Is Mandrill Done? 5 Alternatives for Your Transactional Email

TL;DR: Mandrill wanted to raise their prices 4x. They found a way to do that by merging with MailChimp. Here are some Mandrill alternatives.

I know I know … I sound like a click-baity BuzzFeed headline, sorry.

But that’s, more or less, the case.

The backstory:

Mandrill is was probably the perfect solution for sending transactional email. For instance, if you have a website that needs this sort of functionality (e.g an eCommerce store) or an app, you can use Mandrill for one-to-one communication with your customers.

Think, reminding people of their passwords, sending info regarding their purchases, etc.

But.

All of a sudden, Mandrill has decided to merge back with MailChimp (originally, Mandrill was a startup within MailChimp, but operating independently, with their own model, databases, prices, etc.), and while doing so, they’ve basically forced their users to start spending up to 4x as much for the service.

Here’s how it plays out:

  • The standard plan with Mandrill used to be $9.95 / month, which allowed you to send up to 25,000 transactional emails.
  • After the merge, Mandrill will only be available as a paid add-on for paid MailChimp accounts. The cheapest MailChimp account is $20 (which really is waaaaay too expensive for the possibilities it gives you – we talked about this a while ago). Once you have MailChimp, the cheapest block of Mandrill credits will be sold for $20 / month.
  • In total, to keep using Mandrill, you’ll have to spend $40 / mo instead of $10.

The important part is that there’s no way around this. If you want to keep using Mandrill, you need to move to a paid MailChimp account, and then buy the add-on access.

mandrillapp-info

Mandrill alternatives

If the new asking price sounds a bit much for your taste, here are the alternatives:

1. SendinBlue

sendinblue
Full disclosure; we’ve been using SendinBlue for everything in camp CodeinWP. Marketing email, drip campaigns, and transactional email as well.

SendinBlue can basically do all of that stuff, and even let you send SMS messages if you’re up for this kind of marketing. The APIs are there, the integration is easy to grasp, and you get detailed reporting. Most importantly, at this point, it’s also way more affordable than Mandrill, making it a great alternative.

Or pick one of the paid plans:

  • 40,000 emails / mo for $25.
  • 60,000 for $39 / mo.
  • 120,000 for $66 / mo.

You can learn more about SendinBlue here.

2. Mailjet

mailjet
Mailjet is a really user-friendly solution, focusing on making both the marketer’s work and the developer’s work easier. The transactional component of Mailjet is designed in a way that lets the marketer work with the templates for the emails (change the designs, content, whatever) without messing up the software integration created by the developer.

Here’s a quick video:

Price-wise, Mailjet looks quite good:

  • Send up to 200 emails / day for free (6000 / mo).
  • 30,000 monthly for $7.49.
  • 60,000 for $21.95

3. SendGrid

sendgrid
SendGrid prides itself on the fact that they were built as an API company from the ground up. Basically, the whole system is built around the idea that it’s going to be integrated with other websites, apps and software solutions.

Used by companies such as Airbnb, Spotify, even Uber, so perhaps it will serve you as well. SendGrid also gives you access to a range of guides, webcasts and video tutorials.

Price-wise:

  • 12,000 monthly emails for free.
  • 40,000 for $9.95 (“Essentials” plan).
  • 100,000 for $19.95 (“Essentials” plan).
  • 100,000 for $79.95 (“Pro” plan – includes a dedicated IP and some other features).
  • 300,000 for $199.95.
  • 700,000 for $399.95.

4. Mailgun

mailgun
A solution that’s very similar to SendGrid, but is much more affordable, and especially if you only need to send a small number of emails per month. Under the hood, Mailgun has API integration, and a quite easy-to-use sending infrastructure. (Although, for instance, Mailjet is much better at handling custom email templates).

Price-wise:

  • 10,000 monthly emails for free.
  • Up to 500,000 emails for $0.00050 each. So:
    • 20,000 for $5.
    • 50,000 for $20.
    • 100,000 for $45.
    • 200,000 for $95.

5. Amazon SES

ses
Nothing beats Amazon when it comes to their price per email and their deliverability. At the same time, integrating the platform with your tool or site can take more time. Alternatively, you can use an outside solution that acts as the middle man between you and Amazon. For instance, Sendy does this for marketing email.

Price-wise:

  • 62,000 monthly emails for free.
  • After that, it’s basically $0.0001 per email.

WordPress?

If you’ve previously used wpMandrill to integrate with your Mandrill account, you might want to consider changing it as well.

For example, you can check out a plugin called WP Mail SMTP. It reconfigures the wp_mail() function to use SMTP instead of mail(). You can integrate it with one of the solutions listed above, and maybe manage to keep the modifications to a minimum after ditching wpMandrill.

Also, feel free to look into WPForms – Drag & Drop WordPress Form Builder. It offers some SMTP capabilities as well, but in the contact form realm (delivering the emails from the visitors to you).

Staying with Mandrill?

What do you think about this whole cash grab? Or maybe you’re staying with Mandrill anyway?

Don’t forget to join our crash course on speeding up your WordPress site. With some simple fixes, you can reduce your loading time by even 50-80%:

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