Is it inconvenient when your emails of password reset or email address confirmations cannot go to your users because it went to their Spam folder? How to ensure that your users can see it without opening Spam folder? Have you ever heard about transactional email services? It is the excellent solution for these cases. Let’s dig in and find out which service is the best.
The common issues in sending email from a website
Sending emails in the normal way
Most hosting/servers are installed a utility called
sendmail for sending emails from the website to their audiences. Despite its advantage, using
sendmail has a big drawback is that your emails are going to the Spam or Junk folder. You know what it means, don’t you? Your audiences, even your customers, may not read that emails because of missing, of course.
If your website is based on WordPress and uses no plugin for sending email, you will meet the above issue because of using
This problem of
sendmail is raised depending a lot on your server IP and your server/domain set up. For example, your email will be labeled as Spam if your IP is in the blacklist, even not in both blacklist and whitelist also. Domains without valid SPF and DKIM records will meet the same situation. It’s quite complicated to fix.
Besides that, the hosting services also have rules which may affect your sending emails via host or verser. This is the list of sending email limits of hosting providers made by MailPoet. According to this list, not that you always can send plenty of emails at the same time, so you need a solution to remedy this.
Using Gmail SMTP to send emails
Another common way of sending emails from websites is using Gmail SMTP. There are many ways to connect WordPress sites with Gmail such as WP Mail SMTP and Easy WP SMTP, but Gmail SMTP is usually recommended because it’s compatible with the latest Gmail API, use OAuth 2.0, and obviously is secured.
There is a disadvantage that Gmail allows the maximum number of sending emails is 500 per day and 20 per hour. It may be a lot in most need, but not enough for the newsletter and some other cases.
In additional, Gmail SMTP always uses the private avatar and email address of the Gmail account which you use for SMTP. It is ok if you are sending email personally, but not ok if you are a company. In this case, most of us are companies, so it’s really a problem with the company brand.
Use transactional email services
To solve all the above problems of sending emails, using transactional email services is the best solution. So, what is the transactional email service? Let’s find it out step-by-step.
What is the transactional email?
Transactional email is sending email automatically from the website to an individual based on their action. It could be:
- an action they took directly
- an action they were the target of or,
- perhaps even inaction on their part
For instance, whenever users buy any Meta Box’s extensions, they will receive an automatic email of notification that they bought something as well as information about their order. That is sent from our website and also is a kind of transactional email.
Another example, there is an area for comments under each post in our blog. If you subscribe to a post, you will receive a notification email whenever someone leaves a comment on that. That email also is a transactional email.
Other samples of transactional emails:
- email address confirmations
- password resets
- purchase receipts
- “thank you for [some action]”
- account balance updates
- weekly manifests
- support requests
- cart abandonment
- monthly invoices
- app error alerts (developer tested!)
- automated re-engagement (marketer approved!)
Advantages of using Transactional Email Services
Transactional email services naturally were born to solve the mentioned problems of sending emails via a website. Aside from points that the normal ways cannot satisfy, these services also provide more abilities and tools.
More emails and much faster
There is likely no limits on the number of emails by day or hour. Some services like SparkPost allows you to send up to 150,000 emails per month for free!
Ensure your emails arrive at the right place
Emails will be definitely sent to recipients’ inbox because every transactional email service are optimized to send emails and have whitelist IPs.
More flexible with APIs for transactional emails
Transactional email services provide you APIs which allow sending emails via SMTP, curl or any other libraries for your preferred programming languages.
Sufficient tracking and analytics
The adequate reports from transactional email services with the number of delivered emails, delivery / open / click through rate, etc. will help you have a lucid appraisal of your emails. You also may use this information for A/B testing and optimizing the CTR. Clear statics always are better and more transparent than nothing.
Best free services of transactional emails
Therefore, what services are the best? Which one is recommended? Choose yourself after reading all of below information about each transactional email service.
SendGrid is one of the most popular transactional email services available for FREE. It’s a cloud-based email service that provides reliable transactional email delivery, scalability, and real-time analytics along with flexible APIs that make custom integration easy. It features:
- Automatically sending receipts or purchase confirmations to customers.
- Administering distribution lists for sending customers monthly fliers and promotions.
- Collecting real-time metrics for things like blocked email and customer engagement.
- Forwarding customer inquiries.
- Processing incoming emails.
WordPress: SendGrid has its official plugin for WordPress.
Pricing: A trial account that allows sending up to 40,000 free emails for 30 days is available. You can send up to 100 emails free of charge per day forever after the trial expired.
SparkPost is the #1 email infrastructure provider of the world with over 3 trillion sending messages per year and over 25% of the worlds’ non-spam email. It also is the most performant email service with the highest inbox delivery rates, easy setup and launch, and the most powerful analytics and insights.
It needs to stress that SparkPost’s setup process is easier and simpler than others.
WordPress: SparkPost also has its official plugin for WordPress.
Pricing: SparkPost has a free plan with 15,000 emails for a trial month and limits 750 emails per day also. If you need more emails, you might pay at least $9 for 50,000 emails bundle.
