Free SMTP Servers List: 10 options to Send High Volume Emails

If you are up to reading this post, you already know what SMTP is, why IMAP and SMTP are needed, and how the SMTP server works. So, we’ll spare you an introduction to this. What you need is a reliable and, equally important, free service that will let you send bulk emails and transactional email sending. That’s why you’re here. We’ve analyzed dozens of worthwhile solutions and picked ten free SMTP servers you can rely on. 

Is a cloud-based SMTP server what you need?

In this article, we’ll touch upon cloud-based SMTP servers. This is the most common option for numerous businesses and startups. An alternative solution is a self-hosted SMTP server. This includes the building of the whole infrastructure. Usually, large corporations can afford self-hosted servers. Having an SMTP server in the cloud means that you are freed from this burden. You can use the resources you need for mailing and, hence, save time and money. Also, the cloud-based services we selected are professional. They provide what you need for your project: 

Cost-efficiency
A cloud-based server is a good bargain. You will have to spend so much more to create and maintain your email environment. Besides, the options below provide absolutely free subscription plans.

Deliverability
Cloud-based SMTP services are designed to process high volumes of emails. Also, they usually cooperate with mailbox providers. This ensures top deliverability rates. You can read more on this in our blog post How to Improve Email Deliverability.

Scalability
Your email campaign may have thousands or even millions of emails. This is not a problem for the cloud-based infrastructure and all your messages will be sent quickly. Also, the services can adjust to your emailing needs, which saves you money as well. 

Security
It’s not only about virtual security. If you have built your server environment, you would have taken care to protect against physical damage to your hardware. Hopefully, you do not have to worry about this if you opt for a cloud-based SMTP server.

What is the difference between SMTP server, SMTP relay, and SMTP service?

– An SMTP server is a computer program or app that sends or relays outgoing emails using the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol. 
– From a technical standpoint, SMTP relay is the process of delivery of emails from one mail server to another. SMTP relays are essential to send out all forms of bulk mail, transactional emails, newsletters, etc. In the context of email marketing, SMTP relay services usually refer to the actual SMTP servers. 
SMTP service is a general notion that denotes an off-the-shelf email infrastructure that includes one or several SMTP servers. 

Comparison table of free SMTP server providers

Gmail SMTP server

Let’s start with the best known free SMTP service. Anyone who has a Gmail account can send emails using Google’s free SMTP server. So, it’s not only for personal messages. You can make use of the Gmail SMTP server for notifications, contact forms, and anything else you need your web app. 

This service is a perfect solution for small businesses and companies that do not plan to send high volumes of email. The Gmail SMTP server is totally free but it has some limitations that you can find in the documentation. So far, you can send up to 100 emails per day.

Once you’ve reached one of these limits, email sending will be blocked for up to 24 hours. To increase the limits, you can sign up for a paid G Suite account, which include: Basic, Business, or Enterprise. Here you can learn how their terms differ. 

The Gmail SMTP server is a free and useful solution to send email but it’s not an option for bulk email. And what is? The following options are suitable for high volume email campaigns. 

S̶p̶a̶r̶k̶P̶o̶s̶t̶ Elastic Email

Initially, we were going to feature SparkPost here. But it turns out that they cut the volume of free emails to 500 per month beginning in September 2019. We asked ourselves “Which service could replace it?” Our pick was Elastic Email. This service is not as advanced as SparkPost, but it provides decent features and, most importantly, can be used for free.

Features

  • SMTP and HTTP API
  • subscription forms
  • analytics
  • email template designer
  • email verification (paid option)
  • private IP addresses (paid option)

Pricing

You can start using Elastic Email with a free trial, which allows you to send up to 100 emails per day. This might be enough at the outset of your project. Over time, you’ll need larger volumes of emails. For this, Elastic Email provides Pay-As-You-Go plans: 

  • Email API – $0.09 per each 1K emails
  • Email API Pro – $0.09 per each 1K emails plus $1 per day

Also, there are monthly plans with unlimited emails. Their pricing starts with $9/month per 2500 contacts.

Limits

You cannot send more than 100 emails for free every day. Also, it is allowed to make 20 concurrent requests from a single IP. A single command timeout is 2 minutes. Multiple emails can be submitted in one session.

Mailjet

Mailjet is an advanced service to handle emails. It is mainly for both developers and marketers. Within the topic of this article, Mailjet has a free SMTP server to offer. It is represented as an SMTP Relay Service that you can easily integrate within your app. Unlike similar solutions, Mailjet supports several SMTP ports. In practice, this offers greater flexibility to the email sending. If you prefer conventional HTTP connection, Mailjet Send API is also available.

