Top-Rated Transactional Email Services for WordPress

On February 09, 2024
11min read
Denys Kontorskyy Technical Content Writer @Mailtrap
Ketevan Bostoganashvili Technical Content Writer @Mailtrap
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Choosing the right transactional email service for your WordPress site affects both your email delivery success and the quality of your communication with customers. However, with the abundance of options available, making this choice can feel difficult… and it is.

In this guide, we aim to simplify this process by highlighting WordPress’s top transactional email services, their key benefits, and the ease of integration with your site.

Best transactional email service providers for WordPress

  • Mailtrap for devs looking for a reliable infrastructure to send transactional, bulk, or marketing emails and achieve high deliverability rates.
  • Brevo (formerly Sendinblue) for individuals and small to medium businesses looking for versatile integration options, not just API or SMTP.
  • Twilio SendGrid for businesses of all sizes looking for a scalable solution.
  • Amazon SES for businesses with solid dev teams looking for an affordable solution and already using AWS infrastructure.
  • Mailgun for businesses looking for a two-in-one transactional and digital marketing services solution.

Criteria for choosing a transactional email provider for WordPress

The best-performing transactional email service providers must satisfy specific criteria: 

  • High email deliverability rates. For example, transactional emails, such as password reset emails, order confirmation emails, etc, should always land in inboxes. Advanced algorithms ensure emails bypass the spam folder, directly reaching the recipient’s inbox.
  • Stable infrastructure with close to zero downtime. This includes backup servers, network monitoring, and high deliverability speed. In general, there should be a reliable infrastructure that effectively communicates with ISPs.
  • Email analytics and reports. This will help you track the performance of your emails with popular metrics such as open and click rates, bounce rates, spam complaints, and delivery rates. Additionally, real-time tracking enables immediate insights into email performance, enhancing decision-making processes.
  • Smooth integration with your app or project. Integration options should include SMTP, API, and SDKs for popular programming languages. All of that should be paired with extensive and helpful documentation. Optional but useful integration options include plugins, browser extensions, etc.
  • Scalability. The chosen platform should offer easy scaling options, such as purchasing additional emails or upgrading the plan. And, of course, deliverability should remain the same even with increased sending volumes.
  • Transactional email templates. This isn’t a must-have feature, but it’s useful, especially for maintaining consistency in all your emails. For example, customizable templates for welcome emails will only help foster a positive first impression with new subscribers.

Overview of best transactional email service providers for WordPress

Mailtrap

Mailtrap is an email delivery platform that combines Email Sending and Email Testing into one seamless workflow. Designed with developers in mind, it ensures your emails reach their destination and look and perform as intended. This unified approach simplifies email management, making it easier for you to develop, test, and send emails effectively.

It has Email API and SMTP Service and ready-made SDKs for Node.js, Ruby, PHP, Python, and Elixir

Creating the account is relatively straightforward. Just go to the signup page, choose the registration method, and fill out the empty fields. 

Once the account is ready, go to Sending Domains to add and verify your domain. This step is necessary to confirm the ownership of the domain and set up authentication protocols. The latter helps with deliverability (and is now a requirement from Google and Yahoo!). 

Read this article or watch the in-app video for detailed instructions on adding and verifying the domain. 

Integrating Mailtrap with WordPress can be achieved in several ways, catering to different levels of technical expertise. Options include:

  • Plugin: WP Mail SMTP is one of the most popular and recommended plugins for sending emails in WordPress. This plugin allows you to configure Mailtrap easily with WordPress using the SMTP settings. It provides a step-by-step setup wizard, making the process straightforward. Check out this guide for a detailed overview of how to use the plugin with Mailtrap.
  • API Integration: Mailtrap’s API integration allows direct email sending from WordPress for more advanced customization. This method requires coding knowledge to implement API calls within your WordPress site, offering greater control over email functionalities.
  • Custom Functionality: Developers can also create custom functions using WordPress’s native wp_mail() function, tailored to integrate with Mailtrap’s SMTP or API. This function utilizes the Official Mailtrap PHP client.

Check out this playlist to learn more about integrating Mailtrap and sending emails with API or SMTP. 

Mailtrap also has migration guides if you’re migrating from another solution. You can check out how to migrate from SendGrid, Mailgun, Mailchimp Transactional Email, and Amazon SES. You can use the ActionMailer Balancer gem to migrate smoothly and gradually if your app is built in Ruby. 

One of the most important and useful features is the fact that Mailtrap offers separate streams for transactional and bulk emails. This helps with maintaining high deliverability rates.

As a comprehensive email platform, Mailtrap also offers a transactional email template. These can be created and stored within the platform and referenced later through API calls. Templates operate on the handlebars engine and support variables. 