MailGun is known as a reliable email service for developers. It not only delivers emails well but also provides validation features to check and make sure that you are sending emails to valid addresses.
The unique point of MailGun is the creating isolated sub-accounts ability for each parent account. You can use each sub-account for each domain with separate lists of email. There’s batch sending features to personalize emails, detailed analytics, and logs, and a powerful parsing engine to turn incoming emails into JSON and route it where you want.
WordPress: MailGun also has its official plugin for WordPress.
Pricing: 5,000 free emails per month for 3 months. After that, you need to pay $0.8 for 1000 emails.
Updated 16 Feb, 2020: MailGun no longer provides free plan for 10000 emails. The lowest plan now is Flex, which means pay as you go.
SendinBlue is the simplest, most reliable and cost-effective marketing platform. This all-in-one solution now powers marketing campaigns for over 50,000 companies around the world!
Their pricing remains one of the most cost-effective options as you scale up. Their user interface is very clean. In addition to transactional email, you can also use SendinBlue for normal email marketing campaigns, marketing automation, and transactional SMS messages.
WordPress: SendinBlue also has its official plugin for WordPress.
Pricing: Free of charge for 9,000 emails / month.
Amazon Simple Email Service (Amazon SES) is a cost-effective email service built on the reliable and scalable infrastructure that Amazon.com developed to serve its own customer base. With Amazon SES, you can send and receive emails with no required minimum commitments – you pay as you go, and you only pay for what you use.
WordPress: There’s no official plugin for WordPress. But there is a plugin WP Offload SES Lite that can help you integrate with Amazon SES.
Pricing: Free of charge for 62,000 messages / month if you are an Amazon EC2 user.
Being one of the leading transaction email service provider, Mailjet has a good price and great features to customize emails to clients in mass scale fairly easily. When sending thousands of emails the ability for customization is essential to avoid being labeled as a spam mail.
On the top of its great features is that the customization for each email is individual. The ability to do split testing is very helpful as well. The included templates were also very helpful to build professional looking emails.
WordPress: MailJet also has its official plugin for WordPress.
Pricing: Free of charge for 6,000 emails / month.
SocketLabs is one of the most reliable transactional email services. It’s a cloud-based email service that’s known for its outstanding customer service and support. Senders choose SocketLabs for its lightning-fast integration, industry-leading deliverability, and robust reporting with detailed insights. SocketLabs also provides senders with a suite of simple email marketing tools for list management, segmentation, drag and drop email designers, and unlimited free contact storage.
WordPress: SocketLabs has an official plugin for WordPress.
Pricing: A test account that provides senders with 40,000 free emails in the first month (no credit card required). Then 2,000 messages per month free forever after the trial expires.
At Postmark, you need to buy credits to start sending emails ($0.25 for 1000 credits, 1 credit = 1 sent email). Postmark guarantees the delivery time below 10s and 100% of delivery rate. You’ll get 45 days of searchable history, so you can see the full contents of the emails and pinpoint why they bounced.
WordPress: Postmark also has its official plugin for WordPress.
Pricing: Free of charge for first 25,000 credits (= 25,000 emails).
With the reliable and scalable cloud-based email infrastructure, Pepipost helps hundreds of businesses send millions of emails every day without any hassle. Pepipost follows the best delivery guidelines, protocols, and industry standards to fight against spam and make sure that emails get delivered and reach recipients’ inboxes in the blink of an eye. Pepipost offers an easy-to-use interface with precise real-time data and validation analytics.
WordPress: Pepipost also has its official plugin for WordPress.
Pricing: Free of charge for 30,000 emails / month.
Elastic Email is all the Email marketing and delivery tools you need to communicate with your customers. Use Elastic Email as your outbound SMTP server to improve your delivery rates and seamlessly scale from 100 emails to 100 million per month on our ultra-fast global infrastructure. Elastic Email provides inbound notification, A/X split testing and private IPs.
WordPress: Elastic Email does not have its official plugin for WordPress, but you can use the free plugin ElasticEmail Plugin.
Pricing: Unfortunately, Elastic Email removed its free plan which was able to sen up to 150,000 emails per month. Now with free plan, you can send only 100 emails per day. If you send more, you have to choose a premium plan, which is at least $9 per month for 2500 subscribers. If you have more subscribers, then the price will be different.
SendPulse is essentially a multi-channel marketing platform with email service, web push notifications, SMS and transactional emails on board. All of the features go hand in hand with their automation tool that gives you an opportunity to send pre-designed emails at the right time.
WordPress: SendPulse has its official email plugin for WordPress.
Pricing: A free plan comes with 2,500 subscribers and 15,000 free emails. Then, you have 2 options to pay: monthly/yearly charge with over $23 per month, or pay as you go with $32 for the next 10,000 emails. Forever free web push notifications plan is a very pleasant bonus and it gives you an opportunity to drive visitors back to your site.
Using transactional email services is a necessary method to avoid restrictions of sending via host or SMTP. If there is any doubt about this, these above providers will show you with their free services. Try it and leave us your comments.
P/S: Some of the providers frequently change their policy. So if there is any news, please inform us to keep the information is up-to-date.