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SMTP Mail

I finally had it with AWS SES and their weird policies. Took a week of back and forth to get DNS and sending limits in AWS console configured so it’s usable.

Sent a couple of test emails yesterday to ensure the email has nothing in it that triggers spam. Added all the usual unsubscribe links and other things. And smoothed out first mail batch to just current customers.

Finally after much preparation I sent sent out a 17 emails to our client base (which quite a bit larger than that) before AWS deleted all our config in SES and just declared we now need to start the whole process over. Their reason is they decided to “Pause” our SES. And make us complete DNS changes and everything over again.

To add insult to injury they deleted all the domains I added and not just the one I sent from.

Worst user experience I’ve had in my life with any company. It’s almost as if they relish making things much harder than it needs to be. And I’m saying this as a Developer and System Administrator. This is my professional opinion after using other services like S3 and their hosting.

Needless to say I’ve decided to use AWS alternatives for everything. I don’t want their ranking or Blessing. I just want to get the job done.

Best of all most of their competitors are 2-3x cheaper.

Sorry for the rant. I’m just all worked up. Really hate crummy customer service.

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That sounds good, congrats. Luckily I never had to go through this.
I really wonder who is cheaper than $0.0001 / email and can offer the same IP quality.

You know Joeyk, their service quality is what I would call Cheap and Nasty but their pricing does not match this overall. I agree SES is dirt cheap. But have you looked at AWS and S3 pricing? If you move into the ecosystem you’re essentially paying a lot more than you should overall.

The admin panel is a dog. Even though it promises metrics I don’t really find any of their metrics useful. It’s just a case of bad UX to keep the user/admin busy. And their policies are draconian like being part of a dictatorship.

I save a heap on not using S3 so I can afford to pay a bit more for email if I want. But to be honest we’re paying people to manage email ip reputation. This is essentially a labor function not metal.

If you want to send 1mil email messages maybe you’ll bear with their issues by hiring someone to do that full time. I’m not trying that kind of scale I just want to send email reliably. And as a small business user I don’t have time to fiddle with their UI for weeks and redo it on their whim.

To be honest their brand promise is that they will handle administration so you don’t have to. However at my scale SES creates more issues than it solves. This means SES essentially breaks it’s brand promise.

Honestly when they pause email I have to restart campaigns in Mautic and figure out who got skipped. They rate limit email to 17messages per second in my account and just seem to drop everything above that in a batch.

Is it really worth the hassle to have half your email go through and the rest get stuck somewhere in Cyberspace. Their interface does not make it clear if the mail was sent is queued or got dropped. I see 2x the amount of sends in Mautic than in their panel.

There’s a point where Cheap is more expensive because you’re expending undue effort to accommodate shoddy execution.

For the scale of email I’m sending I could monitor my email reputation well and just warm up an IP. I don’t need 20 000 capacity overnight. As a sysadmin I’ll end up with less frustration just managing it. Or I could pay more for someone else to do. Either way it’s less painful than than wondering if email gets delivered or not. And checking daily if they decided to have a brain fart and turn off the account because of a technicality without warning. This essentially makes their service unpredictable and wreaks havoc with campaigns in Mautic. And regardless of their “ip reputation” it has little value to me if they don’t allow me to make use of it.

As I said in the beginning I’m not running weird campaigns that are supposed to fall outside their terms. I send Marketing and Transaction emails to customers that I speak to in person often. None of these people are unaware of my existence. They’ve opted in. And I don’t even want to send 1000’s of emails. I’m happy with a batch of 100-200.

To some it may be worth it to bear with such company policies. To me the pain is not worth it even if they give the service away for free on these terms I don’t want it.

This is of course my opinion and I know there are others who will feel very differently. I’ve just discovered that I am not an AWS customer. I feel so strongly about this I closed my account point blank after using their services for several years.

It may sound as if I’ve got a short temper. And in fact the opposite is true. I’m extremely patient and it takes me a long time to reach a point like this. I actually give suppliers and people the benefit of the doubt many times over. But if things just can’t work I vote with my feet and never look back.

Hi, I understand where you coming from. Amazon SES is great until you ran into issues with their compliance department.

This speed issue is a Mautic issue, because a ‘too powerful server’ will send too fast for SMS SMTP. You can mitigate it:

If you are a small sender, you can manage IP reputation, it’s starts to tricky if you need to send 2-3x a week 300k emails. Right tool for the right purpose.

Thanks Joeyk,

Yes that’s exactly what I was talking about. Except because they are so stingy with their quota they suspended my account after 17 emails. Because they literally rate limited my account to 17email sends per second after I asked for a higher quota and was assigned a higher monthly quota.

I’ll bookmark your post if I get to the point where I have to consider rate limiting and larger volume. A new project I’m just starting may actually reach this type of volume within 12months.

Have you ever tried setting up your own mail server? It’s not that hard honestly. I am just throwing this here since you said you are a System Administrator, and I get it if you feel it’s an hassle.

I haven’t rebooted my mail server in 8 months now, as long as your checks are in place you shouldn’t have any issue, and I have it configured with 2 rotating IP’s (this is really not needed but my use case is a bit different).

I currently have it configured to send 5 - 7 emails every second (around 240 per minute), this is not because I can’t send more per seconds, but I don’t need to as they are just newsletters. So, for your use case, you might want to try running your thing, it can give you peace of mind really.

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Hi devsrealm, thanks for that.

I have a just finished dedicated a hosting server for my marketing domains. And have a functioning mail server on this that has been warming up for many months.

I’ve been Administrating Mail and Web servers for a while. The bit I never digged into was reputation management. I’ve checked out the reputation of my existing servers and they have no flaws. Even the shared hosting I run for clients has no reputation issues.

I spent some time looking into how to manage email reputation since it’s a moving target. So I think as Joeyk mentioned I should be fine until I hit the need to send 200k messages several times a week.

Do you mind sharing how you created your own mail server, it might be of help to others?

Yh sure, I’ll reach out to @rcheesley so, we can add it to kb guide. J

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Here’s the docs: https://kb.mautic.org/contribution

I’ve been running email services for ages, most recently using this approach (all open source, no cost except perhaps for your 3rd party hosting): mailcow: dockerized documentation - it’s a superb, multi-tenanted system with full services.

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Thank you for sharing. This will be helpful.

Where you able to come up with something in the knowledge base and do you mind sharing the link?