Another handy feature is actionable analytics with drill-down reports and helicopter-view dashboards. The drill-down reports are available for email categories and mailbox providers. You can filter the stats based on categories, providers, domains, and streams. Additionally, you can track unique open rates, delivery rates, click rates, bounce rates, and spam complaints. 

Furthermore, recognizing the critical need for pre-send email testing, Mailtrap offers an Email Testing feature. This allows for comprehensive pre-send checks, including fake SMTP server functionality, HTML/CSS validation, spam score assessments, API integration for QA automation, email previews, and more.

Features 

  • Separate streams for transactional and bulk emails
  • SMTP, API, and SDKs
  • In-depth stats with actionable analytics
  • Transactional email templates 
  • Up to 60 days of email logs
  • Deliverability alerts to catch any unexpected sending issues if they occur
  • Suppression management
  • Webhooks
  • Dedicated IP addresses with automatic warmup for high-volume senders
  • Email Campaigns (available soon)

Pros

  • Supportive and helpful customer service regardless of the pricing plan
  • 99.9% server uptime
  • Clear and intuitive in-app interface
  • High deliverability rates
  • Easy-to-read dashboards
  • Essential features available for all pricing plans
  • Can be scaled by changing the plan if your email volumes increase over time 

Cons

  • Lacks plugins and ready-made integration options for non-dev teams

Pricing 

Free tier: 1,000 emails/month 

Paid plans: from $10 for 10,000 emails/month 

Additional 1,000 emails: $1 and less. Visit the pricing page for more details on available plans and features. 

Software catalog ratings 

G2: 4.8 ⭐

Capterra: 5.0 ⭐ 

Brevo formerly Sendinblue

Brevo (formerly Sendinblue) is a CRM suite that has a Marketing Platform, Conversations, Sales Platform, and Transactional Email products.

For WordPress users, Brevo extends its functionality through a dedicated plugin that brings its powerful email capabilities directly into the WordPress dashboard. This integration allows  creating subscription forms, thus assisting in growing your email list, managing contacts, and executing email campaigns without leaving WordPress.

The service supports SMTP and API integrations, providing flexibility in sending emails and allowing for advanced use cases like automated workflows and personalized customer journeys.

It’s important to highlight that while Brevo offers the flexibility to send emails without domain verification, embracing best practices by securing your domain with DKIM, SPF, and DMARC authentication is essential. This step is about adhering to best practices and aligning with upcoming requirements from Gmail and Yahoo

In summary, Brevo Transactional Email is an affordable solution, especially if you run a small business that already uses Brevo as your marketing tool and want to scale your marketing efforts.

Features 

  • Transactional email templates with code and email builder
  • Email tracking and analytics
  • SMTP relay, API integration, and plugins 
  • Customized log retention 

Pros 

  • Volume-based pricing structure with all the features available in all tiers
  • Easy to set up and use 
  • Generous free plan

Cons

  • Limited design options for email templates 
  • Some essential features are hidden in the menus 

Pricing

Free tier: 300 emails/day 

Free trial: No

Paid plans: from $15 for 20,000 emails/month for Transactional Email separately, but you can also send transactional emails with email credits in marketing plans.

Additional 1,000 emails: N/A

Software catalog ratings

G2: 4.6  ⭐

Capterra: 4.5 ⭐ 

Twilio SendGrid

SendGrid is one of the most popular transactional email service providers, but it also provides an Email Marketing tool with marketing automation, segmentation, and other useful features. 

While Email Marketing suits diverse teams, Email API is geared toward developers (similar to most transactional service providers). The documentation can be hard to understand even with technical expertise. 

The good thing about SendGrid Email API is its analytics feature. You’ll have difficulty finding an aspect of your emails you can’t track and analyze with this platform. This has a flip side, too – there’s a steep learning curve while setting up and understanding all the dashboards and stats. It also lacks a unified dashboard showing an overall overview of the email performance. This makes the analytics a bit scattered. 

Integrating SendGrid with WordPress improves your site’s email handling by combining SendGrid’s powerful email tools with WordPress’s easy-to-use setup. You can do this in two ways: using SendGrid’s API for a direct connection or installing a third-party WordPress plugin.

  • API: To use SendGrid with WordPress, you can generate an API key in your SendGrid account and use it on your site with custom code. This approach gives you full access to SendGrid’s advanced features​​.
  • Plugin: Use the Post SMTP plugin for a more straightforward setup. This plugin offers a simple way to connect WordPress to SendGrid, letting you choose between SMTP relay and SendGrid’s API.

