March 23, 2022

7 Best Mailgun Alternatives For Transactional Emails

Reading time about 12 min

You need to set up transactional emails on your website, but Mailgun’s services don’t fully meet your criteria. Fortunately, today’s market is full of alternative options for email marketers.

You can’t afford interruptions in transactional email workflows. Issues with deliverability and data safety can cost you customer relationships as well as revenue. Choosing the right transactional email service provider is critical for a thriving business.

Here’s what Mailgun has to offer and how it compares to other email delivery services.

What Mailgun Offers

Mailgun is a transactional email automation service built for developers. 

How does Mailgun work? As an API-first solution, the platform has a simple infrastructure allowing users to advance its functionalities based on their specific needs. 

Aside from email API, Mailgun offers a bunch of products for marketing automation, maximizing deliverability, email parsing, and more. 

What is the difference between Mailgun and Mailjet? Mailjet, email marketing software, isn’t included in any of the Mailgun plans. The product was acquired by Mailgun in 2021 and is now available on separate plans. Without Mailjet, Mailgun alone doesn’t offer email marketing functionality.

Pros

  • A robust set of APIs allows users to build a custom delivery strategy
  • A scalable delivery infrastructure
  • Integrations with a wide range of CMS solutions and frameworks
  • Solutions for improving email deliverability rates
  • Consistent sender reputation
  • Inbound email processing made easier
  • A ‘pay-as-you-grow’ option

Cons

  • A high learning curve for non-tech professionals
  • Logs are retained for a very limited amount of time on any plan
  • No functionality for exporting logs
  • Slow user interface
  • No way to address IP pool blacklisting
  • Issues with email delivery to Outlook and Hotmail accounts – email campaigns tend to be marked as spam
  • Poor customer support

Mailgun pricing

Mailgun pricing starts at $35/month. The lightest plan includes 50,000 emails, with $0.80 per extra 1000 emails and $1.20 per 100 validations. Dedicated IP pools and SAML authentication are available only in the top-tier plan, starting at $90/month. 

Mailgun isn’t cheap. While there’s a free 3-month trial that users can enjoy before switching to a paid basic plan, the functionalities available on lower pricing tiers are incompatible with midsize companies.

Mailgun Alternatives Compared

Below is an overview of the plan pricing as well as the key features of Mailgun and its best alternatives.

1. Sendinblue

One of the top Mailgun alternatives is Sendinblue. Here’s why.

A range of transactional sending options

SMTP relay, API, webhooks, eCommerce plugins, or simple marketing automation – with Sendinblue, you’re free to choose any sending option for your transactional emails. 

While developers will enjoy fast and scalable email delivery with Sendinblue’s free SMTP server and a powerful email API, marketers will be able to achieve the same results with custom-built integrations.

We integrate with WordPress and a variety of eCommerce platforms, including Shopify, WooCommerce, Shopware, and Magento.

Email API

Unlimited log retention, 120k emails per minute, and advanced tracking – it’s what Sendinblue’s email API is all about Built for developers, it combines the power of an advanced tech solution and the simplicity of a well-designed API.

If you need to send emails or SMS messages at large volumes, you’ll hardly find a better solution than our email API.

SMS sending

Transactional emails go hand in hand with SMS messages. Sendinblue combines these two.

There are tons of cases where you can’t rely solely on email. SMS messaging allows brands to manage payment data safely with 2-factor authentication, send instant alerts, or just have an additional marketing channel.

Similar to emails, transactional SMS can be set up through API, marketing automation, or one of the available plugins. SMS credits can be purchased separately alongside your selected plan.

Reputation

Users often complain that Mailgun is widely used by spammers. Sendinblue’s rigorous user validation process helps keep spammers out.

To protect all senders on our servers, we’ve introduced a set of criteria Sendinblue users should comply with to have their emails approved.

Anti-spam policies and restrictions protect users of shared IP addresses from reputation damage caused by deceptive practices of accounts in the shared infrastructure. Due to a strict vetting process, we manage to maintain a solid sender reputation for all of our Sendinblue sender IPs.

Complete marketing automation solution

Sendinblue is more than a Mailgun alternative. It’s an all-in-one sales and marketing platform offering a complete toolkit for growing your business in one interface. 

Besides transactional email, Sendinblue offers solutions for marketing automation, customer relationship management (CRM), SMS marketing, Facebook advertising, live chat, lead generation, and more.

Intuitive interface

As a Mailgun alternative, Sendinblue allows users to configure transactional emails through APIs or SMTP endpoints. 

However, we also offer simple no-code solutions for those who aren’t tech-savvy. Our drag-and-drop email builder allows you to create professional-looking transactional messages.

To set up automated messages, you can use our visual workflow builder. Both transactional email and SMS can be managed through a user-friendly interface. 

Sendinblue pricing

Surprisingly, Sendinblue not only offers more features for streamlining business processes but also has a lower entry threshold. Sendinblue’s free account includes 300 emails/day and gives access to transactional email and SMS, core API features, SMTP service, and templates. 

Paid plans start at $25/20,000 emails/month. They include marketing tools, no daily sending limit, and A/B testing functionality atop features available on a free plan.

