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ListServ FAQ

Have some questions about ListServ, or need some troubleshooting help for your list? See answers to some common issues below.

If you need further assistance, contact us!

What is a ListServ?

ListServ is a mass email platform that allows users to send an email to hundreds, even thousands, of recipients simply by addressing their message to one list address.

What types of lists are available?

Lists can be set up for announcements or discussions. Announcement lists are ideal for newsletters, workshops, and welcome messages, while discussion lists (private, public, or moderated) are ideal for departmental communication, class discussions, and student organizations.

What about privacy?

Use of a ListServ list means that only the list address is visible in the "To:" field of the message. All addresses subscribed to the list are hidden from recipients, and may only be viewed by the list owner.

What if I want a new email account to manage my list?

As long as a Drexel-affiliated email address owns the list, any email address can be added as an additional list owner. Thus, you could create a new third-party account to manage the list. Faculty and staff may also request another basic Drexel email account by sending their request to

Why did ListServ reject my message?

This usually means you sent a message from an email account that doesn't have ownership or send access to the list. Because ListServ is partially automated, it can't recognize any address that is not explicitly given ownership or send access to the list in question. This includes the short form and long form of Drexel basic email accounts. Please contact

Can I include attachments?

Generally no, except under special conditions. A small attachment (50 KB or less) is generally safe for a small list (300 recipients or fewer). However, bear in mind that ListServ distributes a copy of your message to each recipient on the list. That could mean e.g. 50 KB multiplied by 300 recipients. Large mail jobs cause noticeable delays on the entire Drexel mail server.

Are list subscriptions updated automatically?

Depends on the type of list. All class lists are automatically updated. Most departmental/organizational lists must be manually managed, especially those with very specialized audiences.

Bulk subscription issue on Macs: only one address subscribes.

Macs uploading plain text (.txt) address files for list subscription, via the "Bulk Operations" tab in the list management interface (, will need to take a couple of extra steps. ListServ understands how a PC encodes the file, but it does not understand Mac encoding. Thus, the .txt file created on a Mac will need to be saved with a Western or Unicode UTF-8 encoding prior to upload. This external Web site provides instructions for converting the file.

Can unsubscription be automated?

Yes. We have a script that can be added to the footer template for the list. However, please note that there will be some cases where ListServ cannot find a subscription. This is usually because a recipient was subscribed under their Drexel long form address, and ListServ only sees their Drexel short form address. Submit your request or questions to

I can't find an address on my list.

Contact us at If you are looking for a Drexel address, we can look up and search for both the recipient's long and short form. We can also look to see if the recipient has a forwarding address. Oftentimes, ListServ gets confused by the long and short form of Drexel addresses, and usually only sees the short form in headers. It is a good general practice to subscribe only the short or long forms of Drexel addresses to your list--this makes searching for them and unsubscription easier.

I can't remove an address from my list.

This usually happens when an extraneous bit of code gets subscribed with the address you're trying to remove. This bit of code tends to show up as a question mark icon, or it might be invisible altogether. If you delete the address, but find it still on the list, the easiest way to fix the issue it to do the following:
  1. Review the list subscriptions.
  2. Copy and paste all of the addresses and names into a plain text editor.
  3. Fix the bad address, removing any extra spaces or bad characters you see.
  4. Save the file to your desktop.
  5. Wipe the list and re-add your subscribers via the "Bulk Operations" tab, using the file you saved in the previous step.

This will remove all bad characters from the list.

I received an error message from ListServ.

Chances are it's a bounce notification or a rejection message (see above regarding the latter). Bounce notifications often show up as "X-type" errors that list the bounced addresses and the reason.

I didn't receive a confirmation request.

Since ListServ can only run one job at a time, the confirmation request might be in line behind a large mailing. Delays of 10-20 minutes are not uncommon. However, confirmation requests sometimes go to junk mail folders, so be sure to check there first if one goes missing. If the confirmation request is still missing hours later, or if the message is very time sensitive, please contact us at

I got a message with a link. Is it safe?

Even though these URLs look phishy (good job being cautious!), they are in fact legitimate. When you receive Drexel mass emails with links, the links will be replaced by these ListServ links that track the number of clicks in our mailing system. This data is anonymous and aggregated, and cannot be used to track individual clicks. Once the link is clicked, the URL reverts to the true URL in the browser tab.