Ethereal is a free e-mail catching service, mostly aimed at (but not limited to) Nodemailer users. Configure Ethereal as your outbound SMTP service and start sending mail. Nothing is actually delivered, all emails are caught and stored for review. What makee Ethereal stand out is the IMAP support and the freedom to create as many accounts as you wish, even programmatically.
Ethereal is mostly useful for app development. Instead of configuring a real email account for sending mail your application can automatically request an Ethereal test account and use it for message delivery. You get the same experience as using any other mail service provider, you can configure it as an outbound mail server and send your transactional or marketing emails through the Ethereal service. Unlike real email services Ethereal only accepts mail for delivery but never actually delivers anything. Instead you get an URL (or use your favorite IMAP app) to conveniently preview the sent messages.
Ethereal accounts can be created by Nodemailer using the
nodemailer.createTestAccount(callback) method (or if you want to create accounts the old way, then from the login page). This method requests a new account (or uses a cached account) from Ethereal and returns related information. All Ethereal accounts look exactly as any other SMTP service account. For applications trying to send mail there's no difference whatsoever.
Once you have sent your message using an Ethereal account, you can get message preview URL with the
nodemailer.getTestMessageUrl(info) method (the
info object is the response from
sendMail). Open that URL in your web browser to see the sent message. Message URLs are public and do not require authentication. Or to be more correct, the authentication info is encoded into the URL.
Alternatively you can log in either here and see the messages page or use your favorite IMAP/POP3 client to access the sent messages.
You sure don't have to even though you can. Account details are cached in memory so if you make two account requests from the same process you only create one new account. If you do not want to list sent messages then you don't have to worry about accounts, if you do though, then you should store the account details somewhere and reuse these. Normally you would generate a single account and use it for all your testing.
Messages are stored for few hours days, after what these are deleted. Message envelope info also indicates the expected expiration time after what the message is deleted.
Currently not. The server is not the fastest one so you probably can't send too many messages at once to it anyway.
All messages, both sent and received can be found from the INBOX folder (unless the message is already expired).
Ethereal Email service is funded by the ads displayed on Nodemailer.com.
No, you can use any mail client or library that supports SMTP, be it PHPMailer or even Outlook Express.
Every address gets a quota of 100MB message storage. Once that quota is full you can not receive any more messages to your account address. To clean up some space you can either use an IMAP client (using POP3 does not work) and delete older messages. Alternatively you could just wait up until all stored messages expire automatically.
Yes, below is a screenshot of an email caught by Ethereal