Sendinblue vs Mailgun

  • Operations that can be run through SMTP relay and email API are also available through the user interface
  • No coding skills required
  • Transactional email and SMS combined
  • No limit to the number of contacts per plan
  • Dynamic personalization functionality
  • An all-in-one marketing automation solution
  • Unlimited log retention with Sendinblue’s email API
  • Strict policies maintaining positive IP reputation
  • A range of integrations and ecommerce plugins

If you’re looking for a more cost-effective Mailgun alternative, Sendinblue is the right choice.

2. MailerSend

The next best alternative to Mailgun is MailerSend.

It’s a dedicated transactional email service by MailerLite. You can create campaigns by using RESTful API, configuring SMTP settings, or creating integrations inside Zapier or Integromat.

MailerSend’s features include a drag-and-drop email builder, dynamic personalization, bulk email sending, and real-time email status updates.

Similar to Sendinblue, MailerSend uses SPF, DKIM, and DMARC security protocols to protect an email sender’s reputation. Deliverability is one of its key competitive advantages over Mailgun. 

MailerSend pricing

The tool offers a forever free plan with up to 12,000 emails/month. A paid plan starts at $25/month, with 14 days of data retention, unlimited API tokens, and a dedicated IP.

3. SendGrid

SendGrid is an all-in-one email marketing solution. Aside from the typical email marketing suite, the tool provides advanced setup methods, like web API and SMTP relay.

Transactional email delivery is only one part of SendGrid’s offerings. The company also sells packages for email marketing and automation. The drawback is – if you want to use SendGrid’s Marketing Campaigns and the Email API products, you’ll need to purchase the plans separately. 

So, if you want to have access to SMTP relay and email API as well as a drag-and-drop editor, you’ll be paying twice.

With that in mind, what’s better, SendGrid or Mailgun?

When you need a flexible solution for developers, Mailgun is a good option. But for a combination of API/SMTP and great email marketing features, you’d better go for SendGrid.

SendGrid pricing

Email API plans start at $14.95/month, and the lightest pricing package for Marketing Campaigns plans begins at $15/month. However, you can access both email API and email marketing features on a forever-free plan.

See also: Best SendGrid alternatives

4. Postmark

For a decade, Postmark had been focusing solely on transactional emails. Since 2020, the company has started to offer functionality for email marketing and bulk email. A new product is called Message Streams.

To use Postmark, you need to be a tech person willing to work with code. If you’re tech-savvy, you’ll enjoy an easy-to-use API and developer-friendly SMTP documentation.

In Postmark, you won’t find SMS support, list segmentation, and marketing automation features. The platform is known for lightning-fast delivery, a bounce rate report, 45-day data retention, and a proactive support team.

Postmark pricing

Postmark starts at $10 per 10,000 emails/month. There’s a free plan allowing you to run 100 test emails per month, but it’s not sufficient.

Related: 6 Best SMTP Servers for Email Marketers (2022)

5. SMTP2GO

SMTP2GO is an email delivery service, having rock-solid reliability as its main advantage.

The tool is good for sending transactional and marketing emails without a very low risk of reaching the spam folder. It provides insightful visual reports so that users are always aware of how exactly recipients interact with their emails.

SMTP2GO pricing

Its Starter plan begins at $15/month, with an opportunity to add extra 1,000 emails for $1. All plans include no more than 30 days of email reporting.

6. SparkPost

Another Mailgun alternative is SparkPost, an email sending and deliverability platform.

Similar to Postmark, SparkPost requires an understanding of coding basics to set up transactional or other mail streams. 

SparkPost is also one of the most affordable transactional email services for developers.

SparkPost pricing

SparkPost starts at $20/month. In the Starter plan, you can send 12,500 emails daily, use API and SMTP relay, access 2 custom webhooks, and receive data on various aspects of your email performance.

7. SocketLabs

SocketLabs is an SMTP service and marketing automation platform for pros. It offers an SMTP relay service as well as a transactional email API.

Even though SocketLabs can’t brag about the most intuitive UI, it’s a robust solution for high-volume senders. Contrary to Mailgun, the tool offers unlimited contact storage and industry-leading deliverability.

With SocketLabs, you can send all kinds of transactional emails, including receipts, confirmations, event-driven notifications, and behavior-triggered messages.

SocketLabs pricing

In the first month, SocketLabs users can use the tool for free and send up to 40,000 emails/month. From the second month, pricing starts at $39.95/month. 

SMTP relay and API are available in all plans.

Mind that low-tier plans don’t include reporting functionality.

Read more: 7 Best Mandrill Alternatives For Transactional Emails

What is the Best Mailgun Alternative?

What features are you looking for in your email service provider? If you need a lightning-fast solution for large-scale emails, dedicated tools, like SMTP2GO or SparkPost will work for you. But if your small business needs a platform combining transactional email and email marketing functionality in one interface, an all-in-one tool like Sendinblue is a go-to option.

Automate your transanctional emails today

Free plan includes access to all core email features, 300 emails/day, 70+ email templates, and customizable signup forms to grow your blog email list.

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