The UNOFFICIAL Generic New LISTSERV© Owner's Kit

Once a default, generic header for your list has been placed by the LISTSERV's PostMaster, you will need to modify the header to meet your list's needs. This is a four step process:

(Be sure to substitute the name of your list for "listname" in all cases.)


  • The first thing you need to do is read very carefully any information emailed to you by the LISTSERV PostMaster.

  • Then you need to define a password. [If you are a subscriber on the same system your new list is placed on and already have a LISTSERV password, you can skip this part.]

    Your password must consist of alphanumeric characters from the set: A-Z a-z 0-9 $#@_-?!|%. Passwords are not case sensitive. Defining a Listserv password can be done two ways:

    1. Send an email to listserv@domain with the following command in the body of the message: PW ADD YourPassword
    2. If your your list has a web interface, use the "Get a new LISTSERV Password" link on that page
Then, you will be sent an email asking you to confirm your password request and you must reply with your confirmation before you can use your new LISTSERV password. Reply to the mail with only the text: OK

  • 2) Send an email to listserv with one of the commands:
    GET ListName (HEADER
      This command GETS your list's header and automatically "locks" your list so that no changes can be made to the operating copy on the server until you store your list back to the server via a PUT command. Alternatively, should you decide no changes are needed, issue an UNLOCK ListName command. A locked list prevents new subscribers from joining the list or existing subscribers from changing their delivery options.
      This command GETS your list's header without "Locking" the list.

    You will get an email back from the listserv that looks simular to the following:
    Date sent: Fri, 25 Sep 1998 13:03:03 -0400
    From: "L-Soft list server @ Listserv Place (1.8c)" <LISTSERV@LISTSERV DOMAIN>
    Subject: File: "LISTNAME LIST"
    To: Me <my1@address.COM>

    * Short, 1-line List Description
    * Default-Options=Repro,SubjectHDR,mime
    <<snip the rest>>

  • 3) Replace the "XXXXXXXX" in "Put List_Name PW=XXXXXXXX with your LISTSERV password, then edit the header the way you wish it to be for your list. A link to an annotated list header and model list headers to help you in your editing, as well as some links to reference manuals you can use for your task are below.

  • 4) Send the list header to: listserv@domain [it's not a bad idea to send a copy to yourself too] If all went well, you will receive an email from listserv@ that the header was successfully replaced.

    If all does not go well, you will receive an error message.
    Things to check before you start over again:

    • Read the error message carefully
    • Each line must begin with an * UNLESS you are using a listserv web based list management site to edit your header, then, do not put a * to start each line.
    • Word wrap can mess you up, turn it off if you can
    • Not everything that is on one line in the default header has to be on one line!

    If you still can't figure out what is wrong, send the Postmaster a copy of your header and the error message you are getting: Sometimes, a mistake is made in placing the list and only they can correct it.

    The following link will give you more information about the list header and some sample list headers:
    Annotated List Header - Info and Samples

    Creating/Editing Welcome and Farewell messages


    Once you have the list set up the way you wish, try subscribing people to the list and sending some test messages. See the cheat sheet page for subscription commands:
    When you are sure the list meets your needs, send a general announcement wherever you think appropriate.

  • wherever you think appropriate.