery
    agent script but getting your MTA to recognise the aliases belong to
    one host rather than another is not something I am familiar with. My
    impression is that doing this with Postfix or Exim (and possibly
    Qmail) is likely to be easier than with Sendmail; but I seem to have
    struggled for half a lifetime to understand Sendmail configuration,
    with little success, and am likely to die before that task is
    complete.

    Final thoughts:

    1. each per-host installation has to have its own 'mailman' site list

    2. moving lists between virtual hosts is a different ballgame and
    $prefix/bin/fix_url.py is no longer what you need to change a list's
    virtual host
    The modified version of Mailman, shipped by Cpanel as part of their
    commercial hosting product for ISPs, adopts a different,
    list-name-munging solution to the problem but Cpanel have not made
    the
    modified source code generally available in the public domain.
    Do you know where I could get it?
    I do not know much about Cpanel but messages asking for support from
    users have cropped up fairly frequently which is where the
    list-name-munging trick of Cpanel has come to notice.

    I would not go this route myself unless I was considering to run a
    hosting business as such but you could try starting your journey of
    discovery here http://www.cpanel.net/
  • Brad Knowles at Jun 14, 2004 at 4:48 pm

    At 4:58 PM +0100 2004-06-14, Richard Barrett wrote:

    Can anyone provide me with some information and explanation of these issues?
    I'd be most grateful.
    This recent post discusses some relevant issues:

    http://mail.python.org/pipermail/mailman-users/2004-June/037415.html
    Okay, I've tried to tie these two threads together with the FAQ
    entry at
    <http://www.python.org/cgi-bin/faqw-mm.py?req=show&file=faq04.047.htp>.
    Please let me know if you think there need to be any changes made, or
    feel free to make them yourself.

    --
    Brad Knowles, <brad.knowles at skynet.be>

    "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary
    safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
    -Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania.

    SAGE member since 1995. See <http://www.sage.org/> for more info.
  • Scott R. Godin at Jun 14, 2004 at 5:03 pm

    Brad Knowles wrote:
    At 4:58 PM +0100 2004-06-14, Richard Barrett wrote:

    Can anyone provide me with some information and explanation of these
    issues? I'd be most grateful.
    This recent post discusses some relevant issues:

    http://mail.python.org/pipermail/mailman-users/2004-June/037415.html
    Okay, I've tried to tie these two threads together with the FAQ
    entry at
    <http://www.python.org/cgi-bin/faqw-mm.py?req=show&file=faq04.047.htp>.
    Please let me know if you think there need to be any changes made, or
    feel free to make them yourself.
    It seems to me that this is an enormous amount of work to enable a mailing
    list for a single vhosted client (with only the possibility of the other
    vhosted clients using this solution for their websites).
  • Brad Knowles at Jun 14, 2004 at 7:46 pm

    At 1:03 PM -0400 2004-06-14, Scott R. Godin wrote:

    It seems to me that this is an enormous amount of work to enable a mailing
    list for a single vhosted client (with only the possibility of the other
    vhosted clients using this solution for their websites).
    If there's only one account on the system who is making use of
    Mailman, then there shouldn't be a problem.

    You could either install Mailman under the account of the of the
    single user (assuming the hosting provider allows this), or you can
    take the risk that the single system-wide installation will only be
    used by the one customer, and that no one else will try to use the
    same installation to host another list by the same name under a
    different domain.

    --
    Brad Knowles, <brad.knowles at skynet.be>

    "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary
    safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
    -Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania.

    SAGE member since 1995. See <http://www.sage.org/> for more info.
  • Scott R. Godin at Jun 15, 2004 at 2:43 am

    Brad Knowles wrote:
    At 1:03 PM -0400 2004-06-14, Scott R. Godin wrote:

    It seems to me that this is an enormous amount of work to enable a
    mailing list for a single vhosted client (with only the possibility of
    the other vhosted clients using this solution for their websites).
    If there's only one account on the system who is making use of
    Mailman, then there shouldn't be a problem.

