9 Paid and Free SMTP Server Solutions for Marketers and Developers [2021]

I’m sure you came here looking for an excellent free SMTP server to send transactional emails to your recipients.

But wait a minute! What’s an SMTP server, and why do you need it?

free smtp server

If this is the first time you hear about it, let me reassure you that it’s nothing too complicated like rocket science (or naming Elon Musk’s son).

So, get ready because after reading this, you’ll know how to choose the best SMTP relay service for your business.

What is an SMTP Server?

SMTP stands for Simple Mail Transfer Protocol, a TCP/IP protocol used by professional and free SMTP servers to send, receive, and relay messages across the web.

Why do you need an SMTP Server?

Without an SMTP Server, your messages would never reach your recipient’s inbox. To avoid that, you need a digital mail carrier. In this case, let’s call him Bob.

Bob is responsible for delivering your messages to the right person.

But Bob isn’t just a simple mailman. He is also smart, so if he realizes that something is suspicious, he will act as your first line of defense.

To satisfy your visual side, here’s a great depiction of how an SMTP service works:

Smtp service depiction

Now, the only question is whether you need a free SMTP server or a premium SMTP provider to handle your messages.

Let’s find out!

Is a Free SMTP Server the right choice?

Let’s begin by saying that WordPress tries by default to send those transactional emails via PHP mail, which is not ideal since it causes all sorts of problems.

So, using a Free SMTP Server to counter that sounds like a wise choice, right?

While a free SMTP server is useful for someone who’s just starting their business and has no budget, you need to consider the following.

A free plan can benefit someone with a small number of subscribers. However, as your business grows, you’ll soon realize that you need to send more messages.

For example, let’s say you use Google’s free SMTP relay server. The service allows you to send 500 emails per 24 hours during the free trial.

While they may sound like a lot, if you have a growing online business, you’ll soon see that investing more in eCommerce email marketing and transactional emails is crucial for your success. Not to mention that soon you’re back to square one since the free plan is not a permanent choice.

Also, when something’s accessible to anyone, there might be potential spammers among them.

This may also lead to lower deliverability rates and a bad sender reputation.

So, what’s the takeaway? You need to think of your goals as a business. If you’re aiming to grow your online business and increase your revenue, then you need a reliable “partner” down the line. This partner is a premium SMTP server.

Read on for tangible benefits!

Why choose a Premium SMTP Server?

Do you get goosebumps when you hear words like “paid” and “premium?”

Well, you shouldn’t. Just because something is labeled as premium, it doesn’t mean that you have to spend a fortune on it.

Choosing a premium SMTP service will:

  • Allow you to send more transactional emails
  • Ensure hassle-free setup and configuration
  • Provide you with better security
  • Offer higher deliverability rates for your email campaigns
  • Let you track the performance of your emails

Now that you have an idea of the pros and cons of having a free SMTP server and a premium SMTP relay service, let’s explore some of the best solutions.

PS: If you don’t want to go through the whole list, here’s a cool table summarizing the best two services you can get:

Best Free SMTP Server SolutionBest Premium SMTP Server Solution
Service ProviderGoogleMoosend
PricingFree (14 days)$8/mo (Sign up here!)
Emails/month15,000Unlimited
Spam Free ServersYesYes
Dedicated SupportNoYes
ReliabilityYesYes

9 Best Premium and Free SMTP Servers for your Business

Choosing an SMTP service provider to simplify email sending shouldn’t be the most difficult task.

So, here are the 9 best premium and free SMTP solutions you can utilize to scale your business.

1. Google – Free SMTP Server

Google free smtp server

SMTP Server Type: Free (14-day trial)

Email limit: 500 per rolling 24 hours

Google’s SMTP service is one of the most popular free options for those who want to send their first transactional emails. The only thing you need to access the service is a Gmail account. The company’s global infrastructure minimizes disruptions, favoring simplicity, and easiness when integrating it with various applications. Despite being free, it is utterly reliable and offers great email deliverability for Gmail users, so your emails won’t end up in the spam folder.

While Google offers a free SMTP server, after the 14-day trial period you have to upgrade to a Google Workspace paid plan starting at $6/month. In that case, you can send up to 2000 emails per rolling 24-hour period.

Google’s SMTP service also allows you to send messages from a different email address and receive emails to your Gmail account. For instance, if you have a business email address, you can add it as a custom domain name and send bulk emails through Gmail. However, to do so, you’ll need to have a paid subscription plan.

