Amazon SES vs Mandrill vs Twilio SendGrid

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Amazon SES

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Mandrill

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Twilio SendGrid

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Advice on Amazon SES, Mandrill, and Twilio SendGrid

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 · 33.5K views
Recommends
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 · 33.5K views
Recommends
PostmarkPostmark

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
Recommends
MandrillMandrill

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 http://topol.io or https://mosaico.io

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 · 33.1K views
Recommends
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, Mandrill, and Twilio SendGrid

We chose Postmark as our transactional email service for several reasons:

  • Laser-focus (at the time) on transactional email - their success/speed/reliability with delivering transactional email is amazing. Note, they have now branched out and offer marketing/broadcast email services too.

  • Developer-friendly - Awesome docs and resources. Their Rail gem integrates directly with ActionMailer so nearly all of our code worked without changes.

  • Servers - You can set up "Servers" for different mail streams/workflows to keep things separate and easy to review.

  • Bootstrapped - Wildbit (who makes Postmark) is bootstrapped just like the Friendliest.app and they offer a service credit to other bootstrapped startups.

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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 · 28.6K 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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Pros of Amazon SES
Pros of Mandrill
Pros of Twilio SendGrid
  • 102
    Reliable
  • 96
    Cheap
  • 57
    Integrates with other aws services
  • 52
    Easy setup
  • 18
    Trackable
  • 2
    Easy rails setup
  • 188
    Simple installation
  • 141
    Great api
  • 123
    Generous free allowance to get you started
  • 114
    Cheap and simple
  • 99
    Trackable
  • 59
    Well-documented
  • 54
    Doesn't go to spam
  • 47
    Great for mailchimp users
  • 32
    Webhooks
  • 28
    Client libraries
  • 7
    Heroku Add-on
  • 6
    Easy to use
  • 5
    Meaningful Metrics
  • 5
    Free
  • 3
    Advanced Tagging and Reports
  • 3
    Mobile Access
  • 3
    Status Update
  • 2
    Very chimp-like
  • 2
    Great Documentation
  • 2
    love this service
  • 1
    Free Plan
  • 1
    Webhooks for bounce mail
  • 189
    Easy setup
  • 136
    Cheap and simple
  • 107
    Easy email integration!
  • 86
    Reliable
  • 58
    Well-documented
  • 28
    Generous free allowance to get you started
  • 25
    Trackable
  • 21
    Heroku add-on
  • 15
    Azure add-on
  • 13
    Better support for third party integrations
  • 6
    Simple installation
  • 6
    Free plan
  • 4
    Great client libraries
  • 4
    Helpful evangelist staff
  • 3
    Great support
  • 3
    Better customer support than the competition
  • 3
    Great add-ons
  • 2
    Scalable
  • 2
    Nice dashboard
  • 1
    Web editor for templates
  • 1
    Cool setup
  • 1
    Free
  • 1
    Within integration
  • 1
    Easy set up
  • 1
    Great customer support
  • 1
    Google cloud messaging

Sign up to add or upvote prosMake informed product decisions

Cons of Amazon SES
Cons of Mandrill
Cons of Twilio SendGrid
    Be the first to leave a con
    • 1
      Really hard to pull analytics out via api
    • 2
      No Terraform provider
    • 2
      Google analytics integration is not campaign-specific
    • 1
      Shared IP blacklist removal takes months
    • 0
      Shares IP blacklist removal

    Sign up to add or upvote consMake informed product decisions

    What is Amazon SES?

    Amazon SES eliminates the complexity and expense of building an in-house email solution or licensing, installing, and operating a third-party email service. The service integrates with other AWS services, making it easy to send emails from applications being hosted on services such as Amazon EC2.

    What is Mandrill?

    Mandrill is a new way for apps to send transactional email. It runs on the delivery infrastructure that powers MailChimp.

    What is Twilio SendGrid?

    Twilio SendGrid's cloud-based email infrastructure relieves businesses of the cost and complexity of maintaining custom email systems. Twilio SendGrid provides reliable delivery, scalability & real-time analytics along with flexible API's.

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    What are some alternatives to Amazon SES, Mandrill, and Twilio SendGrid?
    Mailgun
    Mailgun is a set of powerful APIs that allow you to send, receive, track and store email effortlessly.
    Mailchimp
    MailChimp helps you design email newsletters, share them on social networks, integrate with services you already use, and track your results. It's like your own personal publishing platform.
    Amazon SNS
    Amazon Simple Notification Service makes it simple and cost-effective to push to mobile devices such as iPhone, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire, and internet connected smart devices, as well as pushing to other distributed services. Besides pushing cloud notifications directly to mobile devices, SNS can also deliver notifications by SMS text message or email, to Simple Queue Service (SQS) queues, or to any HTTP endpoint.
    AWeber
    It is an email marketing service provider with over 100,000 small business clients world wide. It helps people keep in touch with the subscribers who have requested to be on their mailing list.
    Amazon Pinpoint
    Amazon Pinpoint makes it easy to run targeted campaigns to drive user engagement in mobile apps. Amazon Pinpoint helps you understand user behavior, define which users to target, determine which messages to send, schedule the best time to deliver the messages, and then track the results of your campaign.
    See all alternatives