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High email deliverability, bulk email sending, increased security — if that sounds like what you’re looking for, you need a SMTP server.
High-volume email senders need something more reliable than a basic email marketing platform. SMTP service providers enable you to send bulk email campaigns and transactional messages at high speed, without having to worry about deliverability issues.
We’ve reviewed the six best SMTP service providers for high-volume sending and transactional emails. Read on to find the best service provider for your company.
A Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) server is an application that sends emails from senders’ to recipients’ email servers. Simply put, SMTP transfers emails across the internet.
There are regular SMTP servers, like Gmail or Outlook, and dedicated SMTP relay servers, like Sendinblue. While Gmail is good for sending personal emails and occasional campaigns, sending bulk email campaigns and transactional emails is best with a dedicated SMTP relay server.
So how do SMTP servers work?
Without going too deep into the technical details, here’s what happens when you send a business email through an SMTP server:
|SMTP Service||Free plan||Prices start at||Other email marketing capabilities|
|Sendinblue||300 emails/day forever||$25/20,000 emails/mo + Unlimited contact storage||Full suite included; available on Free plan|
|Amazon SES||No||$0.10 for every 1,000 emails||Only email sending services|
|SendGrid||100 emails/day forever||$19.95/50,000 emails/mo||Full suite accessible in Marketing Campaigns Plans (extra fee)|
|Mailgun||No||$35/50,000/mo||Only email sending services|
|Postmark||No||$10/10,000/mo||Only email sending services|
|Mailchimp (Mandrill)||No||$20/500,000/mo + $17/mo for Mailchimp’s Standard Plan||Full suite accessible in Mailchimp (extra fee)|
How do you choose the right SMTP server as a non-tech specialist? Actually, you don’t have to be tech-savvy to choose and successfully use an SMTP relay server for your campaigns. You just need to be aware of the following factors.
High deliverability is the number one reason why anyone uses an SMTP server. The SMTP technology ensures better deliverability than regular marketing campaigns.
So check reviews to make sure users don’t report deliverability issues. Then, send a few trial campaigns and use a deliverability testing tool to measure it yourself.
Without a solid sender reputation, you can’t expect high deliverability from an SMTP server. It’s important that your SMTP relay server provides all the necessary tools for maintaining your sending IP address and helps you avoid recipients’ spam folders.
A proper SMTP server requires new account validation, enables domain name authentication, and follows email authentication protocols (SPF, DKIM, and DMARC).
Retention logs are the metrics of the campaigns you send. It’s best that your SMTP email service retains logs for as long as possible. This way, you can always go back and check them if issues arise.
Most SMTP servers have a 30-day retention period. Some apps, like Sendinblue, allow for unlimited log retention, enabling users to configure their retention period by themselves.
An SMTP server should be easily accessible by non-tech marketers and business owners as well as tech-savvy developers. It’s supposed to simplify the process of email sending, not overcomplicate it.
A user-friendly interface, responsive support, and proper onboarding are among the key features you should be looking for in your SMTP server.
Some SMTP servers are available for free. On this list, only Sendinblue and SendGrid offer free SMTP relay services.
We’ve compiled a list of the best six SMTP service providers that help businesses to send large volumes of emails without roadblocks.
“If you have a WooCommerce store, it’s one the best investments you can make for peace of mind with your emails and automation.”
Sendinblue offers a transactional email service called Sendinblue SMTP. It lets you send a wide range of transactional emails and bulk campaigns:
Sendinblue has an established sender reputation among email clients, including Gmail and Outlook. It’s introduced all the necessary procedures to help you maintain your sender IP reputation. With Sendinblue’s SMTP server, you don’t have to worry about the deliverability of your emails.
If you’re looking for an SMTP server without many bells and whistles, you might want to choose a more basic solution.
Sendinblue offers a free SMTP server. You can send up to 300 transactional emails and marketing messages per day without paying a cent. Paid plans start at $25/month and include 20,000 emails per month with no daily sending limit.
Amazon Simple Email Service (SES) is a transactional and bulk email sending service. It allows developers to build email functionality into any application. It’s particularly good for companies that run applications on Amazon Web Service (AWS).
Amazon Simple Email Service (SES) offers a pay-as-you-go model, where you’re charged based on the number of emails sent and received. You can expect to pay $0.10 for every 1,000 emails. No subscription is needed.
SendGrid is a cloud-based transactional and marketing email delivery service. It provides an SMTP service for reliable delivery and scalability.
SendGri’s SMTP service is free for up to 100 emails/day. Along with SMTP relay, APIs and webhooks are also available on the free plan. To access more email credits, you can upgrade to a paid plan starting at $19.95/month for up to 50,000 monthly emails.
Mailgun is an email service offering a set of powerful APIs for sending, receiving, and tracking emails. Known as a transactional email service “built for developers, by developers,” Mailgun has comprehensive API documentation and an easy SMTP integration.
Mailgun doesn’t offer a forever-free plan. A free trial lasts for 30 days and includes 5,000 free emails. Email APIs, SMTP Relay, and webhooks can be accessed during a free trial and are included in every paid plan. Mailgun’s pricing plans at $35/month.
Postmark is ActiveCampaign’s email service built for developers and product teams. The platform offers a simple but quality SMTP relay service for sending transactional email.
Functionality: If you’re looking for an all-in-one marketing platform, Postmark won’t fit your needs.
Postmark doesn’t offer traditional packages and pricing tiers. You simply pay for email credits and access all the features. However, to get a dedicated IP address, you’ll need to purchase an add-on for $50/month.
Mailchimp Transactional Email (formerly Mandrill) is Mailchimp’s add-on providing SMTP and transactional email services.
Pricing: to access the SMTP service, you’ll need to pay for Mailchimp’s email marketing functionality and buy transactional email credits as an add-on.
Mailchimp has a forever-free plan with a monthly sending limit of 2,500 emails and limited features. To access Mailchimp Transactional Email, you need to upgrade to the paid Mailchimp plan (Standard, Premium, or Legacy Monthly) and purchase transactional email credits. New users can send up to 500 transactional emails for free.
Find out more: Best Mailchimp Alternatives Compared
What are you looking for in your SMTP server? Do you want it to be a comprehensive marketing automation solution? Do you simply need an add-on to connect with your current email marketing platform? If you’re seeking marketing automation software with SMTP relay service, try out Sendinblue SMTP.