Why you might want a SendGrid alternative
SendGrid is an SMTP provider that enables you to send both transactional and marketing emails to your contacts.
The pricing structure is two-fold, with separate plans for transactional and marketing emails. There are also free plans available in both ranges:
- The free plan for transactional emails allows you to send 40,000 emails for 30 days, and then 100 / day forever.
- The free plan for marketing emails allows you to store up to 2,000 contacts and send them 6,000 email / month.
Above that, here is a summary of how much you can expect to pay SendGrid for given volumes of email sends per month:
- 40,000 transactional emails & 15,000 marketing emails: $29.95 ($14.95 + $15)
- 200,000 transactional emails & 35,000 marketing emails: $54.95 ($29.95 + $25)
- 200,000 transactional emails & 80,000 marketing emails: $79.95 ($29.95 + $50)
- 200,000 transactional emails & 170,000 marketing emails: $149.95 ($29.95 + $120)
Depending on the type of business you run, this can be a bit expensive. Or, some users need a slightly different set of features than what SendGrid offers. If you’re in either of these camps, you should look into what SendGrid alternatives are out there.
Here’s a list of some of the best options available:
Sendinblue is a reliable and affordable email service for both transactional and marketing emails. In addition, Sendinblue also enables communication through other channels such as SMS, chat, and has a CRM to provide an all-round solution for your business. Sendinblue allows you to create dedicated IP addresses too.
A free plan lets you send out 300 emails a day (9,000 / month), whereas the lite plan at $25.00 / month enables you to send up to 40,000 emails a month with no daily sending limit. At CodeinWP, we use Sendinblue for all our email purposes: including marketing email, drip campaigns, and transactional email.
- Focus on quick campaign creation through inbuilt newsletter builder and dynamic fields
- Complete communication solution through email, chat, and SMS
- Personalized segmentation and targeting
- Great email automation module and SMTP features
- Advanced features like email heat map and real time statistics
- Quick, reliable support
Why use Sendinblue as a SendGrid alternative?
Sendinblue offers significant cost benefits over SendGrid if you happen to send more volume of marketing emails than transactional emails. The pricing structure is also more straightforward – with one price tag to handle all your communications. If you are cost sensitive but would still want advanced features and good support, you should select Sendinblue. Sendinblue also provides robust analytics and a WordPress plugin.
Mailchimp is one of the most popular marketing email service providers of them all, making it a very viable SendGrid alternative. Mandrill is an add-on to Mailchimp that enables you to send transactional emails to your customers for specific tasks. To make Mailchimp a true SendGrid alternative, you need the Mandrill component since Mailchimp itself doesn’t offer transactional email.
Mailchimp has a fairly simple pricing structure. Its free plan allows you to send up to 2,000 marketing emails a month, which is competitive. The only problem is that you can’t integrate Mandrill with the free plan at Mailchimp. If you want to use Mandrill, you first have to get one of the paid plans of Mailchimp’s – starting at $9.99 / month for 500 contacts. Then, you can add a Mandrill account on top of it.
The pricing of Mandrill is a bit weird. You basically purchase “blocks” of email at the start of a month, and unused blocks expire at the end of the month. Mandrill’s cost per email thus comes out to be much higher than its competitors. Unlike most other alternatives, there’s no free plan for Mandrill. Since a block consists of 25,000 emails, you need to spend at least $20 a month on transactional emails. Adding this to the price of Mailchimp, your actual entry level cost per month is $29.99.
You can additionally add a dedicated IP address at $29.95 / month.
- Advanced campaign management features like A/B testing and behavioral targeting
- Predictive features such as purchase likelihood and predicted demographics
- Integration with 300+ applications
- Mailchimp goes beyond SMTP services and provides a complete marketing platform for your business
- Reliable support, extensive documentation and marketing tips
- Great UI and an overall user-friendly experience
Why use Mailchimp / Mandrill as a SendGrid alternative?
Mailchimp offers a CRM-like contact management system, which serves as a one-stop communication solution. If you are looking for a complete solution, and you are not very cost-sensitive, you can give Mailchimp a try over SendGrid. Though keep in mind that it will get pretty expensive pretty quickly.
Amazon SES (Simple Email Service) is an SMTP server that is offered as part of the AWS suite of enterprise solutions. It has a robust API that integrates seamlessly with other AWS products. In Amazon SES, you can create dedicated IP addresses and access the deliverability dashboard to track your emails.
Amazon SES is the cheapest option in terms of cost per email on this list. They have a pay as you go plan, with the free tier covering the first 62,000 emails a month if your application is hosted on Amazon EC2. Additional emails are charged at $0.10 / 1000 emails or just $0.0001 per email.
- Quick integration with any application on Amazon EC2
- Sender reputation management through a reputation dashboard
- A mailbox simulator to perform situational testing on your application
- Robust monitoring to assess and refine your email strategy
Why use Amazon SES as a SendGrid alternative?
Amazon SES is a great solution as long as you’re a developer and know how to connect to Amazon’s service via API or other third-party tools. Amazon SES isn’t an end-user-centered tool. It’s not something you go to, log in and send your email. It requires some work integrating your current solutions with Amazon SES and triggering email sends on your own. If that all sounds okay, Amazon SES will be the cheapest way for you to send your email – both transactional and marketing emails.
Mailjet is an email service provider that lets you send both transactional and marketing emails. Just like Sendinblue, Mailjet allows you to communicate with your customers through SMS. Mailjet provides an account for your entire team to manage your communication strategy. Mailjet’s dashboard allows you to track advanced metrics such as delivery delay, unsubscribes and bounces. You can also create automated workflows to interact with your customers or manage drip campaigns.
With its free tier, you can send up to 200 emails / day (6,000 / month). Paid plans start at $9.65 / month (billed annually), which lets you send 30,000 emails monthly.
- Send marketing communication through the email builder and transactional emails through its API
- Provides account for your team to coordinate communication planning
- Automation of marketing communication through scenario building
Use use Mailjet as a SendGrid alternative?
Mailjet is cheaper as a SendGrid alternative, especially if your volume of email is small. Also, scaling up is priced reasonably, with no huge price spikes across the board. No features are missing either.
Mailgun is an API-centric email service that emphasizes its powerful integrations with any systems. It can send both transactional and marketing emails. Mailgun provides basic features like tracking deliveries, failures, clicks and unsubscribes. Advanced features of Mailgun include email address validations, send-time optimization, and rapid-fire burst sending.
The flex plan provides 5,000 free emails / month for a trial period of three months. Beyond that, you pay $0.80 for each 1000 emails. This plan scales up nicely and lets you pay only for the volume that you’re using up. If you’re above the 40,000-email-a-month mark, you’ll save money by switching to a monthly subscription model that costs from $35 / month.
- Easily integrate the API with your existing product
- Burst sending of over a million emails a minute
- Predict potential issues with deliverability through the Inbox Placement tool
Why use Mailgun as a SendGrid alternative?
Unlike SendGrid, Mailgun focuses primarily on API integrations for sending email from a third-party tool / application. This makes it more similar to Amazon SES than to SendGrid. There’s no email builder tool – no graphical interface to craft your newsletters or anything. Mailgun can be a good SendGrid alternative if you’re mostly concerned with sending transactional emails.
SendGrid alternatives: which one should you choose?
While SendGrid provides a good email platform, there are a lot of SendGrid alternatives depending on your requirements. Here are some of my recommendations for specific scenarios:
Do you have any questions on which of these SendGrid alternatives is right for you? Let us know in the comments and we’ll try to help!