Using emails for online business strategy is like a puzzle. If you agree then you should look into what some of the best SMTP providers can do for you. They provide you with new tools to make your existing tasks easier as well as revealing totally new possibilities.
Before starting let’s make it clear that Email deliverability is not a problem unless you have to send a lot of them
As a WordPress website beginner, you do not need any email-related delivery service at all. You can simply use services like MailPoet and have the emails sent but ideally, it is not the most optimized solution.
Problem with sending Email
Basically, You can differentiate the emails that you need to send into two main types, i.e bulk email and transactional email.
- The first type i.e bulk emails are the ones which are sent to multiple users(list of subscribers) all at once
- The second type of emails are the transactional emails which are sent to individual recipients and it is one to one communication- based on the recipient’s activity. Moreover, it is the recipient who triggers the email to be sent in their direction
Transactional emails are an important type of email-based communication between a business and its audience or customer base. In a nutshell, if you have the tool, plugin, web service, etc and you want a particular thing to communicate with the user automatically based on specific triggers then it is when transactional email happens.
In that scenario, you do not have to do any work, your tools algorithm will detect the things and triggers the email to the particular user (one to one communication) when any transaction happens. Transactional emails can be like:
- New account creation emails
- Order confirmation mail
- Comment responded to mail, etc
So, transactional emails are important and must be delivered to your recipients without fail, and fast
You can achieve this by using PHP’s mail() function or similar in other technologies but these are not recommended as you can run into some deliverability issue here. Especially when you have a shared web server and the server’s IP might already be on spam blacklists, which will send your emails in the recipient’s spam folder and hence conflicting the deliverability. And therefore, this is not a recommended way to sent transactional emails. You can read about who provides dedicated IP here.
Free SMTP Services
SMTP(Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) is an international electronic standard for transmission of emails. Nearly all emails use SMTP. If you get an email in your inbox, most likely it is sent from an SMTP server. Today we will explore some of the SMTP service providers.
The SendinBlue is again a very good SMTP server provider which is easy to use and also supports API, Plugins and Integrations. Integrating SendinBlue with WordPress is very easy. We highly recommend using sendinblue.
Pricing: SendinBlue provides many services like Lite, Essential, Premium, etc. It also provides free service in which you can send 9,000 emails/month, limited to 300 emails per day. All plans can be seen here.
Free Emails: SendinBlue provides 9,000 emails/month for free, if you want to send more mails then you need to upgrade your plan.
Scalability: SendinBlue is available from free to $66/month. It also gives you the opportunity to choose the “Enterprise” plan in which you can customize your plans according to your need. The full detail of the plans can be seen here.
Features: The features of SendinBlue are :
- You can send a transactional email and standard email campaigns
- Import/export features for email data
- You can send the email manually using the user panel
WordPress Integration: SendinBlue can be integrated with the WordPress site and integrating it is very easy. You can use the SendinBlue plugin to integrate the service to WordPress.
To integrate it check this document.
Elastic Email is an SMTP service provider. It has a set of tools for everyone whether you are a developer, marketer or a designer, the tools developed by them, fits all. It provides ultra-fast global infrastructure for transactional emails.
Pricing: It offers 150,000 emails/month for free. If you want to send more emails then you can choose any plan which suits you. The plan’s price ranges from $150 to $4000. You can still send extra emails for an extra charge depending on your plan.
Free Emails: It provides you with 150,000 emails/month for free.
Scalability: The plan ranges from $0/month i.e free to $4000/month. The emails which you get in the free plan are 150,000. The emails limitation ranges from 150,000 to 100,000,000 as per the plan. You can still send extra emails for extra charges.
Features: The features of Elastic emails are :
- 150,000 free emails per month
- Tools for designer, marketer, as well as developer
- A/X testing – to find out what works and what doesn’t
WordPress Integration: It provides the WordPress plugin hence configuration becomes easy for this service too.
Check plugin details here.
MailJet is a cloud-based service which allows you to send transactionally as well as marketing emails. It is a powerful service provider which ensures the maximum deliverability of transactional and marketing emails.
Pricing: It provides a plan for free in which you can send up to 6,000 emails/month i.e 200 emails/day. If you need more emails services then you can get a paid service, it is available for $9.65/month for the basic plan, and $15.50/month for the premium plan. If you want to send the number of emails then you can you will have to pay accordingly. Check the details here.