Overall, Google offers an excellent solution for new businesses, but the free service has its limitations and will only get you so far.

Now let’s see how to set up Google’s Free SMTP Server, shall we?

1. Configure

As a free user, you can configure your SMTP setting through your Gmail or G Suite account, by enabling 2FA (2 Factor Authentication) and creating an App password.

This will be used later on to verify your SMTP Server Configuration.

When creating the App password make sure to select Custom from the dropdown list and set an identifiable name.

Gmail app and device configuration

And you are done! Now you can use that SMTP server on your website or application by using the following configuration info:

  • SMTP Server: smtp.gmail.com
  • Authentication: Yes
  • Secure Connection: TLS or SSL
  • Username: Your Gmail Email Address
  • Password: Remember the App Password we created? This is where you use it.
  • Port Number: 587 if you are using a TLS Authentication and 465 if you use SSL

But we are not done yet!

2. Smart hack

Here is a nice “hack” you can do by using Google’s SMTP Server.

If you have a business/website email address that your website hosting provider gave you, you can use Google SMTP Server to send emails through that address and also receive any incoming messages to your Gmail account.

To do that:

Simply create another App Password as we did before. Then navigate to Gmail Settings and click on Accounts.

Next click on Add another email address.

Google settings add address

Now you will be prompted to this window here where you need to add your custom domain email address.

Google smtp business address

Click on Next Step and now we will add Google’s SMTP Server Configuration Info.

Complete the following form with:

  • SMTP Server Name
  • Select the appropriate port number depending on your security protocol
  • your username which is your Gmail address
  • the App Password you generated
  • and finally your security protocol

Configuration of Google SMTP server

Click Add Account and you are all set!

2. Moosend – Premium SMTP Service- $8/month

Moosend Premium SMTP server

SMTP Server Type: Premium

Emails per month: Unlimited

Pricing: $8/month (See all pricing options here)

Moosend is one of the best email marketing automation platforms out there. When you sign up, the service offers you sophisticated tools and responsive newsletter templates to scale your business. As it is natural, choosing Moosend’s SMTP is a no-brainer since it’s an ESP (Email Service Provider).

More specifically, the SMTP service is easy-to-use, allowing you to integrate it with your website and start sending transactional emails in a breeze. To give you an idea, Moosend’s SMTP relay service lets you send order and account confirmations, invoices, and password reset messages. Additionally, Moosend’s powerful analytics and tracking system are perfect for monitoring your performance and achieving high email deliverability.

Another big plus of the relay server is that you can protect your IP by taking advantage of the service’s first-class infrastructure and IPs.

While Moosend doesn’t have a free SMTP server option, you can start sending unlimited transactional emails when you sign up for a paid plan. And to put some ease into your mind, this applies even for the lower-tier plans as well!

To start your email marketing journey, you can sign up here and enjoy the benefits of a premium yet cost-efficient service.

Here’s how to use Moosend’s SMTP server with the application of your choosing. Pressed for time? Click here to jump to the configuration settings!

1. Find the Configuration Info

First of all, log in to Moosend’s email automation platform. You need to find all the configuration information in order to set up your SMTP Server.

To do that, click on the Mailing lists button which is located on the left side of your dashboard.

Moosend platform mailing lists

Then select the mailing list to which you intend to send the transactional emails.

Note: Don’t worry about how many lists you can create as Moosend allows you to create unlimited email lists, no matter which plan you are currently subscribed to!

Selection of moosend mailing list

After you select your desired email list, you have to access the Direct SMTP settings which have all the information you’ll need to get up and running in no time!

To do that, search for Direct SMTP on the mailing list settings bar.

Moosend platform settings bar

2. Get the Configuration Info

Now you are presented with all the necessary information to connect your Moosend Account to your website or SMTP relay client.

Configuration info for Moosend SMTP

First, you’ll need to get your Mailing List ID.

Moosend platform mailing list id

Note from our support team: It is very important to include the Mailing List ID when trying to connect, as this ensures that all your recipients are added to the same mailing list. If not included, multiple mailing lists will be created and this is something you probably want to avoid.

Below you can clearly see the hostname, SMTP Port, your SMTP Username, and SMTP Password, which you should never disclose to anyone!

smtp server details for moosend smtp

With all that information you should be able to hook up our SMTP service to your website and/or application and start sending transactional emails that actually get delivered!

