Configuring Email

Getting an SMTP server

Before you configure PANDA for email you’re going to need access to an SMTP (email) server. There are several ways you can get access to one of these.

Using your own SMTP

If your organization already has an SMTP server then you may be able to use it for PANDA. Note, however, that if you host PANDA on EC2 and your SMTP server is internal to your organization you may not be able to reach it. It’s best to discuss this possibility with the IT staff in charge of your email servers.

If you can use your own SMTP server then make sure you have its address, port number, username and password ready so you can fill them in later.

Using CritSend

If you don’t have access to an SMTP server for your organization your best bet is probably to use an email service that provides SMTP access. We suggest CritSend because they are inexpensive (first 1,000 emails are free, next 20,000 are $10) and their registration process doesn’t require that your website is public facing.

To sign up for CritSend visit their website and enter your email address in the signup box. You’ll receive an activation email. Follow it and then click “My Account” and fill out the information they require. In order to prevent SPAM they do manually validate accounts, so make sure you use legitimate contact information. Once you save it will take up to 24 hours for your registration to be validated.

Once you receive notification that your registration has been validated, you’ll be able to use the following settings to configure your PANDA:

  • Enabled: True
  • Host: (if you’re hosting on Amazon EC2 then use
  • Port: 587
  • Use TLS: True
  • From address: YOUR_FROM_ADDRESS

If you wish to setup advanced features such as SPF and Domain Keys to ensure your email is not flagged as SPAM, CritSend has documentation on how to do this.

Using Gmail

Another possiblity is to use Gmail’s SMTP servers for sending email. Note that this solution is somewhat hacky and probably shouldn’t be relied on as a permanant solution.

You’ll need to register for a new Gmail. Do not use your primary email account for this, but do register with a real name and contact information.

That’s it. To use the Gmail SMTP servers, you’ll use the following configuration for PANDA:

  • Enabled: True
  • Host:
  • Port: 587
  • Use TLS: True
  • From address: YOUR_NEW_EMAIL_ADDRESS

Configuring PANDA

Once you have your SMTP connection details ready. You’re ready to configure your PANDA. Visit the settings page at:


Replace localhost:8000 with your PANDA’s domain name.

You’ll be prompted to log in as an administrative user. Once logged in you’ll see a list of configuration options. In the section titled “Email settings”, fill in the details of your SMTP connection and then click “Update Settings”.

To test the new connection click the “Home” link at the top of the screen and then the link to “Add” a new User. Fill in your own email address and click Save. You should get an activation email in your inbox!

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