Hello. My name is Christopher Mavros. I am the developer behind Mavrosxristoforos.com and creator of NS Pro.
I am very happy to present NS Pro to you, since it is a great system that has helped thousands of users spread their Joomla! content, and doing so in a simple and easy way.

If you like NS Pro, please support it by writing a review in the Joomla Extensions Directory.
If you feel it is worth anything less than 5 stars, please contact me first!

1. Configuring NS Pro

Configuring NS Pro is easy. I will explain it in 3 steps:

  1. Setting up the forms
  2. Required Configuration
  3. Customizing NS Pro

1.1. Setting up the forms.

The truth is that you can use NS Pro without creating anything for the front-end. You can just use it as an administrator tool. Most probably, though, you purchased NS Pro to add a Subscribe Form to your site.

1.1.1. Basics

It's very easy to create this Subscribe Form. You only need to either configure the NS Pro module, which shows the Subscribe Form, or create a NS Pro Subscribe Form menu item. Both have simple options to customize the texts you want to show, the layout of the form, and a simple anti-spam question.*

1.1.2. Customizing the Subscribe Form

Both methods to show the Subscribe Form offer an option to require Double Opt-In, which means sending a confirmation message to the user, before confirming their subscription. That is enabled in the Component Options, found from the button Options, in the NS Pro Administrator views.

You can also enable a notification message about new subscriptions, sent to your notification email address, if you wish to. That is also found in the same Component Options, as mentioned above.

The Subscribe Form offers a few options for better usage, found in the menu item edit page, or the module edit page. Except for the obvious text options, you can customize the form with the options explained here:

  • The Unique Form ID: The unique form ID is an identifier used in case you want to have more than one forms on a single page. Although, even if you don't use NS Pro in such a way, you can write a few letters here, just to make sure it is unique. Please, no whitespaces or special characters.
  • The Show Name Field: You can select whether or not you want to show a name field in your form. This is useful in case you only want to show an email field for visitors to subscribe. Although, it is best to have the name, too.
  • The Multiple Lists Appearance Options and the Fixed List IDs: With these options, you can select different ways to show (or hide) the mailing lists checkboxes. You may set a few to be pre-checked, or even hide the mailing lists that are irrelevant to this part of the website. For example, you may have a multi-lingual website, and different mailing lists per language. You may have the English News, the English Offers as well as the Spanish News and Spanish Offers. Obviously, you would use these options to only show the English lists on the English part of the website, and so on.
1.1.3. Adding Extra Fields

You can add extra fields to the Subscribe Form, by creating them in the administrator Field Manager, called "Additional Fields", under Components -> NS Pro.
There are 7 Field Types:

  1. Inputbox (a simple text box),
  2. Textarea (a larger box for text),
  3. Boolean (which shows a Yes or No input),
  4. Radio Buttons (round buttons where user can only select one),
  5. Checkboxes (square boxes where user can select more than one),
  6. DropDown (a list box in which the user selects one value),
  7. Multiple Selection DropDown (a list box where user can select more than one values) and
  8. Hidden, which is very useful for Smart Values (like Subscriber's IP address) and for users who want to manage their own post data using other extensions.
When creating a new field, you can see more information on the [?] buttons next to the Validation Regular Expression field and the Initial Value field. You can validate field input, with the "smart" Regular Expression shortcuts, which are explained in the [?] buttons.

To create multiple different forms, you can use the "Fixed Field IDs" parameter of each menu item or module. That is simple. The Field Manager can be thought of, as a Field bank, from which you can select and use only a few fields, by writing their IDs in the Fixed Field IDs parameter. An example would be: 1,3,6

1.1.4. Anti-Spam Tips

The idea behind good Anti-Spam question is to write something obvious for humans, and completely unknown for programs.
Here are a few good examples:

  • What color is the sky?
  • How many legs on a dog?
  • How many eggs in a dozen?
  • What language is this written in?

And here are a few bad examples:

  • What color is a dog?
  • How much is 4+4?
  • 12 - 6 * 2 + 5^2?
  • What is the capital of Italy?

1.2. Required Configuration

There is no such thing in NS Pro. NS Pro is designed to "plug and play". Besides creating the Subscribe Form, you do not need to configure anything else. Although, there are some optional functionalities that you may want to use, that require some configuration to be enabled. Those are explained below.

1.3. Customizing NS Pro

There are two ways that NS Pro can be customized. The first one is to simply change texts, layouts and messages and the second one is to enable additional functionalities. Let's discuss first about changing various texts.

