Courier, my open source e-mail newsletter plugin for WordPress, is now an official product of CoPress. Although this change won’t mean much to the everyday user, for CoPress clients, it means guaranteed support for any technical issues related to the plugin.
The everyday user will notice improvements to the latest version of the plugin. A few weeks ago I pushed out Courier 0.3, and in the intervening few weeks have pushed out minor updates to add a few new functionalities and fix a few typos and errors.
Courier 0.3 includes major improvements to both stability and functionality. The biggest and most important improvement is queuing support. Instead of sending all e-mails at once when you click the send, the plugin instead queues the e-mails and sends them at a rate you determine. Not only does this protect you in the case the script hangs up when you’re sending e-mails (such as when you have thousands of subscribers), but it also makes sure the e-mail script doesn’t take down the entire server.
This new feature uses WP Cron to minimize setup time. You can schedule a test e-mail in the Courier dashboard to make sure WP Cron works. If it doesn’t you have a few options: you can disable queuing in the dashboard, which I don’t recommend if you have a number of subscribers, or you can set up Crontab to visit wp-cron.php every minute. I would recommend finding the root cause of why WP Cron doesn’t fire, though — otherwise you might have bigger problems than Courier not working correctly.
Courier 0.3 integrates with WordPress users, allowing you to manage subscriptions within the WordPress profile. It still supports users outside of WordPress, and I have no plans to phase out that support.
Courier 0.3.5 includes a sidebar widget, so you can now add the registration form to your sidebar.
I should note that if you upgrade Courier outside of WordPress (i.e. through FTP) you will need to deactivate and reactivate Courier before many of the new features will takeeffect.
If you’re testing Courier and run into any problems, please feel free to e-mail me (firstname.lastname@example.org), and I will be glad to help. I am hoping to have a major (1.0) release out within two weeks, and if you encounter any errors or anomalies it’s important they be fixed before then.
Finally, Courier now has a new website, wpcourier.com, where you can stay attuned to all Courier news and updates. The site will include best practices for create e-mail editions and curating users. You can also follow Courier’s updates on Twitter @wpcourier.