Amazon SES

Amazon SES - Features, Pricing, Alternatives, and More

Matthew Guay
Written by Matthew Guay · Last updated January 26, 2015
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Want to send emails, simply? Amazon thinks it has just what you need with its Simple Email Service. Part of the Amazon Web Services family, Amazon SES is designed just to let you send emails via its API, and nothing else. If you're already storing your files in S3, running your apps in EC2, and using RDS for your databases, SES is the missing link for your email needs.

Like all of Amazon's cloud services, SES is stripped down to do just one thing well. Most email services will at least offer analytics, if not file and template hosting, design tools and more. Not SES. With Amazon's email offering, you'll handle everything on your own.

And it's priced accordingly. There's no plans to pick from, no tiered feature levels: just a flat fee of $0.10 per thousand emails you send, plus another $0.12 per GB of email attachments sent (up to a max of 10Mb per email message). For that, you'll get access to Amazon SES' API and SMTP servers to send transactional emails directly from your app or via any email sending tool, along with stats on your successful deliveries, complaints, and bounced or rejected messages.

If you need anything else, you can mashup the perfect email tool with Amazon's other services. You can track bounced emails with Amazon's SNS notifications system, setup DKIM records with Route 53, and store files with S3. And if you're already hosting your app with EC2, the first 62k emails you send per month will be free.

Just as with Amazon's other web services, SES is available in a number of regions, so you can choose a server that's closest to your company—or to where the majority of your recipients' email servers would be located. You'll have direct integration with Amazon's other services, but if you're running your own app on your own servers or just want to send emails from your desktop apps, SES will work equally well there. Once your account's approved and you have the email quotas you need, you'll be able to send as many emails as you need, as often as you like.

Despite its limited user-facing features, the SES team is still working to make sure your emails will be delivered at a better rate than you'd likely be able to achieve on your own. Amazon promises they monitor ISP guidelines for email deliverability, and filters email content to make sure emails don't contain spam or malware content and won't get blocked by standard spam filters. That, along with setting your DKIM and from address records, should makes sure the messages you send get delivered every time.

Now, all you have to focus on is coding great apps and tools that'll send emails—and writing the email copy that'll get read. And you might not even have to worry too much about the app side, either: Amazon SES is popular enough that there's already plugins and libraries that support it on many common platforms, and apps like Sendy that are designed specifically to help you send beautiful emails with SES.

Amazon SES is a cheap way—if not the cheapest way—to send emails with just the features you need, and to only pay for the messages you send. It's lite on features, but sometimes being great at one thing is better than doing everything. SES is a great option for cheaply sending bulk messages, and if you already use Amazon's other services, it's free tier makes it an even more tempting offering.

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Amazon SES Features

  • Simply send emails via API or SMTP
  • Successful delivery and bounced/rejected message stats
  • Integration with other Amazon web services
  • Filtering to ensure messages aren't spam

Amazon SES Pricing

  • Free for sending up to 62,000 emails per month via EC2
  • $0.10 per thousand emails sent
  • $0.12 per GB of attachments sent

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Amazon Simple Email Service is a scalable and cost-effective email sending service tailored for both bulk and transactional for both businesses and developers.