It’s not exactly the hardest thing to get on a web browser or open an email app and send emails. Wouldn’t it be cool to be able to send emails programmatically though? In this post we’ll go over how to send a simple email with Python. At the end of this tutorial, you should be able to set up your own Python program to send simple emails to anyone you want. This tutorial specifically covers how to send emails from Gmail. Before we get started, you’ll need to head over to your Google account and set up two-factor authentication. To do that, follow the steps below.
Get your Email Authorization Key
- Go to “myaccount.google.com” and then click on the Security Tab
- Once you’re in the Security Tab, scroll down until you see “2-Step Verification”
- After you complete the steps for setting up 2-Step Verification, go to the “App Passwords” section underneath
- Create a custom app and enter whatever name you’d like, I picked Python
- Once you enter a name and click Generate, you’ll see a pop up screen like the one below. Copy the code you get (I crossed mine out) and store it somewhere you have access to.
Great, now that we’re done setting up 2-Step Verification and an app password, we’re ready to move on to the actual programming bit. The first step is to set up a config.py file where we’ll keep the configuration details for our email program. We’ll store our app password, user (Gmail address), host, and port. The host and port I have in the example are the universal ones for Gmail, they will always, or at least for the foreseeable future, be “smtp.gmail.com” and port 465.
gmail_pass = "<your app password here>" user = "<your gmail here>" host = "smtp.gmail.com" port = 465
The Python Code to Create and Send Your Emails
Now let’s set up our actual email script. First let’s handle the imports. The first library we need is ‘smtplib’, this is the native Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (smtp) library for Python and doesn’t require any extra installation. We’ll also need the MIMEMultipart for building the message and MIMEText for writing the body. MIME stands for Multipurpose Internet Mail Extension. We’ll also need a Header library, this is for creating the “to”, “from”, and “subject” portions of your email. At the end, we’ll also import our config from our config file, mine is called email_config.py, but you should feel free to name yours just “config.py” or “configuration.py” or whatever you’d like as long as it’s understandable.
import smtplib from email.mime.text import MIMEText from email.header import Header from email.mime.multipart import MIMEMultipart from email_config import gmail_pass, user, host, port
Let’s build our send_email function. We’ll let our function take three parameters, “to”, “subject”, and “body”. These indicate the address we’re sending the email to, the subject of the email, and the body text. First we’ll craft our “message” or email object. Then we use the Header library and assign the From, To, and Subject values. After setting up our email header, we’ll attach the body as plain text, encoded in utf-8 format. Once we’ve set up our message, all that’s left to do is fire up an email server, login using our Gmail account and app password, send an email, and close the server.
def send_email(to, subject, body): # create message object message = MIMEMultipart() # add in header message['From'] = Header(user) message['To'] = Header(to) message['Subject'] = Header(subject) # attach message body as MIMEText message.attach(MIMEText(body, 'plain', 'utf-8')) # setup email server server = smtplib.SMTP_SSL(host, port) server.login(user, gmail_pass) # send email and quit server server.sendmail(user, to, message.as_string()) server.quit()
That’s it, once you’ve done that, you can supply your own “to”, “subject”, and “body” parameters and get sending emails from the command line!
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