    You could either install Mailman under the account of the of the
    single user (assuming the hosting provider allows this), or you can
    take the risk that the single system-wide installation will only be
    used by the one customer, and that no one else will try to use the
    same installation to host another list by the same name under a
    different domain.
    If I were to install this for the single-user, how would it handle the
    aliases file ?
  • Brad Knowles at Jun 15, 2004 at 8:10 am

    At 10:43 PM -0400 2004-06-14, Scott R. Godin wrote:

    If I were to install this for the single-user, how would it handle the
    aliases file ?
    That would depend on the type of account it is. If it's a
    virtual machine account, then you handle it the same way you'd handle
    it on any other dedicated machine. You just install Mailman in the
    space allocated to the user on their virtual machine.

    If the account is a virtual server account, then you will
    probably need to coordinate things with the ISP with regards to the
    aliases, etc.... They may not allow you to have your own aliases
    file, but they should be able to create sets of aliases for you based
    on what you are told by Mailman to create. In this case, all you do
    is avoid the steps in the instructions where it tells you how to set
    things up so that the aliases are automatically created for you and
    Mailman will instead send the admin a mail message with a description
    of what aliases need to be created, and the user can forward that on
    to the virtual hosting provider.

    If the virtual hosting provider doesn't allow you to install
    software (including your own cgi programs), then you'd have to get
    them to install it for you, or move the mailing list hosting
    somewhere else that you do have sufficient control over.


    In any event, you are likely to have issues with namespace
    collisions and other users on that system. It's just a matter of
    time, and how much work you're willing to put into things to try to
    avoid problems before they occur versus how much work you'd have to
    do once the effluent has hit the fan, and under what kind of time
    constraints, etc....

    --
    Brad Knowles, <brad.knowles at skynet.be>

    "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary
    safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
    -Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania.

    SAGE member since 1995. See <http://www.sage.org/> for more info.
  • Brad Knowles at Jun 14, 2004 at 4:33 pm

    At 11:14 AM -0400 2004-06-14, Scott R. Godin wrote:

    I have a website client that would like a push-only mailing list that his
    customers can subscribe to to receive announcements of special sales and
    new products, and trade show schedules.
    As far as this goes, it's simple enough to do. See
    <http://www.python.org/cgi-bin/faqw-mm.py?req=show&fileúq03.011.htp>.
    His website, however, is hosted on an ISP (running FreeBSD) who vhosts many
    different other sites.
    This is not necessarily a problem. If the mailing list server is
    hosted elsewhere where they can have a private copy of Mailman hosted
    for them, or if this is hosted as a virtual machine account where
    they can have a private copy of Mailman hosted.
    In the Features page, I don't really see any specific mention of whether
    mailman would handle a server with many different vhosted sites. Obviously
    one would like the clients to be able to subscribe and unsubscribe
    themselves via a web-interface, but how to provide a link to the
    client-side-admin page within the vhosted domain would be one question.
    Mailman handles virtual domains just fine. The problem is that
    this is done via aliases, and each listname is available from each
    virtual domain. So, you can't have two separate lists with the same
    name under different domains.

    The folks at CPanel have come up with their own private patches
    to resolve this issue, but then you'd have to host the list with
    them, or run their software.

    However, before you decide to do this, consider that if you run
    their software or host the list at their site, you'll have to get all
    your Mailman support from CPanel and not here. See
    <http://www.python.org/cgi-bin/faqw-mm.py?req=show&fileúq06.011.htp>.


    There are other patches to support virtual domains in a
    better/different fashion that I've seen posted to the list, but you'd
    have to see the archives. You should also search the SourceForge
    patches list for Mailman.