1.3.1. Changing Texts, Layouts and Messages

Most texts can be changed from the Options found in the Edit Menu Item page, or the Edit Module page. Although, if a text shows up somewhere and you cannot find it in those Options, you may want to check the language ini files. These files are found in the directory "language" of your website, and are organized per language.
For English, the default directory where you can find and edit texts is named "en-GB". In that directory, you should be able to find the following two files from NS Pro:
en-GB.com_nspro.ini
en-GB.mod_nspro.ini

There you should be able to find and change any text shown in the front-end interface.
You can read more information here.

Now, regarding layouts and messages, you should be able to find most options to edit these, again, in the menu item or module parameters. There are, also, some additional options in the administrator Component Options. If you have checked all these options, you may have noticed that you cannot change the Subscription and Unsubscription Confirmation messages, anywhere. That is because you can change those two messages by creating a custom newsletter for each, and scheduling the newsletter as "Subscription Confirmation" or "Unsubscription Confirmation", respectively. This way you can customize their texts as much as you want.

Here are the Smart Texts you can use in custom Confirmation Messages:

  • {conf_host}: Your Site Name. Not really necessary. You can just write it as well.
  • {conf_link}: The link to the confirmation page. Usage: {conf_link}Your link text here.{/conf_link}
  • {conf_url}: The URL of the confirmation page.
1.3.2. Enabling Additional Functionalities

There are a few additional functionalities that you may enable in NS Pro with some configuration. One of them is Newsletter Scheduling, which is discussed on the Newsletters section. Here are some general functionalities:

1.3.2.1. Redirects after Subscription and Unsubscription Confirmation

NS Pro offers the ability to redirect to a thank you page, after successful subscription or unsubscription confirmation. To enable this functionality, all you need to do is write the URL of the page you want, in the Component Options and set switch the corresponding option to "Yes", to enable the feature.

1.3.2.2. Bounce Checks

Sometimes, when you send emails to old subscribers, they may bounce. That means that the email account is no longer active. To avoid spending precious time and server power, you may want to configure a way to detect such bounces.
The configuration is nothing more than a usual IMAP/POP3 Email Client Configuration.
The bounce functionality is simple:
It connects to a mail account inbox, to find bounces. If found, according to your selection, the subscriber may be deleted, or set as Not Confirmed.
The Options required are the following:

  1. Mail Server
  2. Mail Server Port
  3. Connection Protocol
  4. Mail Server Security (encryption)
  5. Self Signed Certificates
  6. Mail Server Account Username (usually same as the Bounce Address), and
  7. Mail Server Account Password
Now, that might seem like a lot of information, but if you don't know where to get it, contact your host and tell them you would like the IMAP connection settings. Those settings are exactly what you need here.

Note: NS Pro can only track bounces for messages sent from NS Pro.
It is strongly recommended to create a dedicated email account for this.

The email address you specify as the Bounce Address, is where the bounce notifications will be sent. The Bounce Account Username might be the same as the address, or changed accoring to your host's requests.
You may even schedule an automatic bounce check, using the Cron Job Key option. Please read below, about Newsletter Scheduling to find out more about how to configure that.

 

2. Subscribers

NS Pro Subscribers are easily managed from the Subscriber Manager, which is in the Joomla! Administrator. In the same view, you can find the NS Pro Import/Export Tools, which are used to import and export subscribers in text and csv format. There, you can find a link to see an import format example and also import subscribers from other programs.

If you want to import subscribers from an old list and want to check if they still want to receive your newsletter, you can import them as non-confirmed and send them a confirmation email by selecting any of them at once or little by little and clicking on "Re-Send Confirmation" in the Subscriber Manager.

2.1. Multiple Mailing Lists

NS Pro allows the creating of multiple mailing lists. Each mailing list is thought of as a group that may contain any number of subscribers. Each subscriber may belong to more than one mailing lists. Mailing lists that are not published can only be used in the administrator part of the website.

2.2. Importing from other programs

First of all, as mentioned above, you can import subscribers in the Subscriber Manager. You can import using .txt or .csv files, not .xls files.
The correct format for import is:

NameEmailDate and TimeConfirmedMailing List IDs
Example Testertester@example.com2015-02-15 14:50True1,2
Another Exampleanother@test.comFeb 15, 2015 14:50Yes1,3
Third Testthird@test.com15-02-2015 14:5012,3

On the table above, you may notice that the date may vary in format, but you must make sure that the format you upload is compatible to your server datetime standards. A common problem is that 11-12-2015 may be rendered November 12, 2015 by some servers or December 11, 2015 by others.
The Mailing List IDs are the IDs of the mailing lists you have created in NS Pro, separated by commas (,).
The separator used in NS Pro is the semi-colon (;), and the comment lines are indicated by a hash (#).
With these rules, the above example would look like this, in the import file:

#Name;Email;Date and Time;Confirmed;Mailing List IDs
Example Tester;tester@example.com;2015-02-15 14:50;True;1,2
Another Example;another@test.com;Feb 15, 2015 14:50;Yes;1,3
Third Test;third@test.com;15-02-2015 14:50;1;2,3

2.3. Migrating from older NS Pro installations

Migration from older NS Pro installations, from any server is very simple. It is basically two steps:
1. Exporting the database.
2. Copying the files.

