Newsletter plugin has only one database made of unique email addresses. Every address, which is actually a subscriber, can be part of one or more lists you use to target the subscribers when you send a newsletters or to associate special services (like the Automated Newsletters Extension).

The subscriber can be associated to one or more lists in different ways:

  • as set on subscription configuration panel where a number of lists can be specified and will be assigned to every new subscriber (selected lists can be public or private)
  • as selected by subscribers in the subscription form, if you configured one or more lists to be shown during subscription
  • as set as defauls lists via the list attribute when using one of the provided shortcodes that generate a subscription form (for example [newsletter_form list="1"]) those lists must be public since they are added with hidden fields in the public subscription form
  • as set on configuration of professional extensions (woocommerce, contact form 7, wp user registration, …)

Multilanguage: to understanding the multilangiage setup (available when you use WPML or Polylang), please refer to the Newsletter multilanguage documentation page.

Private and public lists

A private list can be set or unset on subscriber profile only by administrator. Lists set as public (available duwring subscription or on profile editing page) can be managed directly by the subscriber.

Pre-assigned lists

When a list is marked as “pre-assigned”, every new subscriber is added to that list. Pre-assigned lists can be public or private.

Different forms with different lists

If you create more than one subscription form (with different purposes) you should assign the subscription to different lists, so you can then distinguish the origin of subscribers and target them separately. For example you create two landing pages, one asking to subscriber to sport news and one to subscribe to outdoor news. You should create two lists (sport and outdoor) set them as “available on profile editing page” and create two subscription forms on your landing page as:

[newsletter_form list="1"] [newsletter_form list="2"]

Newsletter manages double subscriptions and is able to update and merge the subscriber profile if it subscribes twice, both on the first landing page and on the second one.

More on subscription in different lists:

Few best practices

When you send an email, that email should answer the question: What’s inside for the subscriber? Is it something their interested in? Letting the subscriber tell you their  preferences is a perfect way to know what to send them.

While the subscriber can use the lists to express their interests, you will have those preferences on hand when you want to send emails. It’s like you are creating channels. Let’s make some examples.

On a software product oriented blog, you can set up three preferences:

  1. product updates
  2. developer channel
  3. tutorial and use cases

To users in list #1 you’ll send everything related to updates, bug fixes (ready to be installed), new features and so on.

To those in list #2 you’ll send technical information.  For those who use the product as a developer they should have technical skills to understand the content.

To users within list #3 you’ll send examples to get the best from your product.

When you need to promote something related to your product, for example a promo code or a complementary product, you can mail to every subscribers without distinction (since everyone is potentially interested). No need to create a fourth list merging the first three.

Or you can send to only a couple of list, for example lists #1 and #2. Newsletter will take care to merge the subscribers fro both the lists.

Subscribers can modify their preferences on the profile edit page. On every message you should care to add a {profile_url} tag (then converted on a link to the profile page) inviting the receiver to modify their profile if needed.

When you create a new list

If you create a new list because you find there is something new you can email with consistency, you can simple mail you subscribers (all) and invite them to activate that list on their profile page, if they are interested. No need to create a different list or to subscribe a second time, they are already subscribed!

Private lists

If a list is marked as Disabled/Private it means subscribers cannot control it, they cannot activate or deactivate that list in their profile. But the list itself is “usable” by the administrator and she can associate users to that preference and use it as an internal user classification. Private lists are available when targeting a newsletter.

An example of use of private lists is when you can identify a special group of subscribers (usually managed by hand) and you don’t want anyother be able to enter that “group” without your consent. 

Public lists

A list is considered public when the subscriber can activate and deactivate it by it self. There are two options here: shoe the list on the subscription form or show it only on the profile editing form.

You can invent many combinations, for example:

  1. Force the activation of a public list during subscription (see below) but make it changeable on the profile editing panel
  2. Show lists during the subscription process (configuring them adequately) so the user can activate them (but the subscription form becomes more complex)
  3. Setting lists modifiable only on subscriber profile page to make the subscription form simpler and show the profile editing form on the welcome page, just after the subscriber confirms their subscription (inviting them to select what they want to receive)


Lists can be used for retargeting. With the Reports Extension you can easily select a subset of targeted subscribers which opened or clicked your newsletter and put them in a temporary list to send a second email only to interested users.

Or you can keep a special list “active users” and add to that list who click or open your emails. Lists are very flexible.


Can I set/unset massively a list?

Yes, just use the “massive actions” on subscribers management panel: here there are a lot of operation you can; unset a list, set a list, “move” users between lists and so on.

Can I have more than 20 lists?

Yes, but actually it is a static configuration, you have to modify your wp-config.php. The code to add it is:

define('NEWSLETTER_LIST_MAX', 30);

or a different number. Follow the steps:

    1. deactivate the plugin
    1. change the wp-config.php
  1. reactivate the plugin

No data will be lost.

Lists are converted in database columns, you should avoid to get over 100.