Free Emails: Mailjet gives you 6,000 emails/month for free. If you want a higher plan, pay it accordingly.
Scalability : It scales between free i.e $0/month (for 6,000 emails/month) to $15.50/month i.e premium plan. There is a mid plan also in which you have to pay $9.65/month. For sending more emails other plans are available here.
Features: The features of MailJet are :
- Easy drag-and-drop email editor
- Email statistics
- Gallery of pre-made marketing and transactional templates
WordPress Integration: Mailjet too can be integrated with WordPress very easily with the help of Mailjet Email Newsletter Marketing plugin by Mailjet SAS. Mailjet plugin is easy to install and configure too.
To check how to configure it, click here.
Amazon SES (Amazon Simple Email Service) is another cloud-based email sending service designed to send transactional and marketing emails to help digital marketers as well as application developers. It can also be integrated into the software you already use, such as ticketing systems and email clients.
Pricing: This service is free as well as paid. For free service, you can send up to 62,000 emails per month, but there is a special condition. You can only take advantage of the free tier (free service) if you are an Amazon EC2 user and “when you call Amazon SES from an Amazon EC2 instance directly or through AWS Elastic Beanstalk.” Also, $0.12 per GB of attachments sent.
Free Emails: Amazon gives 62,000 emails per month for sending more emails, the plan must be upgraded.
Scalability: It allows you to send free mails up to 62,000 per month for the charge of $0 if you are an EC2 user and after 62,000 emails $0.10 per 1,000 emails will be charged.
Features: The features of Amazon SES are :
- Basic numbers on successful deliveries, complaints, and bounced or rejected messages.
- All you get is their API and SMTP.
WordPress Integration: Amazon SES can be integrated with WordPress using the plugin “WP SES”. It is easy to install and configure.
Check how to install the WP SES plugin and configure it with Amazon SES here.
Mandrill is basically a transactional email API for MailChimp users. It provides a reliable and powerful service to send transactional emails, including targeted e-commerce and personalized one to one messages.
Pricing: Mandrill gives you 2,000 emails as free credits and once these are used, you need to upgrade to a paid MailChimp account and start buying more Mandrill credits to continue sending emails. Check the pricing details here.
Free Emails: It gives you 2,000 emails and once they are exhausted you need to upgrade the plan.
Scalability: After the free emails (i.e 2,000) are exhausted, you need to pay for the service. The price of the plan varies from $20 to as per the plan. Check the plans here. Mandrill also provides dedicated IP at $29.95/per month.
Features: The features of Mandrill are :
- Optimized delivery infrastructure.
- Customizable sending options and white-labelling.
- Split testing and comparative reports.
WordPress Integration: Although, the plugin for WordPress is available and it is very easy to install and configure, but their plugin is not updated in two years.
To check how to install it check this page or follow the Instruction below.
Mailgun is an email automation service provided by Rackspace, especially for developers. It provides powerful APIs for sending, receiving and tracking the emails effortlessly. It offers a complete cloud-based email service.
Pricing: It is available free of cost in which you can send a maximum of 10,000 emails/month. If you need a higher level service then paid options are also available. It charges in charge/emails fashion. The charges can be seen here.
Free Emails: Mailgun gives you 10,000 emails/month for free. If you want to send more emails then you can send it on extra charge/per email.
Scalability: You can send as many emails as you want. It offers plans from free to charges depending on the number of emails. Check here for the details.
Features: The features of Mailgun are :
- It automatically delivers the emails at the best time
- Emails Analytics to enhance the email sending performance
- Logs are maintained for 30 days
WordPress Integration: Mailgun can be integrated with WordPress very easily. Mailgun provides the WordPress Plugin to make the WordPress integration easy. The plugin is easy to install and configure.
To check how to configure it, check this page.
Gmail SMTP is the most well-known SMTP provider. Instead of using an unreliable service or technologies for sending emails, you can simply configure Google’s SMTP server settings into whatever script or program you wish to send email from. Since a lot of people use Gmail to access their Emails, emails sent from Gmail SMTP have a very small chance of going into the spam folder. It provides the best deliverability for Gmail users.
Pricing: However, Google SMTP server is completely free of cost, but as we all know nothing is there for free without its limits. There are limits on how many emails you can send per day, recipients per message, etc
Free Emails: It gives 500 emails per day for a trial account (valid for 14 days). Then you must choose a plan and upgrade.