Step 1 would be very difficult for the average Joomla user. So, NS Pro includes a Migration tool to export the database tables related to NS Pro. In the Toolkit, you can find Tool #7. Click on the "Export Migration File" button, and it downloads a file called nspro_migration.xml
That file, can be imported on your new site, using the same tool, using the browse file input and the button "Upload File and Import".

Step 2 varies depending on what have you used in NS Pro. Since step 1 exports the database tables, you need to copy the files manually. That involves connecting to your server, using either cPanel, Plesk or any other system that includes a File Manager, and copying the following directories:

  • Joomla root/components/com_nspro/uploads
  • Joomla root/administrator/components/com_nspro/uploads

You can zip these directories, download them and just upload and unzip them on your new Joomla site, in the same paths. This will copy all uploads you have done in NS Pro.

 

3. Newsletters

NS Pro Newsletters are easily created, edited, managed and sent from the Newsletter Manager.
NS Pro works fine without any mailing list, so if you create newsletters without assigning a mailing list, they are sent to all subscribers.

3.1. Creating your first newsletter.

When in the Newsletter Manager, you click "New" to create a new newsletter. This takes you to the Newsletter Edit page.
In the Newsletter Edit page, you can see the Sender Details and Content panes on the left, and the Sending Details on the right. The Sender Details refer to who is the Newsletter sent from. The Content consists of the Subject and Message area. Inside the Message, you can apply templates and use smart texts. After applying a template, if that is desired, you can change the newsletter content to whatever you want.
In the Sending Details area, you select which mailing lists the Newsletter is sent to. Remember that setting no mailing list, sends the newsletter to all subscribers.
The Emails Per Send option is the number of emails that you want to send, each time you initiate a sending. This means that the Newsletter will not be sent to all subscribers, unless you initiate the sending as many times as required, unless you set the "Emails Per Send" to 0. A "0" (zero) value means that NS Pro will try to send it to all subscribers at once.
The Sending Filters allow you to send the newsletter only to specific subscribers of each list that match some criteria, based on the Extra Fields you have created.
Scheduling is discussed thoroughly later on.
After finishing editing and setting up your newsletter, it's time for sending!

3.2. Sending your first newsletter

Save your newsletter and get back to the Newsletter Manager view. You will be able to see the "Send" button in the available actions.
Select the Newsletter by clicking on the checkbox that each newsletter has on the left, and click on "Send". This will take you to an intermediate sending view, and then redirect you back to the Newsletter Manager. NS Pro will now start sending the Newsletter to all the subscribers matching the "Sending Filters" criteria in the mailing lists you have selected (or to all subscribers if no list), obviously one at a time, and with each subscriber as the only recipient.
Sending will stop in the following 4 cases:

  1. If a Subscriber's email address is not correct (which can only happen if you imported it).
  2. If the Joomla! Mailing system returns an error and fails to send an email
  3. When the "Emails Per Send" limit is hit.
  4. When the newsletter is sent to all subscribers
In the first two cases, an error is returned and some details are saved in the following file:
Joomla Site Root/administrator/components/com_nspro/error_report.txt
If the newsletter is not sent to all the subscribers it is supposed to, a progress bar will appear in the Newsletter Manager. The Newsletter will keep on sending for a while after you click on the "Send" button, so you should allow it to run, checking the progress once in a while. When you see that it doesn't progress for a minute or two, you can try sending again.
Many Servers only allow a certain amount of emails sent per hour, which is why the "Emails Per Send" option is useful. If that limit is hit, the Joomla! mailing system returns an error sending and thus NS Pro stops, without any problem.
Each time you click on "Send", NS Pro will continue sending from where it stopped. If a Subscriber's email address is incorrect, then it will not progress, and you should take manual action. The error_report file will explain which subscriber is creating the problem.
If new subscribers have been added, after completing the send of a newsletter, you can still "Send" it to them, just by continuing the sending, as if they were in the original list of recipients.
To clear the progress made sending a newsletter, you can use the "Clear Sending Status" button.

