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Why Should I Use Nodemailer to Send Emails?by@alexandramt
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Why Should I Use Nodemailer to Send Emails?

by AlexandraMay 7th, 2022
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The creators of Nodemail say that it makes sending an email a piece of cake. Let’s see if they are talking about cooking or eating 🙂 The idea of this article is to explain how to use Nodemailer for email sending. We will focus mainly on SMTP and HTML aspects, but we’ll also do an overview of all Nodemailer capabilities. Besides, this tutorial will help you prepare and test email messages to send out with your Node.js application.

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The creators of Nodemail say that it makes sending an email a piece of cake.


Let’s see if they are talking about cooking or eating 🙂 The idea of this article is to explain how to use Nodemailer for email sending.


We will focus mainly on SMTP and HTML aspects, but we’ll also do an overview of all Nodemailer capabilities. Besides, this tutorial will help you prepare and test email messages to send out with your Node.js application.


How to Use Nodemailer


Installation


The only thing required to start using Nodemailer is Node.js version 6.0 or above.


You should also install Nodemailer itself, but it’s really easy with the npm or Yarn package manager. Execute the following command in the Node.js command prompt:


npm install nodemailer


or


yarn add nodemailer


Once completed, include it into your application like this:


var nodemailer = require('nodemailer');


or this if you are using ES modules:


import nodemailer from ‘nodemailer’;

Sending messages

To send a message with Nodemailer, there are three main steps.


Step 1. Create Nodemailer Transporter


SMTP is the most common transporter, and below, we will describe it in more detail, as well as demonstrate some examples. But there is a list of other available options:


  • Built-in transports.


  • sendmail, a regular sendmail command for simple messages. It’s similar to the mail() function in PHP.


  • SES, to handle large traffic of emails by sending them using Amazon SES.


  • stream, a buffer for testing purposes, to return messages.


  • External transport. To put it simply, you can create your own transportation method.


For more details, refer to the Nodemailer documentation.


With SMTP, everything is pretty straightforward. Set host, port, authentication details and method, and that’s it.


It’s also useful to verify that the SMTP connection is correct at this stage: **add verify(callback) **call to test connection and authentication.

transporter.verify(function(error, success) {
   if (error) {
        console.log(error);
   } else {
        console.log('Server is ready to take our messages');
   }
});

How to Test Emails in Nodemailer?

To test emails sent with Nodemailer, we will use Mailtrap, an online tool for complex email testing in a pre-production environment.


Quickly sign up (it’s free), go to the SMTP settings tab in your Inbox, copy the necessary settings, and insert them into your application script.


Mailtrap offers a ready-to-use integration with Nodemailer; select it from the Integrationssection and insert it into your application code. It already contains transporter and syntaxis attributes:

var transport = nodemailer.createTransport({
  host: "smtp.mailtrap.io",
  port: 2525,
  auth: {
    user: "1a2b3c4d5e6f7g", //generated by Mailtrap
    pass: "1a2b3c4d5e6f7g" //generated by Mailtrap
  }
});


Otherwise, you can use auto-generated email test accounts on Ethereal, which is also a fake SMTP service, mostly aimed at Nodemailer users.


Recently, Nodemailer has introduced NodemailerApp. It provides Sendmail replacement, but first of all, it is designed to debug emails. NodemailerApp has SMTP and POP3 local servers, a catchall email domain service, along with email preview capabilities.


Step 2. Set Nodemailer Message Options


At this point, we should specify the sender, message recipients, and the content of our message.


Remember, Unicode is supported, so you can include emojis as well!


To send a text formatted as HTML, no extra attributes are required, just put your HTML body into the message with an HTML attribute. For advanced templates, you can add attachments and embed images. Let’s take a look at this example of simple message options first:

var mailOptions = {
    from: '"Example Team" <[email protected]>',
    to: '[email protected], [email protected]',
    subject: 'Nice Nodemailer test',
    text: 'Hey there, it’s our first message sent with Nodemailer ;) ',
    html: '<b>Hey there! </b><br> This is our first message sent with Nodemailer'
};


Attachments in Nodemailer

You can add different types of data to your message in Nodemailer using the following main properties:


  • filename: the name of the attached file. Here you can use Unicode as well.


  • content: the body of your attachment. It can be a string, a buffer, or a stream.


  • path: path to the file, to stream it instead of including it in the message. It is a good option for big attachments.


  • href: attachment URL. Data URIs are also supported.


 list: {
            // List-Help: <mailto:[email protected]?subject=help>
            help: '[email protected]?subject=help',

            // List-Unsubscribe: <http://example.com> (Comment)
            unsubscribe: [
                {
                    url: 'http://example.com/unsubscribe',
                    comment: 'A short note about this url'
                },
                '[email protected]'
            ],

            // List-ID: "comment" <example.com>
            id: {
                url: 'mylist.example.com',
                comment: 'my new list'
            }
        }
    };


Optional properties let you add specific content types or inline images.

contentType: if you don’t set it, it will be inferred from the filename property.


` // An array of attachments
    attachments: [
        // String attachment
        {
            filename: 'notes.txt',
            content: 'new important notes',
            contentType: 'text/plain' // optional, would be detected from the filename
        },

`
CID: inline images in the HTML message. For more details on attaching images to HTML emails, read this post. Note that the CID value should be unique.

cid: '[email protected]' // should be as unique as possible
            },

            // File Stream attachment
            {
                filename: 'matrix neo.gif',
                path: __dirname + '/assets/neo.gif',
                cid: '[email protected]' // should be as unique as possible
            }
        ],


Encoding: can be added to the string type of content. It will encode the content to a buffer type according to the encoding value you set (base64, binary, etc.)


     `   // Binary Buffer attachment
        {
            filename: 'image.png',
            content: Buffer.from(
                'iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAABAAAAAQAQMAAAAlPW0iAAAABlBMVEUAAAD/' +
                    '//+l2Z/dAAAAM0lEQVR4nGP4/5/h/1+G/58ZDrAz3D/McH8yw83NDDeNGe4U' +
                    'g9C9zwz3gVLMDA/A6P9/AFGGFyjOXZtQAAAAAElFTkSuQmCC',
                'base64'
            )`


Step 3. Deliver a Message With sendMail()


Once we created a transporter and configured a message, we can send it using the *sendMail()*method:

transport.sendMail(mailOptions, (error, info) => {
        if (error) {
            return console.log(error);
        }
        console.log('Message sent: %s', info.messageId);
});

Nodemailer Capabilities

We have covered the info on how to create and send an email in Nodemailer via SMTP, experimenting with different types of content: HTML, tables, lists, attachments, and embedded images. What is good about Nodemailer is that it offers a bunch of various options and settings, so you can customize every piece of your email.


Previously published here.