How do I set up a shared blog that my parents can post to via email?
January 24, 2008 7:11 PM   Subscribe

How do I set up a shared blog that my parents can post to via email? (caveats follow)

I want to set up a food blog that my whole family (parents & brother) can post to. We send each other recipes via email all the time, and I want to make it so any of us can cc some easy to remember email address, e.g. "," to have our emails show up as blog posts also. Ideally the post-by-email system would support image attachments, but at this point I'd settle for text.

I already have a domain & webhosting in place, so I don't want to use or anything like that. My webhosting package is pretty basic, so I can't administer my own email server or even ssh into the box-- it's just an ftp dump.

I installed Wordpress, but the blog by email feature that's built in seems to require you run a mail server or a script that fetches mail from somewhere-- not feasible for me since all I have is an ftp dump. I then tried blogmailr, which makes email posting possible, but only if you use this cryptic address that they create (""). My parents will never remember that! I set up to forward to the blogmailr account, but for some reason it doesn't work.

Any suggestions greatly appreciated.
posted by jcruelty to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
i was going to suggest blogger as the easiest solution. why don't you want to use it?
posted by thinkingwoman at 7:13 PM on January 24, 2008

If you only have a very basic web hosting package, you're not likely to be able to install anything too fancy or unusual. The e-mail feature you want, specifically, is unlikely to be workable. I'll be interested to see if anyone has a suggestion for you, but I don't hold out much hope.
posted by amtho at 7:20 PM on January 24, 2008

This isn't a feature that I was even aware existed anywhere, though it sounds like a nice one. The way I see it, you already have it set up ... all your parents have to do is create an e-mail alias for Any e-mail app is capable of setting up, say, "familyfood" as some kind of alias for an e-mail address. Then nobody has to remember the funky e-mail address.
posted by iguanapolitico at 7:31 PM on January 24, 2008

The main problem is that gmail uses SSL and most servers don't support that protocol through php. However, maybe your hosting does support it. In that case, or if you are not sure, try using the Postie plugin. It makes the process a little easier and it tells you if POP3 SSL is unavailable in your server when you configure it.
posted by Memo at 7:59 PM on January 24, 2008

Okay, this is kind of kludgy and requires either money or not caring if you view ads, but you can actually do this with Livejournal. I hope to hell there's an easier way to do it. But if you insist, I know this will, technically, work.

Note for all things in the FAQ, where they say 'mobile' or 'cell phone', you can substitute 'e-mail.'

First, like I said, you'd have to either get a Plus (free, but ew, ads) or paid account (ew, money) from LJ. You don't have to make a community; you can just make a user called 'crueltycooks' or something.

Then, you'd want to embed it in your webspace. FAQ and howto for that.

Finally, you'd have to set up the mobile posting settings for the plus/paid account. FAQ here; no howto, and it's a bit 'eh' until you set it up.

You can specify multiple e-mail addresses as permitted (,, etc) but they'd have to pick the same code-word ('PIN,' in their parlance) to put into the subject line of the e-mail to the journal. It would all show up in the same journal as the same 'user'.

Yes, you can do photos like this, um, also kludgily.

I do not work for LJ, although I do have an account or, um, five. I don't really trust their privacy practices, and so on, but hey, it is technically possible to do what you want to do, over there.
posted by cobaltnine at 8:02 PM on January 24, 2008 [1 favorite]

vox will let you do this easy as pie, all you have to do is use the moblogging feature—set an alias to forward to the secret email vox provides and anything sent to it will become a post, including any images.
posted by lia at 9:05 PM on January 24, 2008

You can do this with Bloxsom fairly easily. I have not actually done it myself, but I've seen the plugins that allow it. (My personal site is run on Blosxom, but I write posts in and editor and upload them rather than going through email.)

- Site for "BlosGate," the plugin that provides mail-to-post features for Blosxom
- Blosxom main site

Blosxom also has the advantage of not requiring a database backend in order to run properly (it stores all the entires as flat text files). It's pretty easy to set up, although it's kind of a pain if you don't have SSH access and can only upload via FTP. There are tutorials on the Blosxom site explaining how it works and how to install it. A moderate level of technical competence is assumed (e.g., that you know how to make a file executable after uploading).

You may want to ask your hosting provider what version of Perl they make available, and if they have the Mail::POP3Client and Mail::Sendmail modules installed. Assuming the answer to the first question is some number greater than 4, and the second two is 'yes' to both, you should be good to go.
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:24 PM on January 24, 2008

You can post to Typepad using the mobile blogging feature - via email, sms, etc.

Not free though, but pretty cheap.
posted by luriete at 10:28 PM on January 24, 2008

I'd suggest It's dead easy to use, has all the features you need.
Also it provides the simplicity of a hosted service, but lets you map your own domain to it.
posted by kall at 3:28 AM on January 25, 2008

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