Read more about SendGrid and its alternatives here

Features 

  • SMTP, API, and third-party integration options
  • Diverse dashboards and stats for in-depth analytics 
  • Email validation API 
  • Dynamic email templates with drag-and-drop and HTML editors

Pros 

  • Easy to connect to other platforms and services 
  • Comprehensive integration guides, tutorials, and API documentation 
  • Continuous sender reputation monitoring

Cons

  • Some essential features are reserved for premium plans 
  • Slow support 
  • Occasional downtimes 

Pricing

Free tier: 100 emails/day 

Free trial: Yes 

Paid plans: From $19.95 for 50,000 emails/month 

Additional 1,000 emails: $1.33 and less 

Software catalog ratings

G2: 4.0  ⭐

Capterra: 4.2 ⭐ 

Amazon SES

Amazon SES or Simple Email Services is one of the most cost-effective options for sending transactional emails. It’s particularly handy for those already using AWS infrastructure and EC2.

If it’s your first time signing up with AWS, you’ll have to fill out personal details, including your address, credit card, and phone number. Then you’ll need to add and verify your domain (similar to other services). 

Amazon SES used to have a very generous free tier with up to 62,000 free emails/month. However, they changed their pricing structure on August 1, 2023. Users can access 3,000 so-called message charges for the first 12 months with the revised structure. These charges include inbound and outbound emails and Virtual Deliverability Manager. 

After the free trial, you’ll pay $0.10 per 1,000 emails (additional fees apply).

Note: Even with the free trial, you pay data transfer fees and any add-ons you purchase. Furthermore, integrating Amazon SES with your WordPress website can be complex for beginners without a plugin. 

There are three main ways to integrate Amazon SES: 

  • Plugin: The widely-used WP Mail SMTP plugin simplifies setting up Amazon SES in WordPress, guiding you through SMTP or API configuration with its user-friendly wizard. Additionally, it includes valuable tools like email logs and resend options for troubleshooting.
  • Amazon SES API: This approach involves generating API keys through your Amazon SES console and embedding them into your WordPress via custom code or plugins, enabling advanced email features and analytics​​​
  • Custom Function using AWS SDK: A method for more technically advanced users is to write a custom function in your WordPress theme’s functions.php file. This function would utilize the AWS SDK for PHP to send emails through Amazon SES. 

For more details on Amazon SES and its alternatives, read this blog post. 

Features 

  • SMTP server, robust API, and SDKs
  • Reputation monitoring
  • Virtual Deliverability Manager with dashboards and optional automatic optimization 
  • The ability to send bulk and transactional emails 
  • The ability to choose the region for the servers

Pros 

  • More affordable compared to its competitors 
  • Robust security features and spam protection 
  • Easy to scale 
  • Supports inbound messages 

Cons

  • Slow customer service 
  • Analytics are hard to set up 

Pricing

Free tier: 3,000 message charges/month (for the first 12 months)

Free trial: No

Paid plans: Pay-as-you-go pricing model with $0.10 per 1,000 emails (additional fees apply).

Software catalog ratings

G2: 4.3  ⭐

Capterra: 4.7 ⭐

Mailgun

Mailgun is a popular platform for sending, tracking, and optimizing transactional emails and marketing campaigns. 

Mailgun recently introduced a product suite consisting of Mailgun Send (good ol’ sending solution), Mailgun Optimize (email deliverability tool), and Mailgun Validate.

Mailgun offers a custom plugin for WordPress integration that simplifies email sending via its HTTP API or SMTP. This plugin suits developers and non-developers, offering features like email tracking and resending failed emails. It’s particularly useful on servers where SMTP isn’t supported or is restricted. With a Mailgun account, you can send up to 200 emails daily for free, making it ideal for testing.

The plugin’s current version offers features like email tracking, tagging, and managing list subscriptions.

Check out this blog post for more comparisons of Mailgun and its competitors. 

Features 

  • Send time optimization 
  • Email validation (add-on for Foundation plan and included in Scale)
  • API and SMTP integration, as well as third-party integrations with CRM, CMS, E-commerce, and other platforms
  • Email templates
  • A/B testing
  • Email tracking and analytics 

Pros 

  • The ability to validate emails without switching to another platform 
  • A wide selection of third-party integrations 
  • High deliverability rates 
  • Allows for (and recommends) using subdomains for different types of emails 

Cons

  • Slow support 
  • You can’t search logs by email content (searching by tags is supported, though)
  • The platform has several bugs (probably due to the addition of new features) 

Pricing

Free tier: No 

Free trial: 30 days (for the Foundation plan), 5,000 free emails 

Paid plans: From $35 for 50,000 emails/month (or pay-as-you-go option with first 1,000 emails free and $1 per 1,000 emails after that) 

Additional 1,000 emails: $1 and less.