    I found an old patch at
    <http://sourceforge.net/tracker/index.php?funcÞtail&aid”3827&group_id3&atid00103>
    that was developed with Mailman 2.1.1-5.1/Debian stable, but I don't
    know how well they work, or how much work would be required to bring
    them forward to version 2.1.5.
    Also I'm sure the ISP themselves would have questions regarding how this may
    affect their other vhosted sites.

    Can anyone provide me with some information and explanation of these issues?
    I'd be most grateful.
    I think that searching the archives and SourceForge are likely to
    be your best bet.

    --
    Brad Knowles, <brad.knowles at skynet.be>

    "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary
    safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
    -Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania.

    SAGE member since 1995. See <http://www.sage.org/> for more info.
  • David J. Duffner - NWCWEB.com at Jun 14, 2004 at 5:36 pm

    -----Original Message-----
    [mailto:mailman-users-bounces at python.org] On Behalf Of Brad Knowles
    Sent: Monday, June 14, 2004 12:34 PM
    To: Scott R. Godin
    Subject: Re: [Mailman-Users] mailman setup for vhosts
    At 11:14 AM -0400 2004-06-14, Scott R. Godin wrote:

    I have a website client that would like a push-only mailing
    list that his customers can subscribe to to receive announcements of
    special sales and new products, and trade show schedules.

    As far as this goes, it's simple enough to do. See
    <http://www.python.org/cgi-bin/faqw-mm.py?req=show&fileúq03.011.htp>.

    His website, however, is hosted on an ISP (running FreeBSD)
    who vhosts many different other sites.
    This is not necessarily a problem. If the mailing list
    server is hosted elsewhere where they can have a private copy of Mailman hosted
    for them, or if this is hosted as a virtual machine account where
    they can have a private copy of Mailman hosted.
    In the Features page, I don't really see any specific
    mention of whether mailman would handle a server with many different vhosted
    sites. Obviously one would like the clients to be able to subscribe and
    unsubscribe themselves via a web-interface, but how to provide a link to the
    client-side-admin page within the vhosted domain would be one question.
    Mailman handles virtual domains just fine. The problem is that
    this is done via aliases, and each listname is available from each
    virtual domain. So, you can't have two separate lists with the same
    name under different domains.

    The folks at CPanel have come up with their own private patches
    to resolve this issue, but then you'd have to host the list with
    them, or run their software.

    However, before you decide to do this, consider that if you run
    their software or host the list at their site, you'll have to get all
    your Mailman support from CPanel and not here. See
    <http://www.python.org/cgi-bin/faqw-mm.py?req=show&fileúq06.011.htp>.

    There are other patches to support virtual domains in a
    better/different fashion that I've seen posted to the list, but you'd
    have to see the archives. You should also search the SourceForge
    patches list for Mailman.
    Ok, wading through this I possibly have some insight as we've
    been pounding on this solution in a Red Hat Linux environment for
    some time with success:

    http://forum.ev1servers.net/showthread.php?s=&threadidC004

    We've managed to make an earlier version of Mailman that would
    do as this gent needs, but under Ensim Pro's chrooted environment with
    virtual sites. In this fashion we've managed to make separate and
    distinct copies of Mailman not only install but provide all the normal
    features for this revision. I'm using this now and it works without
    a hitch. I'd discussed any workarounds for a chrooted environment here
    about a year ago with limited success, but we finally got a solution!

    This solution is working under Ensim Pro with both RHEL and the
    Fedora cores.

    Upgrading Mailman to the latest version is the remaining challenge
    as it doesn't run as a cronjob as we've achieved in this solution. To
    get Mailmanctl to function properly, the only thoughts we've had are to
    possibly run multiple copies of Mailmanctl for each domain that would
    host lists, but we haven't tried that yet and are open to any suggestions
    or options we might have there.

    HTH as far as a possible baseline solution in Scott's case!

    David J. Duffner
    VP Operations
    NWC Corporation
    NWCWEB.com

    ===========================================NWCWEB.com - Your Design & Hosting Solution!
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postedJun 14, '04 at 3:14p
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