Setting up Blog by Email

I have been attempting to set up the “Blog by Email” feature in WordPress.  I imagine my life would be significantly easier if I didn’t feel the need to have my own server or at least my own account with a web hosting company. With so many free services, like Flickr,, GooglePages, etc., you can do just about anything you want for free.  And yet . . . I have this strange sadistic need to “control” my web services.

In wordpress there is an option to have it check an email account and post the contents of the email to the blog.  Eventually, I managed to get it to work through the following primary steps.

  1. Set up a “secret” email account with my hosting company, Dreamhost.  This was an ordeal in and of itself.  I tried to set up just an email and it took me forever to realize that I had not associated it with an ftp or shell user account. I eventually learned that if you set it up this way, your login is the entire email, not just the part preceding the “@”.  Anyways, I later determined that I did want this associated with a shell account so that I could utilize a program called procmail to automatically retrieve a webpage everytime an email arrived.
  2. Fill in the necessary details in the WordPress .. Options..Writing page.
  3. You can go to the page: every time you send in an email and it will check and upload the email contents to the blog.  However, if you want this to be done automatically you either need to use procmail or set up some sort of chron job, either by plugin or script.
  4. I decided to set up procmail.  I created the .procmailrc file in the $HOME directory of the blogemailaccount.  It was set up to automatically retrieve the afore mentioned page whenever mail arrived.  After several failures I realized that I also needed to set up a .forward.postfix file that simply said, “|/usr/bin/procmail -t” so that arriving mail would be piped to the procmail program.

Now it works, except for the fact that if I send it as HTML, the doctype line appears at the top.  If I include an image, the image is not uploaded, but instead, thousands of characters appear in the blog associated to the image.

For the majority of my blogging, I’ve decided to use the Performancing Add-on for Firefox, unless I am on my PDA, in which case I have no need for HTML uploading or image attachment.

I’ll probably be repeating this for the math blog, Natural Blogarithms, as well.

powered by performancing firefox


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