Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) is an Internet standard for electronic mail (email) transaction. It was defined by Jonathan B. Postel (RFC 821) in the year 1982 and was last updated in the year 2008 with the Extended SMTP addition by RFC 5321. This protocol is widely used in carrying an email marketing campaign in today’s world. This blog gives more insight on a tough fight on Amazon SES vs SendGrid.
The acronym SMTP stands for Simple Mail Transfer Protocol as I have already mentioned above, is considered to be the backbone behind email flow on the internet. The process of delivering an email, as a matter of fact, is quite similar to traditional mail delivery. A well-structured system takes care of your envelope and after a series of steps, it takes care to drop off the envelope to your targeted recipient. The SMTP server simply acts as a ‘postman’ throughout the process. They are also cost-effective email marketing tool compared to the ESPs that are present in the market. Once the message has been selected, they are sent through this server who tactfully delivers emails to the right recipients. In spite of helping millions of email marketers in the process of email marketing campaign, the SMTP server lacks few vital features like campaign management tools; a sneak peeks into email delivery reports, etc.
After blabbering about SMTP server, I think I should point out to the main point of this blog. We all have heard about Amazon SES and SendGrid, two being the popular SMTP servers in their own respect. Not to mention they are used widely by numerous email marketers. However, both have their share of pros and cons which ultimately encourages an email marketer to decide which tool would be suitable for their email marketing campaign. Before I switch on my ‘judgemental attitude’ to start with the comparison, let me just put down a small introduction about these two tools.
Amazon SES: Amazon Simple Email Service (Amazon SES) is one of the most cost-effective email marketing tool that has been built with the implementation of dependable and scalable infrastructure. It was developed by Amazon.com to the server it’s own customer base. Amazon SES has been designed to send transactional emails, marketing emails or any other type of supreme quality content to their subscribers. Apart from that, Amazon SES requires no minimum commitment as the users get the benefit whereby they only pay for what they use.
SendGrid: SendGrid was founded in 2009 who masters in the art of sending transactional emails. It was developed and introduced during a period when there prevailed a disruption related to cloud-based email service. Thus, SendGrid helped the growing companies to send emails to their list of subscribers during a time when sending emails were a complete painful and messed up the process. Today, this company is responsible for sending emails on the bulk basis on behalf of some of the best and top notch companies in the world. SendGrid’s reliable platform, tools, and pro services team make it super easy fro the developers and the marketers to design, segment, test and successfully deliver all their emails irrespective of the fact whether it is a purchase confirmation, password reset instruction or a nurture campaign.
Amazon SES vs SendGrid
Thus, after the small introduction about both the SMTP servers, I will be comparing these two tools with each other.
This comparison I will carry out in few points. Given below are the following points and the comparison based on it.
Amazon SES: We all know that Amazon SES is one of the best transnational email tool present in the market. However, when it comes to providing dedicated IP Pool, Amazon SES might turn out to be a little bit low on that point. Amazon unfortunately only provides shared IP pool to their users for the purpose of sending emails from business to mailbox providers. They have not kept the option whereby the users can get dedicated IP pool for sending. This in turns blocks their path in building their own email sending reputation over an IP address.
SendGrid: Unlike Amazon SES, SendGrid provides both the IP pools – shared and dedicated. However, in case of dedicated IP address, the users will need to buy it as add-on and this makes SendGrid costlier when it comes to pricing. Dedicated IP pools are far more expensive than shared IPs. However, they help the users to build a healthy email sending reputation with the mailbox providers.
Inbound Email Processing
Source: Amazon AWS
Amazon SES: Unique at this feature, Amazon SES provides the facility to receive and process the incoming emails. This feature happens to be an add-on benefit as the users can send and receive emails easily.Source: SendGrid Email Flow
SendGrid: There is no such facility that SendGrid provides to its users. Thus, Amazon wins in this prospect. However, the users can receive incoming mails in the mail box which they can configure for free by using services like Yandex or can use popular mailbox clients from Google Apps, Outlook and other.
Email Sending Limitation
Amazon SES: With Amazon SES, the users get to start with sending 5 emails per second. This number can go up to 50000 emails per day. However, numbers can further go up if the users happen to maintain a good email sending reputation. Therefore, one needs to to be pretty cautious if he/she has the intention of sending more number of emails per day.
SendGrid: It differs a little bit from Amazon. Here, the users need to buy the huge quantity of emails with which they can slowly increase their email limitation. Again, this limitation entirely depend on the email sending reputation.
Amazon SES: It only allows the facility to white label email sending domains. It does not provide other white labelling options for tracking domain and mailed by domain.
SendGrid: In this aspect, however, SendGrid takes the cake. It allows a complete white label solution in email marketing. With SendGrid, the users will be easily able to white label the email sending domain, tracking domain and emails by their domain name. This, in turn, helps in building good email sending reputation with the mailbox providers.
Email Sending Speed
Amazon SES: Amazon SES works at sending emails at much higher speed compared to SendGrid. They happen to send 3,000 emails per second which is a humongous number. A bow to Amazon SES for providing such a huge email sending speed to their users.
SendGrid: SendGrid, however, does not follow a specific number as Amazon SES neither they are masters in sending emails maintaining that high speed. Here, the email sending speed depends on upon the plan that the user chooses to use and the domain reputation.
“Email has an ability many channels don’t: creating valuable, personal touches – at scale.” – David Newman
Amazon SES: Amazon SES strongly follows in the policy ‘pay only for what you use’. Thus, there is no minimum fee. However, if a person is an Amazon EC2 user, he/she can start sending emails through Amazon SES for free. He/she can indulge himself/herself in sending 62,000 messages per month to any recipient. This can only happen when the user Amazon SES from an Amazon EC2 directly or through AWS Elastic Beanstalk.
To make things more exciting for the user, he/she will also get the benefit of receiving 1000 messages per month for free on Amazon SES. Due to this, many users are able to operate entirely within this free tier limit, and it does not even expire. This is something that makes Amazon SES a unique SMTP server compared to the others that are present in the market. Underpaid plan, Amazon charges email messages at $0.10 per 1,000.
SendGrid: Though SendGrid claims their pricing policy to be flexible (which is true to a certain extent), it is much more costlier compared to Amazon SES. Under the free plan, the user can send 12,000 emails per month and store 2000 contacts for free which does even requires the usage of any credit card. Under the paid plan, SendGrid’s pricing plan is divided into three major categories on a monthly basis– Essentials, Pro and Premier, the last one being the most expensive plan. Their lowest pricing plan starts from $9.95 which includes 40,000 emails.
I have successfully put down the comparison between these SMTP relays and now I leave the rest upon the readers or the audience to decide which tool will work for them the best. How they would be using each tool to suit their business needs depends on upon their mood or wish. Both the tools are packed with their pros and cons. Therefore, choose wisely so that use can make the optimal use of the tools mentioned above (Amazon SES and SendGrid) as per your choice and pocket size (not to forget, it must meet your business needs as well).