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What’s the Best Transactional Newsletter Service?

Author

Sept 10, 2020

Robert Brandl

transactional emails

Here’s a common problem: You send out a confirmation order email or a newsletter through your website hosting provider’s email server, but unfortunately hardly any contacts receive the message. That's a particular issue with self-managed newsletter software like Supermailer, Sendblaster, or with WordPress plugins such as Mailpoet.

Why?

Well, there are two underlying problems here. For starters, most website hosting providers have very strict sending limits in place. Companies such as 1&1 or GoDaddy radically limit the amount of email traffic permitted on their servers. 1&1, for instance, will allow no more than 30 emails in 5 minutes. If you try to send out more, the provider will cut you off, and you won’t be able to send anything at all.

And that’s not even the main issue.

Due to the amount of junk and spam sent via email, email services such as Gmail, Outlook, and Yahoo don’t allow messages from unknown servers – it’s that simple. Such emails will either turn up in your spam folder, or worse, never reach your inbox at all.

During our tests using Mail-Tester.com, this was, sadly, often the result:

Deliverability
Image: Here we tried to send an email via our hoster, WP Engine. The message never arrived.

Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo, and similar services just don’t trust email servers without a whitelist entry. What they want is a good sender reputation – and that’s not easy to come by. At least not if you try getting that reputation on your own.

The solution: Use an external email server

All you need is a good email server, also known as an SMTP relay. There are a few providers suitable for both transactional emails (order and registration confirmations, invoices, and other notifications) as well as mass emails (e.g. newsletters).

You can use these scripts for email scripts on your own server, or you can use the desktop software such as Supermailer or Sendblaster.

Here's an overview of a few providers:

COMPANY PRICING COMMENTS
Mailjet

(Review)

6,000 emails: $0 (daily limit: 200)

30,000 emails: $9.65

60,000 emails: $18.95

Features a newsletter editor that allows for segmentation, A/B testing and email automation. Server is located in Germany (EU-based users with privacy concerns). Pricing in EUR and GBP also available.
Sendinblue

( Review )

300 emails (daily): $0

40,000 emails: $25

60,000 emails: $39

Includes a drag and drop newsletter editor, marketing automation, segmentation and unlimited contacts.
Mailgun 5,000 emails: $0 (for 3 months, then pay for what you send)

50,000 emails: $35

100,000 emails: $75

Targets developers and allows a sub-account for your clients.
Sendgrid 40,000 emails: $0 (for first 30 days, then 100/day)

50,000 emails: $14.95

60,000 emails: $29.95

Sendgrid's free plan limits you to 100 emails/day but offers an affordable paid plan.
Amazon SES 1,000 emails per month: $0.10 Good solution if you're already using Amazon EC2 as you'll get 62,000 emails for free each month.
Postmark 10,000 emails: $10

50,000 emails: $50

They are transactional emails, no bulk newsletters.
Mandrill (Mailchimp) 50,000 emails: $40 Relatively expensive and confusing pricing. A paid MailChimp account is always needed.

We use Mailjet for our transactional emails, and it works like a charm. Setting it up is simple, and the tool itself is easy to understand. We've got a score of 10/10 in our Mail-Tester test:

Mail tester deliverability

How does the setup work?

Just open an account and your provider will give you some customer information. You can then enter that information into your email program or script:

mailjet einstellungen
ImageMailjet

Conclusion:

Even though you can theoretically send emails for free by using your own website hosting provider, that's usually not a good idea. (SMTP) is the much better choice. Many services have an unlimited amount of time.

If your website is built on WordPress, you might like to check out the best email plugins for WordPress.

I hope this article is useful to you! Leave me any questions or feedback.

Updates:

10 Sept 2020 – Updated prices