Software catalog ratings

G2: 4.3 ⭐

Capterra: 4.3 ⭐

Postmark

Postmark stands out as an all-around platform that is well-tailored for WordPress users. It offers distinct solutions for managing bulk and transactional emails through its unique “Servers” concept, which functions more like projects rather than physical servers. This might initially seem confusing, but Postmark provides a detailed getting-started guide, including an explanatory video to ease users into their system.

For WordPress site owners, Postmark’s integration is streamlined through its custom plugin.
The plugin simplifies the email-sending process directly from WordPress, ensuring reliable delivery of transactional emails like order confirmations, password resets, and custom notifications without the need for complex setup procedures.

Each “Server” within Postmark is divided into three streams: Broadcast for bulk emails, Inbound for incoming messages, and Transactional for critical, time-sensitive communications. This organization allows for clear segregation of email types, ensuring that transactional emails remain prioritized and unaffected by bulk email volumes.

Integration with WordPress is made through SMTP and API, supported by official and community libraries across various programming languages and frameworks, making Postmark a flexible choice for developers and site owners. Additionally, Postmark’s presence on Zapier expands its integration possibilities, connecting WordPress sites with hundreds of other applications for automated workflows.

Postmark’s pricing model is straightforward, charging users based on the volume of emails sent, which can be an economical choice for sites with varying email volumes. Although dedicated IPs are available for high-volume senders at an additional cost, this option reinforces Postmark’s commitment to providing scalable and reliable email solutions for WordPress users focused on maintaining high deliverability and sender reputation.

Features

  • Sandbox server for testing their bounce API 
  • Separate streams for transactional and broadcast emails  
  • Comprehensive and well-structured documentation 
  • Different types of webhooks 
  • Suppression management 
  • Analytics 

Pros 

  • High deliverability rates 
  • Wide selection of libraries and integration options
  • Email templates 
  • Well-documented API 

Cons

  • Dedicated IP isn’t included in the pricing 

Pricing

Free tier: 100 emails/month 

Free trial: No

Paid plans: $15 for 10,000 emails/month 

Additional 1,000 emails: $1.8 and less 

Software catalog ratings

G2: 4.6 ⭐

Capterra: 4.8 ⭐

Honorable mentions

While the main focus of our guide has been on the top transactional email service providers for WordPress, other noteworthy services deserve mention.

Mailchimp Transactional (Formerly Mandrill): Mailchimp is widely recognized for its robust email marketing solutions and offers a powerful transactional email service. Although originally operated as the Mandrill plugin for WordPress, it has since evolved into a comprehensive API/SMTP service under the Mailchimp umbrella. The service is a good option for WordPress users, particularly ideal for those already using Mailchimp for email marketing and looking to consolidate their email services under one platform.

HubSpot‘s integration with WordPress through its intuitive plugin enhances your site with sophisticated email automation and marketing capabilities from your dashboard. Ideal for those with modest monthly email needs, this plugin enables you to craft transactional emails triggered by user interactions alongside marketing communications with its user-friendly email builder. The straightforward installation of the HubSpot plugin connects your site to a suite of powerful tools, with the free tier accommodating up to 2,000 monthly emails and paid options starting from 5,000 emails per month.

SendLayer is ideal for WordPress users seeking an affordable and reliable transactional email service. It offers easy scalability from its dashboard and detailed email insights and safeguards your domain’s reputation with customizable suppression lists and subdomain sending. With easy integration via the WP Mail SMTP plugin, SendLayer caters to growing businesses with its straightforward setup and comprehensive email performance tracking.

Summing up

Choosing the right transactional email service for a WordPress site goes beyond comparing features and pricing. It’s about finding a solution that integrates smoothly, works well with the unique WordPress ecosystem and WooCommerce, and enhances the user experience. The providers discussed in this article bring a mix of reliability, WordPress compatibility, and robust features to the table, ensuring that your site’s emails reach their intended recipients effectively.

As you consider these options, remember to focus on the ease of integration, the level of support provided, and how well they align with your site’s specific needs and goals…. And Good Luck! 🤘

Article by Denys Kontorskyy Technical Content Writer @Mailtrap

I am an experienced Technical Content Writer specializing in email infrastructure, offering insights on sending, testing, and optimizing emails. I also have a strong interest in product marketing, creating engaging content that drives audience engagement and supports business growth. With a focus on delivering effective campaigns and staying updated with industry trends, I bring a strategic approach to my writing that aims to achieve measurable results.

Article by Ketevan Bostoganashvili Technical Content Writer @Mailtrap

I’m a Technical Content Writer with more than 5 years of experience and passion to cover software engineering topics. I mostly write about email infrastructure and create code-rich guides about sending and testing emails, but I also love writing about result-driven email marketing.