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What is the basic difference between using php mail function and smtp?

What is the basic difference between using php mail function and smtp? I used the mail function in my form and recieved the following error: Warning: mail() [function.mail]: Failed to connect to mailserver at "localhost" port 25, verify your "SMTP" and "smtp_port" setting in php.ini or use ini_set() in C:\Inetpub\vhosts\knowledgewoods.in\httpdocs\online\pmp\OnlineRegistrationGeneric.php on line 94

Please Help...!!!

Hi Bhaskar,

I'm working on that myself. I'm using Debian Linux with Apache2. I see you are using Windows. I have a php script for mailing data from an html form that works from my website at Godaddy but not mt local server. I'm going to contact them and see if they can help. On my local server I don't get error messages, the server seems to think everything went well.