Moosend’s SMTP Server Settings: Overview

To sum up, here is all the info you are going to need:

  • SMTP Server: smtp.mailendo.com
  • Authentication: Yes
  • Secure Connection: TLS
  • Username: Your Moosend Account Name
  • Password: Your Moosend Account Password
  • Port Number: 25

If you want to connect your WordPress Website with Moosend’s SMTP Server, check out this guide!

3. Amazon SES – Free SMTP Server

free smtp server by amazon SES

SMTP Server Type: Free

Emails per month: 62,000

Amazon SES (Simple Email Service) is a cloud-based platform that provides users with a sophisticated SMTP interface. The SMTP service allows you to integrate Amazon with your email client, app, etc. Amazon SES lets you monitor your activity and reputation, an essential feature for every free SMTP relay server.

Furthermore, the service offers support for some of the most popular authentication methods like SPF, DKIM, and DMARC. This way, you can be sure that sending emails through Amazon SES’ SMTP service won’t harm your email deliverability.

Regarding email volume, you can send 62,000 per month but only from an application hosted in Amazon EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud). Receiving messages is also free, but only for the first 1,000. After that, Amazon charges $0.10 for the next 1k emails you get.

The same applies if you want to send an email campaign from a different client. Overall, Amazon SES is among the top free SMTP options to get your work done. Nevertheless, it works only for Amazon EC2 hosted applications.

You can see how to use the Amazon SES SMTP interface to send emails here.

4. SMTP2GO – Free SMTP Server

smtp relay by SMTP2GO

SMTP Server Type: Free

Emails per month: 1,000

SMTP2GO is a free SMTP relay server to send emails, track them, and have an excellent deliverability rate. The service has an intelligent network with built-in redundancy to handle traffic and make sure your emails get delivered even in case of internet failure.

The powerful tools will assist your email tracking efforts with real-time analytics and spam-trap detection. Furthermore, when you join the free plan, SMTP2GO offers 1,000 per month and five days of premium email reporting. While the SMTP service can give you the right tools to ace your emails, the free plan only allows you to deliver ticket support to your recipients.

Besides that, the service gives you access to 14 days of toll-free phone support and live chat to learn the ropes and configure the server. All in all, SMTP2GO is an easy-to-use SMTP solution for new businesses that want to provide their first customers with great support.

Here’s how to use SMTP2GO to send emails.

  • SMTP server: mail.smtp2go.com
  • SMTP port: 2525 (or 80, 25, 8025 or 587 if that doesn’t work).
  • Username / Password: Turn on SMTP authentication and enter your account’s SMTP username and SMTP password.

Note: TLS/SSL is optional. TLS is available on the same ports. SSL is available on ports 465 and 8465.

For more information check out this page.

5. Postmark – Premium SMTP Service – $10/month

Postmark paid smtp relay

SMTP Server Type: Free

Emails per month: 100

Postmark’s SMTP relay server promises to deliver transactional emails in your customers’ inbox in a breeze. When you sign up, the software will equip you with sophisticated tools and responsive email templates to create mobile-friendly transactional campaigns.

The email provider also gives you access to fast email delivery and detailed analytics to monitor your open and click-through rates.

Postmark’s limitation lies in its small email limit. After that, you need to resort to a paid plan starting at $10 per month, allowing you to send 10,000 emails. Unfortunately, getting a dedicated IP is an optional add-on that you can get for an additional price per month.

Overall, Postmark is a good SMTP server solution that’s secure, cost-efficient, and easy-to-integrate with your website or applications.

Here is how to set up Postmark’s service for use with your WordPress website.

  • First, download the Postmark WordPress plugin.
  • Upload postmark directory to your /wp-content/plugins directory.
  • Activate the plugin in your WordPress admin.
  • In the WordPress admin, go to Settings > Postmark. You will then want to insert your Postmark details.
  • Verify sending by entering a recipient email address you have access to and pressing the “Send Test Email” button.
  • Once verified, then check “Enable” to override wp_mail and send using Postmark instead

In case you encounter any problems, here is a useful video.

6. SocketLabs – Free SMTP Server

Socketlabs free relay service

SMTP Server Type: Free

Emails per month: 2,000

SocketLabs is another free SMTP relay server that developers can use to deliver timely bulk emails to their recipients. The service is perfect for new developers and IT professionals who want high deliverability rates at no cost.

Concerning your monthly email volume, SocketLabs gives you 40,000 free emails for the first month. After that, you’ll get a sending limit of 2,000/month. Moreover, choosing SocketLabs’ hosted SMTP service will maximize your inbox placement and keep your emails away from spam folders.

