08 Oct 2017

Alternative for WordPress Transactional Emails

If you are reading this article you probably experiencing an issue with delivery of emails from your WordPress and/or WooCommerce website. Maybe you’ve found that your hosting company has limited your sending or worse yet, your IP was black listed due to spam complaints by one of the spam monitoring services.

If you’re just sending your own personal emails through Gmail or your email app (Outlook or Apple Mail), your emails likely get routed through your email service’s Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) service to your email recipient’s email service’s SMTP service. It typically just works, and so most of us just ignore it.

But, what happens if your ecommerce website suddenly gets a spike in traffic or your order notification or new signup emails are not sending?  Suddenly you need to think a lot more about how your emails get sent. You’ll very likely need a transactional email service, a dedicated email sending service that’ll make sure your emails get delivered no matter how many you need to send.

What are WordPress transactional emails?

Transactional emails in WordPress are any server-related or informational emails your WordPress site or plugins might be sending out.

  • When a customer places a new order via WooCommerce.
  • If you have WordPress send you emails about new users.
  • If a plugin alerts you to a form submission – such as Gravity Forms or Contact Form 7
  • If you receive notifications that a comment has been made on your site.

So you can see that transactional emails are vital to the ongoing management of many WordPress sites.

At Bluehive Interactive we work with websites of all sizes. From ecommerce to your traditional small business website and even small bloggers. Regardless of the size of your website or whether you are engaging in commerce or not, if your site depends on a high availability of email deliverability, you should be looking into offloading your transactional emails to a dedicated provider.

“Don’t reinvent the wheel. The internet is full of wheels… and most of them have APIs.”

Andy Chung, Entrepreneur

In today’s shared Internet world, there is a service for everything. You can run your application on WordPress, accept payments with Stripe, call phones and send SMS messages via Twilio, and add just about any other feature to your app or website with any number of other services. These “feature-as-a-service providers”, as entrepreneur Andy Chung calls them, give you the pieces you can use to build your project in less time. Instead of working out payment deals with banks and figuring out how to code a working internet phone system, you can spend your time making the app you want to build and let other teams focus on those problems.

Email’s the same. There are a number of outside services—including Amazon SES, Mandrill, SendGrid and more—that let you send email messages via an API. Instead of building your own system to send email messages, you can add a few lines of code and then never worry about email again.

Why use an outside transactional email service when your server could just as well send those emails for you?

There are many reasons but one of the biggest reasons is that you don’t want to put your hosting server and IP address in jeopardy in case a truck load of emails get sent out at once because something occurred on your WordPress site. If you had a large community site and it was set to email all users when comments or new posts were made. This might cause your hosting server/IP address/domain name to be labeled as a SPAM originator. And that is something you do not want to deal with. The process of removing your domain from many of these SPAM databases is very time consuming.

So What are the Options for Transactional Emails?

There are several services out there and at varying price points.

These include:


Amazon SES

$0.10 per 1,000 emails sent. Amazon may have started out as the world’s largest bookstore, but today they’re also one of the world’s largest web services company. Best known for S3—file storage in the cloud—and their servers-in-the-cloud—Amazon also offers CDN services, online databases, DNS server and more. Among the offerings is Amazon SES, or “simple email service”, a transactional email service that’s also one of the cheapest and most barebones offerings available. At Bluehive Interactive, Amazon SES is hands down our recommended platform. It’s cost and level of deliverability can’t be beat in our opinion. At a cost to you of about $0.00001 per email, and only $0.12 per GB of attachments sent, it’s a no brainer for every website to be using it in our opinion.


$9.95 per month for 40,000 email sends. SendGrid seems to have a lot of large companies using their service (Uber, Airbnb, Spotify). So the services they offer are quite robust along with the flexibility of their API. SendGrid also has a number of video and written tutorials to help you get started. View Current Pricing



$20 per month for 1 sending block (25,000 emails per block). Mandrill is powered by the folks at MailChimp. It once was a standalone transactional email service, but it has been brought into the MailChimp service offering as an add-on. It is for this reason we do not recommend it. In addition to the fee Mandrill charges to send transactional emails, you are also required to have a paid account with MailChimp at a cost of $20 per month. In our opinion the ease of setup is far out weighed by the minimum $40 monthly cost when compared to other services. View Current Pricing

What is Involved with Setting it Up?

You simply need to establish an account with the respected transactional email service of choice, install a plugin for WordPress and make some DNS changes. We are happy to help get you rolling with integrating any of these services with your WordPress website, but we think you’ll agree, Amazon SES is the best value and often is the easiest to setup.

If you would like to learn more, don’t be afraid to reach out to us via our Contact page.

Share this

© 2011-2020 Bluehive Interactive. All rights reserved.

Click Me