Transactional email alternatives (for Mandrill App)

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Like many of you, I’m sure, I found an email from Mandrill App in my inbox today that explains them merging their service with the parent company MailChimp. I’d be fine with the merge in itself, I love MailChimp, but what I don’t like about this move is this section:

Our billing and pricing model is also changing. MailChimp will generate one consolidated bill that covers your MailChimp and Mandrill charges. Mandrill credits will be sold in blocks of 25,000 emails. Blocks will start at $20 per month. This goes into effect once your accounts are merged.

We’re using Mandrill App for transactional emails on a bunch of WordPress sites to make sure delivery is pretty much guaranteed and we have insights in what actually goes out. Now, I don’t mind paying for a service at all, but some of our accounts are for relatively low traffic websites which would make the switch to Mandrill’s new pricing strategy a costly one. Luckily though, there are alternatives.

I’ve done nothing more than copy and paste their marketing copy, but these are Mandrill app alternatives I found:


We don’t just send your email, we deliver it. Our software automatically manages the delivery process to give your emails the best chance of landing in the inbox. And if something happens that keep your messages from being delivered, we’ll tell you.

Through our API or control panel, you’ll always know exactly what has happened to every one of your emails.

Powerful APIs that enable you to send, receive and track email effortlessly. 10,000 emails free every month. No credit card required. Check out MailGun.

Amazon SES

Amazon Simple Email Service (Amazon SES) is a cost-effective email service built on the reliable and scalable infrastructure that developed to serve its own customer base. With Amazon SES, you can send transactional email, marketing messages, or any other type of high-quality content to your customers.

AWS Free Tier offers 62,000 messages per month to any recipient when you call Amazon SES from an Amazon EC2 instance. Check out Amazon SES.

Postmark App

Unmatched email delivery & troubleshooting. Since we send transactional only, ISPs love us. Our infrastructure combined with proper content and delivery practices means higher response rates from your customers.

View 45 days of searchable sending history including full content, bounces, and spam complaints.

First 25,000 emails are free. Check out Postmark App.


Transactional email delivery that is scalable, reliable, and easy to implement. Whether you’re developing apps for the web or mobile environments, you need an effective way to communicate with your customers.

Email remains the most powerful form of customer communication, but building and maintaining your own email infrastructure can be resource-intensive and costly. SendGrid eliminates the cost and complexity of maintaining your own infrastructure, allowing you to focus on developing the next great app!

Send up to 12,000 emails a month on their Free SendGrid Account. Check out SendGrid.


Emails sent after a transaction – order confirmation, password reset, delivery notification – are anxiously awaited by customers and have the highest open and click rates. Mailjet helps you create a consistent experience, enabling you to design and update transactional emails in drag and drop while ensuring a tight IT integration.

Mailjet allows you to send up to 6 000 emails a month, 200 emails / day. Check out Mailjet.


SendinBlue empowers businesses to build and grow relationships through marketing campaigns, transactional messaging and marketing automation. Our platform combines a robust suite of email and SMS messaging services within a single, user-friendly solution. Reliable Delivery. Ensure your welcome messages, order confirmations, shipping notifications, app alerts, and other important emails reach the inbox.
Get up-to-the-minute analytics on your message deliverability and engagement metrics. Create custom, dynamic messages with our powerful API.

SendinBlue allows you to With the free account you can send up to 9 000 emails/month, 300 emails/day. The free account has no time limits. Check out SendinBlue.


I’m sure there are more out there, but these are the first ones I came across. Some of these services do a lot more than send out transactional emails and you should definitely do a comparison for your particular scenario, but this list should give you a good starting point. Hope this helps in your search.

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13 responses to “Transactional email alternatives (for Mandrill App)”

  1. upshotmediagroup Avatar

    Great article with a lot of alternative options. I wrote an article surrounding this topic yesterday, but I took a deeper look into the odd behavior of the company in their announcements. These significant Mandrill Policy Changes as of yesterday (Feb. 24, 2016) are a very bold move by the company. They now require a paid Mailchimp account in order to use Mandrill? There is chaos stirring on the internet regarding this very bold decision by Mandrill yesterday. Additionally, they gave everyone a very short notice to get moved to another provider before your account will be terminated for non-compliance.

    1. Mike Clark Avatar

      Maybe there’s a sale in the offing. Preparation for sale or undergoing due diligence can often prompt a spot of housekeeping.

  2. Nik D Avatar
    Nik D

    One option that is very developer friendly, and is from a company that has been in the business of email for many years, is SparkPost.

    1. upshotmediagroup Avatar

      Hello Nik,

      Yes, I agree that Sparkpost has one of the more well documented API’s and allows connection to numerous endpoints. I have played with Sparkpost in a test environment, but have not used it in production as I have many others. However, I have heard some good things.

  3. […] course, Amazon SES isn’t the only option. Remkus de Vries wrote a post on transactional email alternatives to Mandrill, which includes MailGun (10,000 emails free every month), SendGrid (up to 12,000 emails free per […]

  4. Michael Ginsburg Avatar

    I’m using ElasticEmail. 25,000 free sends per month & OUTSTANDING customer support based on my own personal experience.

    1. Karl Avatar

      I’m using Elastic Email too. But to my great surprise from today on they don’t allow any attachments in the free plan any more. You have to pay for every attachment. 🙁

      So Elastic Email is no more an option. I’m switching to SocketLabs now.

  5. Tracy Sestili (@tracysestili) Avatar

    In an update on Mandrill’s blog announcement on Feb 29th, SparkPost has offered to honor Mandrill pricing for all customers. In addition, they’re also offering 100K emails/mo for free. They have outstanding APIs and documentation. And their CEO said gave a promise to developers that he’s all in and will stand behind the 100K free emails/mo for the lifetime of your SparkPost account.

    Would you consider updating this post to include them?

    1. Karl Avatar

      I’ve tested SparkPost a few months ago and I refused to use it because of their strange policy, e.g. they don’t deliver emails to addresses like “postmaster@…”.

      1. Marsha Leyva Avatar

        I was almost decided to use SparkPost. However, then I saw that they don’t have a lot of interesting functions that Sarv TES and others does (for example, tracking opens and clics, you must do it yourself, and they don’t have templates either).

        Then I was really interested in Sarv TES, for its large free plan.
        I’ve been doing lots of tests, and I can tell this about Sarv TES:
        There is a lot of documentation, but in my opinion, it isn’t well organized. I still keep going between developers.

  6. Raj Gohil Avatar

    Pepipost – Free SMTP alternative to Mandrill

    – Free plan and send up to 25,000 emails each month. Free forever.
    – No credit card required.
    – DKIM is not required (Domain Verification: (a.) Meta Tag Validation, (b.) File Creation – System can verify the domain based on the presence of a file in the root directory of the domain.).
    – Pay only for emails that are not opened by your customers.

    * 3 Months Free Unlimited Transactional Emails + 25k emails per month free forever.
    * Use the below code while signup with Pepipost.


    Great! This is probably the best FREE alternative for Mandrill.

  7. Angel Avatar

    Nice post.
    We also did our review (using post like yours) and we have written some more info on the alternatives in this post:

    We have compared:

    Amazon SES

    And we have chosen Mailgun and Sendgrid as alternative to mandrill. With AMazon SES also for high volumes.
    Sparkpost has some problems for transactional emails but you can read all the info on the post.

    Maybe it can help others.

  8. […] to find alternatives. As it turned out, plenty of other people were doing the same research and posting their findings, which greatly simplified the process. What I found is that since my usage was pretty straight […]

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