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Knowledgebase: Autoresponders
Autoresponders - What They're For and How to Manage Them
Posted on 08 November 2003 05:55 AM

With all full virtual domain packages you receive an unrestricted number of autoresponders. Some common situations that autoresponders are used include: sending a preliminary response to service or sales inquiries; sending a response to advise about a delay in responding personally to email due to being out of the office or away from your desk because of a vacation or sickness; just to say thank-you to visitors for providing comments and suggestions.

An email account with an autoresponder enabled on it will automatically return a prepared message to anyone who sends an email to it (see Important Note below). With this feature enabled, anyone sending an email to an address with an autoresponder will receive an automatic response. The email they sent to you will either be forwarded (in the event the account is an alias) or stored in the POP account it was sent to until you retrieve it.

There are three options for managing your autoresponders:

  1. You can set up autoresponders or delete existing autoresponders from within your CNC.
  2. You can set up and manage autoresponders from the command line.
  3. To allow POP email users to manage their own autoresponder, without CNC access, you may install the RespondMGR cgi script.
Details for each option are below.

1. Using the CNC to Manage Autoresponders

Once in your CNC click on the Email Manager menu option and then click on the email account you would like to function as an autoresponder. Once you are viewing that account's properties, click edit next to the Autoresponder field.

You will be asked for the following information:

Include original message: When the autoresponder responds to the sender, would you like it to include the message that the sender sent? Select YES if you would like it to leave the sender's message in tact, and NO if you prefer it to remove the sender's message. Often times it's best to include the sender's message as this helps to remind them that they did in fact request the information within your autoresponder.

From Name: Who would you like the autoresponder to be from? Something like "Sales Department" or "John Doe" would be appropriate here.

From Address: What email address would you like the autoresponder to show FROM?

Subject: This will be the Subject of the autoresponder message. Note that %S will be translated as the original subject that the sender supplied. So if you define the subject to be RE: %S and someone sends an email to your autoresponder with the subject of "send me info" then the autoresponder will respond with a subject of "RE: send me info"

Maximum Responses and Time Limit: The number of responses the autoresponder is to send to any single email address within a given time frame. See the Helpful Hints in the CNC for more details.

Response Message: This is the body of your message. The main content to be sent within your autoresponder.

Once you are satisfied that the above information is complete and correct, click the Save button and your Autoresponder will be automagically created. In the CNC Email Manager, the "Recycle" icon next to an email account indicates an autoresponder is active for that email account.

Visit the following if you are unsure of where your FutureQuest CNC is located:

2. Using the Command Line to Manage Autoresponders via the fq-autoresponder Program

See the following guide for more information and for specific commands to use when working with the fq-autoresponder program:
Manual Commands for Working with Email (Advanced)

3. FutureQuest's RespondMGR Package

The RespondMGR Package provides a way for POP email users to maintain their own autoresponder without access to the CNC. The package includes an easily installed and highly customizable cgi script and all supporting files and documentation.

Included in the RespondMGR Package are:
  1. The RespondMGR cgi script - This cgi script provides a web interface to allow end users to easily manage their own autoresponder. The default installation provides a fully functional interface for those in a hurry to get started.
  2. HTML template files - A complete package of HTML template files is also included. Use them as-is, or customize them to match your web site.
  3. Complete Documentation - Full instructions on how to install and use the RespondMGR script, and how to customize the template files and other features.
  4. Developer's API - For developers who would like to develop their own scripts to access the autoresponder database, FutureQuest exposes the fq-autoresponder program allowing command line access. The fq-autoresponder program may be used by your own developers to write custom scripts with access to autoresponders. The guide "Manual Commands for Working with Email" contains information on working with the fq-autoresponder program and documentation for this program is also included in the RespondMGR package.

Click the appropriate link below to download the RespondMGR Package

RespondMGR.ZIP Windows/Mac
RespondMGR.TAR.GZ Unix

Important Note: Spam filters should be set on any email address that has an autoresponder in order to prevent spam from receiving an autoresponse (spammers rarely, if ever, use their own email address for sending out spam). SpamAssassin set to either Delete or Redirect known spam to an email address on your domain for any email account with an autoresponder is recommended for this reason.