Features: The features of Google SMTP Server are :
- Instant access to google drive and other google services
- Access to google forms, sheets, etc to create whatever you want
- Manage users, devices and data securely and easily
WordPress Integration: Gmail Smtp can be integrated with WordPress but the procedure takes some time and is easy. Firstly you need to install the Gmail SMTP plugin for your WordPress and then configure it.
Postmark is the transactional emails service provider for web applications. It focuses on fast and reliable delivery of transactional emails. The brand strives to maintain a high reputation in the industry as they manually review every new account to maintain fast delivery.
Pricing: Free plan allows their customers to send up to 100 emails per month. Plans price ranges from $10 to $400, but you can still customize the plan. You can check the detailed plan here.
Free Emails: Postmark provides 100 Free emails per month. After that, you need to purchase the plan.
Scalability: The plans of postmark scales between $10/month to $400/month. For the $10 plan, you will get 10,000 emails and for $400 you will get 7,00,000 emails. You can see all the plans here.
Features: The features of Postmark are :
- 45 days of content history
- Responsive, well-tested, highly compatible, and nicely integrated templates
- Two-factor authentication and advanced user permissions to keep data safe and secure
WordPress Integration: There is a WordPress plugin for Postmark hence it is easy to integrate it with the WordPress and configure it.
To check how to configure it click here.
Sparkpost is one of the cloud-based SMTP service providers. Sparkpost is comparatively new and is used by some major brands such as Pinterest, intercom, Zillow, etc. The company claims that 25% of the world’s non-spam emails are sent by them.
Pricing: Sparkpost prices are very convenient for the customers as it is designed as per customer needs. It also provides free service for developers in which it allows 15,000 emails/month and that too with no time limitations. If you want to send more emails then you can choose the plans. It starts at $9 and goes up to $249. In every plan, you can send extra emails with extra charges as per the plan.
Free Emails: It gives you 15,000 emails/month for free and that too with no time limitation.
Scalability: For the free plan it provides you 15K emails/month. The paid plans scales between $9 to $249 and emails range from 50K emails/month to 500K emails/month. You can still opt for ‘High Volume‘, in which you get the higher plans or you can create your own plan.
Features: The features of Sparkpost are :
- 35+ real-time metrics that assess sending, delivery, and customer engagement
- Deliverability and reliability
- Friendly environment for developers
WordPress Integration: Sparkpost also provides the WordPress plugin, therefore, making the integration of the spark post to WordPress bit easier and its configuration too.
Check this page for details.
SendGrid is basically a Denver, Colorado-based customer communication platform for transactional and marketing email. It provides the cloud-based service to send transactional and marketing emails for hundreds of thousands of customers.
Pricing: This service is free for a limited period of time and i.e. 30 days during which you will get 40,000 emails per month and then you will have to pay for the plan which you choose. You can see the plan here.
Free Emails: SendGrid gives you 40,000 emails for a month after that you need to upgrade the plan to continue the service.
Scalability: SendGrid is not free after the trial version is over. The pricing of SendGrid service differs according to the plan. It provides three plans i.e essentials, pro, and premier. The detailed comparison between them can be seen here.
Features: The features of SendGrid are :
- Secure sending environment (for example two-factor authentication when sending).
- Scheduling, segmentation, A/B testing and other marketing features.
- APIs supporting Node,js, PHP, java, etc.
WordPress Integration: SendGrid can be integrated with WordPress site very easily using the SendGrid Plugin.
It is very easy to integrate with WordPress just go through the installation instruction on the SendGrid Plugin page or follow the steps below.
Comparison of Free SMTP Providers
Google SMTP Server
|Free to $25/month||500 emails/day(valid for 14 days)|
|Free to $66/month||9,000 emails/month|
|Free to $4000/month||150,000 emails/month|
|Free upto 62,000 emails/month after that$0.10 per 1,000 emails and $0.12/GB attachment||62,000 emails/month|
|Free trial of 2,000 emails then $20/month to as per the plan||2,000 emails for one time|
|Free to depends on number of emails||10,000 emails/month|
|$0 to $15.50/month||6,000 emails/month|
|100 emails are free per month then $10 to $400/month||100 Free emails per month|
|Free to $249 (High Volume plans not included)||15,000 emails/month|
|Free to $699.95/month||40,000 for the first month only|