3.3. HTML Templates

NS Pro offers the ability to create HTML Templates for your newsletters, which will include all the necessary HTML to easily format newsletters without writing HTML each time. You can manage those in the Template Manager. You can find many free templates online and importing them is just a matter of copying their files to your server, and pasting the HTML in the Template Editor.

3.4. Using Smart-Texts

In NS Pro, you can use "smart texts" to customize or personalize your newsletter. You simply write a special text, similar to how plugins work in Joomla! articles and NS Pro replaces it, in each send, per subscriber.

Here is the full list of Smart Texts you can use:

Subscriber Smart Texts
Subscriber Name:{subscriber_name}
Subscriber First Name:{subscriber_first_name}
Subscriber Last Name:{subscriber_last_name}
Subscriber Email:{subscriber_email}
Extra Field Value:{include:field}field_id{/include}
Smart Text Links
One-Click Unsubscribe Link:{link:UNSUB}Your Text here{/link}
Forward to Friend Link:{link:FTF}Your Text here{/link}
Edit List Link:{link:EDITLISTS}Your Text here{/link}
View Newsletter Link:{link:NEWSLETTER}Your Text here{/link}
Smart Text URLs
One-Click Unsubscribe URL:{url:UNSUB}
Forward to Friend URL:{url:FTF}
Edit List URL:{url:EDITLISTS}
View Newsletter URL:{url:NEWSLETTER}
Smart Text to Include Items
Joomla! Article:{include:article}article_id{/include}
Joomla! Article Title:{include:articletitle}article_id{/include}
Joomla! Article Intro:{include:articleintro}article_id{/include}
Joomla! Module:{include:module}module_id{/include}
Joomla! Module Position:{include:moduleposition}position_name{/include}
Special Smart Texts
Random Content Display:{random:50%}Your Content Here{/random}
The Random Content Display smart text is an interesting feature in NS Pro, where you can add special promotion codes, links or similar, and only send it to a random percent of your subscribers. For example, you may want to send a promotion code to 500 lucky subscribers, out of 5000. That is a percentage of 10%. To do that, you may write something like {random:10%}Super Promo Code here!{/random}.

3.5. Newsletter Scheduling

NS Pro offers the ability to send newsletters automatically, based on a schedule. That may be a specific date, or relative to an event.
Some of the Scheduling options are available without additional configuration. Specifically, those are the following:

  • As Auto-Responder After Subscription
    If you set a newsletter "as auto-responder after subscription", it will be sent to the subscriber when they confirm their email address, or right after completing the subscribe form, if double opt-in is not required.
  • After Unsubscription
    Same as above, a newsletter scheduled after unsubscription will be sent when a susbcriber completes the Unsubscribe form, or after confirming the unsubscription if double opt-out is required.
  • Subscription Confirmation and Unsubscription Confirmation
    The Subscription and Unsubscription Confirmation Newsletters are special newsletters used instead of the default confirmation messages. To see which smart texts you can use, please read about Changing Texts, Layouts and Messages.
There are two more types of Scheduling, which require Cron configuration.
  • Scheduled to Send
    If a newsletter is scheduled to send, you need to specify a specific date and time for it to start sending. Starting at about that time (within 30 minutes), NS Pro will initiate any number of sendings required to send the newsletter to all subscribers, based on what was previously discussed in Sending your first newsletter. The interval between sendings is 30 minutes, so if you have an hourly limit of 500 emails from your server, you may want to write 240 in the "Emails Per Send" field, to also allow a threshold for your site to still be able to send emails.
    This is the easiest and most common way to send newsletters, automatically, just by creating them in your NS Pro installation and allowing them to send with the scheduled settings.
  • Campaign after Subscription
    If a newsletter is scheduled as "campaign after subscription", you need to specify the amount of days (or months) after a visitor subscribes to your site, after which they receive this newsletter.
The additional configuration mentioned repeatedly above is the Cron Job Key option, in the Component Options.
To obtain such a key, for free, you need to visit this page: https://mavrosxristoforos.com/cron-job-key-generator

Once you get this key, you need to write it in the Component Options,
and your site will be triggered twice per hour by my server, after approval.
If you want, you can also try to setup your own cron job, using the script available for download here.

 

4. FAQ & Common Problems

For the most up-to-date questions and answers, please visit the NS Pro FAQ online, at https://mavrosxristoforos.com/support/faq/nspro-faq

 

Thank you for reading this help file.

Please feel free to contact me if you need anything at all.

© NS Pro by Mavrosxristoforos.com
Serving the Joomla! Community with Extensions since 2008.