Amazon SES vs Mandrill

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Amazon SES vs Mandrill: What are the differences?


Amazon SES and Mandrill are both email service providers that offer reliable and scalable email delivery solutions for businesses. However, they have some key differences that set them apart. In this article, we will explore the main differences between Amazon SES and Mandrill.

  1. Pricing Model: One of the main differences between Amazon SES and Mandrill is their pricing model. Amazon SES offers a pay-as-you-go pricing model, where you only pay for the emails you send. On the other hand, Mandrill offers a subscription-based pricing model, where you pay a monthly fee based on the number of emails you plan to send.

  2. Email Volume Limits: Another important difference between Amazon SES and Mandrill is their email volume limits. Amazon SES has a default sending limit of 10,000 emails per 24-hour period for accounts in the production mode. However, you can request an increased limit if needed. In contrast, Mandrill has different pricing tiers that offer varying monthly email volume limits, ranging from 500,000 to 15 million emails.

  3. Email Templates: Amazon SES and Mandrill also differ in their email template capabilities. Amazon SES provides a basic template functionality that allows you to create and customize email templates with simple HTML and placeholders. On the other hand, Mandrill offers a more advanced template system that includes conditional logic, merge tags, and dynamic content.

  4. Transactional vs. Marketing Emails: Amazon SES primarily focuses on transactional email delivery, such as order confirmations and password resets. While you can send marketing emails through Amazon SES, they have strict guidelines and policies to prevent misuse. In contrast, Mandrill is specifically designed for marketing email delivery, offering features like email tracking, A/B testing, and integration with marketing automation tools.

  5. Third-Party Integration: Both Amazon SES and Mandrill offer extensive third-party integration options. However, Mandrill has a larger ecosystem of integrations, including popular platforms like MailChimp, WordPress, and Shopify. Amazon SES also provides integration capabilities with various services, but it may require more manual setup and configuration.

  6. Email Deliverability Tools and Support: When it comes to email deliverability tools and support, Mandrill has a more robust set of features. It provides detailed delivery reports, bounce tracking, and dedicated IP options. Mandrill also offers a higher level of customer support, including live chat and phone support. Amazon SES, on the other hand, provides basic delivery and bounce notifications but may require additional third-party tools for more in-depth analytics and monitoring.

In summary, Amazon SES and Mandrill differ in their pricing models, email volume limits, email template capabilities, focus on transactional or marketing emails, third-party integrations, and email deliverability tools and support. These differences make them suitable for different use cases and business needs.

Advice on Amazon SES and Mandrill

For transactional emails, notifications, reminders, etc, I want to make it so writers/designers can set up the emails and maintain them, and then dynamically insert fields, that I then replace when actually sending the mail from code.

I think the ability to use a basic layout template across individual email templates would make things a lot easier (think header, footer, standard typography, etc).

What is best for this? Why would you prefer Mailgun, SendGrid, Mandrill or something else?

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Replies (4)
Justini Powell
Lead Developer at Watermark Community Church · | 4 upvotes · 89.2K views
Twilio SendGridTwilio SendGrid

If you need your emails to be sent in a time-sensitive manner, I'd recommend SendGrid. We were using Mailgun and the lag because they aren't "transactional" in nature caused issues for us. SendGrid also has the ability to do dynamic templates and bulk send from their API. I don't know that they have the shared layout ability you mentioned, though.

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Mika Henriksson
Coder at mhenrixon Consulting · | 4 upvotes · 89.2K views

The only transactional email service that I've been able to stomach is Postmark! It is by far the easiest (and quickest to get feedback from) service that I have come across. While drowning in attempts to debug Mandril, Mailgun and others I get quick feedback from Postmark in what I need to do.

Postmark for the win!

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Vit Ulicny

We are using more extensively Mandrill.

It is a ok tool, which gives you the power for emailing with nice set of features.

The templates editing and management is a bit tricky, but this is mostly related to email templates in general, which are hard to create and maintain.

I do not think you can share the parts of the templates. You can have your predefined templates with possibility to insert dynamic content.

They provide a limited possibility to preview and test your templates.

The template editor is text only. For the better editors checkout or

Unfortunately, I do not have experience with the other tools and possibilities to manage templates.

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Aric Fedida
Founder, CTO at ASK Technologies Inc · | 1 upvotes · 88.6K views
Twilio SendGridTwilio SendGrid

At this stage, all of the tools you mentioned do email delivery pretty well. They all support email templates as well. Here are some considerations:

  1. Twilio owns SendGrid. If you're an existing Twilio customer, in my opinion that's a good reason to use SendGrid over the other solutions. The APIs are solid, and Twilio has excellent developer tools that allow you to create interesting automations (which is important for scaling).
  2. Mandrill was created by MailChimp, who have massive experience with email delivery and specifically with emailing beautiful email templates.
  3. Mailgun is a tool on its own. Like the other two, it supports mail templates and is built to be controlled almost exclusively via APIs.

SendGrid and Mandrill have pretty nice WYSIWIG template editors as part of their platform. Not so sure about Mailgun.

So for me the considerations would be: 1. How easy is it for you to integrate with their API? How complete is their API in terms of your own specific needs? 2. Prices: Which one works best for my budget? 3. Am I OK with editing the templates elsewhere (or even by hand), and then pasting the code into Mailgun? Or do I want the comfort of Mandrill or Sendgrid with their WYSIWYG editors?

Personally I'd go with Twilio, simply because it's such a massive ecosystem they are less likely to go bankrupt, and their APIs are rock solid.

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Decisions about Amazon SES and Mandrill
Imelda Garcia

We did a quick test on the reliability of these three common email services, sending a few emails an hour at random intervals.

Unfortunately, none of them had 100% availability over the 30 day test. I don't understand why this is so hard?

Mailgun performed the best with the most reliability and fastest response times. Mandrill was notably bad.

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Slawomir Pucia
Head of Product at Coresender · | 5 upvotes · 81.3K views

Of course we chose Coresender to send our own transactional emails :) So I thought I'll let you know how we use it.

  • We set up separate sending accounts for all company needs, eg. transactional emails, monitoring alerts, time to inbox. We even configured our office printers to send emails through Coresender.

  • We have a real-time and extremely usable view into what emails go through each account, so each time anybody reports an email not arriving we're able to assist them in a few seconds

  • We utilize our message timeline feature, so we can learn eg. if people are clicking on password reset links

  • We always know how many of our onboarding emails are being opened which helps us improve them

  • Finally, we have full controll over our suppressions lists, so we can add (and remove!) from them whenever necessary.

To sum up, at Coresender we're eating our own dogfood and it helps us stay connected to the product and understand our customers better.

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