5 Ways to Send Email From Linux Command Line

Written by Rahul, Updated on September 11, 2019 Linux Commands, Mail Servicesmail, mutt, sendmail, ssmtp, telnet

We all know the importance of emails these days for information transfer. There are many free emails service providers which we used for use like Gmail, Yahoo, RediffMail etc, which provides a web interface for sending and receiving emails. But this is not enough, sometimes we also required to send emails from system command line. This tutorial will provide you multiple ways to send emails from the Linux command line. This is useful for sending email through our shell scripts, cronjobs etc.


There are various ways to send emails from the command line but here I am sharing few options used by most users. You can use anyone option given below to send email from Linux command line.

1. Using ‘sendmail’ Command

Sendmail is a most popular SMTP server used in most of Linux/Unix distribution. Sendmail allows sending email from command line. Use below instructions to send email using ‘sendmail‘ command.

Created a file with email content:

cat /tmp/email.txt

Subject: Terminal Email Send

Email Content line 1
Email Content line 2

Subject: line will be used as subject for email.

Now send email using the following command.

sendmail [email protected]  < /tmp/email.txt

Read more: Install and Configure Sendmail on CentOS/RHEL

2. Using ‘mail’ Command

mail command is most popular command to send emails from Linux terminal. Use few of below examples to send an email.

mail -s "Test Subject" [email protected] < /dev/null
  • -s is used for defining subject for email.

Also, you can send an attachment with this command. Use -a for mailx and -A for mailutils.

mail -a /opt/backup.sql -s "Backup File" [email protected] < /dev/null
  • Here -a is used for attachments. Use -A for debian based systems, which uses mailutils package.

You may face issue: Bash: mail: command not found

Also, we can add comma separated emails to send the email to multiple recipients together.

mail -s "Test Email"  [email protected],[email protected] < /dev/null

3. Using ‘mutt’ command

Mutt is basically used for reading emails from Linux terminal from local user mailboxes, also useful to read emails from POP/IMAP servers. Mutt command is little similar to mail command. Use few of below examples to send an email.

mutt -s "Test Email" [email protected] < /dev/null

Send an email including an attachment

mutt  -s "Test Email" -a /opt/backup.sql [email protected] < /dev/null

4. Using ‘SSMTP’ Command

sSMTP allows users to send emails from SMTP server from Linux command line. For example to send an email to user [email protected] use following command. Now type your subject of the email as below with keyword Subject. After that type your message to be sent to the user, After finishing your message press CTRL+d (^d) to send the email.

ssmtp [email protected]
Subject: Test SSMTP Email
Email send test using SSMTP
via SMTP server.

Read more: How to Setup SSMTP Server on Linux

5. Using ‘telnet’ Command

As per my experience, all system administrators use telnet command to test remote port connectivity test or login to the server remotely. Most of the newbie in Linux doesn’t know that we can send email using telnet also, which is the better way to troubleshoot email sending problems. Below is an example of email sending.

Red marked text is the user input and remaining is the responses of that commands.

telnet localhost smtp

Connected to localhost.localdomain (
Escape character is '^]'.
220 fbreveal.com ESMTP Sendmail 8.13.8/8.13.8; Tue, 22 Oct 2013 05:05:59 -0400
HELO yahoo.com
250 tecadmin.net Hello tecadmin.net [], pleased to meet you
mail from: [email protected]
250 2.1.0 [email protected] Sender ok
rcpt to: [email protected]
250 2.1.5 [email protected] Recipient ok
354 Enter mail, end with "." on a line by itself
This is test email only

250 2.0.0 r9M95xgc014513 Message accepted for delivery
221 2.0.0 fbreveal.com closing connection
Connection closed by foreign host.

Thank you for using this article. We will add more ways soon with this list. We also request you to help me with more commands which you know and not listed above.

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