Mandrill, the beloved-by-many transactional email service, recently announced that it will switch to a paid-only model under the MailChimp umbrella. This came as a surprise to many developers who used them for sending emails for free from various servers and backends. This post provides a round-up of some of the more popular Mandrill alternatives.

Free Transactional Email Providers

This section covers a number of popular transactional email providers with a free tier.

Mailgun

  • http://www.mailgun.com/pricing
  • First 10,000 emails per month free, then starting at $5 per 5k mails
  • Used by: GitHub, Stripe, Heroku
  • Sending via SMTP, HTTP API
  • Features: Delivery statistics, Recipient Variables (first name, order value, …), Open, click & unsubscribe tracking, Dedicated IP, Inbound Email

Amazon SES (Simple Email Service)

  • http://aws.amazon.com/ses/pricing
  • 62k emails per month free, then $0.10 per 1,000. $0.12 per GB of attachments sent
  • Sending via SMTP, HTTP API
  • Features: Analytics for last 24 hours only (delivery attempts, bounces, complaints, rejects), Only Basic Interface, Inbound Email

SparkPost

Mailjet

  • https://www.mailjet.com/pricing_v3
  • Free for 6k emails / month, paid plans starting at $7.50 for 30k mails
  • Sending via SMTP, HTTP API
  • Features: Tracking, Analytics, Personalization, Templates, Dedicated IP, Inbound Email

Elastic Email

  • http://elasticemail.com/pricing
  • First 25k emails per month free, then $0.19 per thousand
  • Sending via SMTP, HTTP API
  • Features: Email Open and Click Tracking, Templates, Dedicated IP, Inbound Email API

SendinBlue

  • https://www.sendinblue.com/pricing
  • 9k emails per month free (limited to 300 per day)
  • Sending via SMTP, HTTP API
  • Features: Delivery statistics, Templates, Template Editor, SMS Marketing, Dedicated IP

smtp.google.com

Postage App

  • https://secure.postageapp.com/register
  • 1k emails per month free (max 100/day), $9 for 10k emails/month, $29 for 40k emails/month, $79 for 100k emails/month
  • Sending via SMTP, HTTP API
  • Features: Analytics, Templates, Personalization, Dedicated IP

Paid-Only Transactional Email Providers

This incomplete section covers a number of paid-only transactional email providers.

Mandrill

  • http://www.mandrill.com/pricing
  • by Mailchimp, paid starting March 16
  • Starting at $20 for 25k emails, then about $.8/k.
  • Features: Fine grained API, Open Source Libraries, Dedicated IP, Templates, Inbound Email

Postmark App

  • https://postmarkapp.com/pricing
  • $1.50 per 1k emails
  • First 25k emails free
  • Sending via SMTP, HTTP API
  • Features: Analytics, Open tracking, Dedicated IP, Templates, Inbound Email, Full content for every mail of past 45 days

SMTP.com

Sendgrid

  • https://sendgrid.com/pricing
  • Free plan for 12k emails / month. Paid plans starting at $10 for 40k emails, or $0.10 for 1k emails
  • 30 day trial with 40k emails
  • Sending via SMTP, HTTP API
  • Features: Analytics (open, click, bounce, etc.), Templates, Mobile apps, Fine grained API permissions, Dedicated IP, Inbound Email

Summary

Finally a quick overview in tabular form:

Service Free Tier 20k Emails 50k Emails 100k Emails SMTP API Dedicated IP Templates Inbound Email
Mailgun 10k/m $5 $20 $45
Amazon SES 62k/m $0 $0 ~$4
SparkPost 100k/m $0 $0 $0
MailJet 6k/m $7.49 $21.95 $74.95
Elastic Email 25k/m $0 $4.75 $14.25
Sendin Blue 300/day, 9k/m $7.37 $39 $66
Gmail SMTP 2k/day, 60k/m $0 $0 -
Postage App 1k/month $9 $79 $79
Mandrill 0 $20 $40 $80
Postmark 0 $30 $75 $150
SMTP.com 0 $70 $70 $160
SendGrid 0 $9.95 $19.95 $19.95

You can contact me on Twitter, and Discuss this post on Hacker News.

Update 2017-01-11: Updated SendGrid prices (no longer has a free tier)
Update 2016-03-22: Updated Mailchimp prices, Added dedicated IPs to Postmark