The real-time statistics will offer you all the information you need about your delivery status to ensure that everything works as planned. Furthermore, SocketLabs’ email APIs allow you to integrate your statistics with in-house apps for better access. Finally, the fully-managed cloud SMTP servers and their ability to support DKIM signing, SPF, ISP traffic, and more, make SocketLabs worth a try.

All in all, SocketLabs is among the best free solutions you can get to deliver your transactional emails quickly and efficiently

Find out how to use Socketlabs’ Free SMTP Server here.

Alternatively, if you want to integrate Socketlabs with WordPress, follow this guide.

7. Mailchimp Transactional Email – Premium SMTP Service – $20/month

Mailchimp transactional email smtp add-on service

SMTP Server Type: Premium

Emails per month: 1-500k

Pricing: $20/block per month

Mailchimp Transactional Email (formerly Mandrill) is a paid Mailchimp add-on for your standard or higher account to deliver personalized transactional emails through an SMTP email server. While Transactional Email doesn’t have a free plan, there’s a transactional email demo you can utilize to send automated emails.

The SMTP relay server also has a vast knowledge base with simple and informative guides. So, you won’t have to worry about configuration. Nevertheless, remember that the demo has some sending limitations. Specifically, new users can only send 500 transactional emails to any email address on a verified domain throughout the duration of the demo.

When it comes to the pricing structure, Mailchimp Transactional Email is based on a block system where each one is a credit for 25,000 emails. The blocks contain a fixed number of emails, so you can’t buy blocks smaller than 25k.

When you buy a block, the service will give you access to its global infrastructure, detailed analytics, and automatic loop registration. While Transactional Email also offers a Dedicated IP address, it has an extra cost. Overall, Transactional Email is an ideal SMTP solution for developers who want to increase their email delivery rate and customize sending.

You can easily set up Mailchimp Transactional Email by following the instructions of this detailed guide.

8. Pepipost – Free SMTP Server

Pepipost free smtp service

SMTP Server Type: Free

Emails per month: 3,000

Pepipost is another free SMTP server solution to deliver mass-sent emails by configuring its SMTP server. Pepipost gives new users 30,000 free emails for the first 30 days. After that, you’ll be able to send only 100 free emails per day (or 3000 per month) forever.

Pepipost is great for developers and marketers who want to keep track of their users’ opens and clicks. The smart analytics, along with the service’s AI-powered tools, will help you increase your email deliverability, avoid spam traps, and maintain your sender reputation.

What distinguishes Pepipost’s SMTP service is its 90-day history log that you can revisit to optimize your transactional email strategy. Not only that, but the relay service allows you to connect it to any app/service, including your WordPress website.

All in all, Pepipost will let you deliver bulk emails and achieve great deliverability using some of the most popular open-source email marketing platforms out there.

You can use Pepipost to deliver WordPress emails by following their WordPress integration guide.

9. Mailgun – Premium SMTP Service – $35/month

Mailgun premium smtp relay

SMTP Server Type: Premium

Emails per month: 50,000

Pricing: $35/month

Next in line is Mailgun, an SMTP service to send automated transactional emails and track your email deliverability. While pricing starts at $35 per month for 50k emails, Mailgun also has a pay-as-you-go option that gives you 15,000 free emails (5,000 per month) for three months.

Of course, if you want more than 50k emails but don’t want to switch plans, you can always pay an extra $0.80 for every 1,000 emails.

When it comes to useability, Mailgun’s service is easy-to-integrate with any WordPress site or application, offering a wide selection of features. Among others, you’ll get access to email address validation tools, inbox placement, and detailed documentation.

As a developer-oriented email delivery service, Mailgun may lack some beginner-friendly features. So, if you don’t have the necessary knowledge, you might stumble across certain obstacles. In general, Mailgun’s premium SMTP relay service and advanced tools will ensure that your recipients receive the right message at the right time.

You can integrate and check how to use Mailgun with your WordPress site by clicking here.

Takeaway

Whether you go for a premium or a free SMTP server, you should always keep in mind the needs of a growing business.

While a free solution is always good for your pocket, selecting a more sophisticated relay service will allow you to send more emails and achieve higher deliverability rates.

If you still haven’t decided, why not give our SMTP server a try?

All you need to send unlimited transactional emails is a free account and a subscription to our $8/month plan.

Now, you are ready to scale your business like a pro!

So, what are you waiting for? Go, go, go!

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