Features

  • APIs, SMTP Relay, Webhooks
  • support for multiple SMTP ports
  • high inbox placement rate
  • real-time dashboard for monitoring email performance
  • advanced templating language
  • dedicated IP (paid option)
  • A/B testing (paid option)
  • Multi-user collaboration (paid option)

Pricing

If you want to try this service, you can make use of 6K emails per month. You’ll get them for free without any expiration period nor credit card submission. If more email volume is needed, you’ll have to select one of the subscription plans: Basic, Premium, or Enterprise.

SMTP limits

The free trial subscription is limited to 200 emails sent per day. 

TurboSMTP 

turboSMTP is a reliable and cost-effective SMTP service. It provides a free version with 6K emails per month, for one year. Take a look at the features this SMTP server offers.

Features

  • real-time tracking of email campaign
  • email marketing delivery system
  • email template creator
  • SMTP API
  • subuser management (paid option)
  • dedicated IP address (paid option)

Pricing

turboSMTP provides both monthly plans and the Pay-As-You-Go option. The latter allows you to purchase prepaid credits and use them only when you need to send emails. For example, you can buy 100K emails for $92 and spend them at any time for one year. If you deal with recurrent email sending, consider the Basic or Pro plans for your business. The cheapest Bronze option costs $9.95/month for 30K relays.

Limits

With the free plan, you can only send up to 200 emails per day. 

Mailgun 

Mailgun is marketed as the email service for developers. Still, it has a variety of features for those who need SMTP to send transactional emails and marketing campaigns. The simplest way to get started with sending emails is to use the SMTP relay service. For this, you need to:

  • add and verify your domain name
  • choose between a dedicated or shared IP address
  • set up your SMTP server

The SMTP configuration of your app should be tweaked with your username, password, hostname, and port of the SMTP server. Another cool option is the SMTP API, which significantly improves email handling. 

Features

  • SMTP reputation check
  • real-time email tracking 
  • email address validation 
  • SMTP API
  • increased deliverability features 
  • inbound email parsing and routing
  • Rapid Fire Throughput – service that prompts delivery attempts of up to 250K emails per minute (paid option)
  • advanced email analytics (paid option)
  • dedicated IP (paid option)

Pricing

As for pricing, you can send up to 10K emails per month for free. Do you need more? For higher volumes, you can either use the Pay-As-You-Go concept or purchase a subscription plan. Pay-As-You-Go lets you buy up to 75K emails to send per month at a rate of $0.50/1000 emails. More than 100K emails are available via subscription plans only. 

SMTP limits

Despite 10K free emails per month, all new domains are included in the sandbox. This limits the email sending to 300 emails per day. If you submit your credit card information, you’re upgraded to the Concept plan. It is essentially the Free plan with no limit on the number of emails sent or received.

Sendinblue

Sendinblue is a bulk email service. It provides different tools for optimization of marketing workflow. One of them is the SMTP relay. This is a professional server to deliver transactional emails sent from your web app. Besides SMTP server, you can opt for API and eCommerce plugins to set up your bulk email sending.

Features

  • real-time reporting 
  • advanced templating language based on Django
  • landing page builder
  • APIs, webhooks
  • multi-user access (paid option)
  • heat map reporting (paid option)
  • dedicated IP address (paid option)

Pricing

The free plan is unlimited in use but you can send up to 300 emails per day. This is three times more than the Gmail SMTP server, but it may still not be enough for large-scale bulk email. Unfortunately, there is no Pay-As-You-Go option with Sendinblue, and you have to pick one of the available subscription plans: 

  • Lite – 40K emails for $25/month
  • Essential – 60K emails for $39/month
  • Premium – 120K emails for $66/month

Also, there is an Enterprise solution for marketers who send higher volume of emails. 

SMTP limits

Your daily limit is 300 emails. Also, for shared IPs, there is a quota of 40 emails per hour. This bandwidth limit goes up or down automatically based on your engagement metrics and sending volume. 

SendPulse

SendPulse is another bulk email service on our list. It provides the SMTP server for all types of emails. You can integrate it with your app or other system and send transactional emails fast,  secure, and free. SendPulse offers 12K email per month at no charge! 

Features

  • high deliverability due to good sender reputation
  • APIs 
  • email template creator
  • DKIM and SPF authentication
  • delivery reports
  • unsubscribe monitoring
  • dedicated IP (paid option)

Pricing

As we said, you get 12K free transactional emails per month. If you want more, you can either pay for additional emails (for example, 10K for $15) or purchase a subscription plan: Basic, Pro, or Enterprise. The price for each plan differs according to the email volume you need. For example, Pro with 100K emails will cost $74.85/month and Pro with 300K emails will cost $174.85/month. 

SMTP limits

The free plan allows you to send up to 50 emails per hour using 2 sender domains. This value goes up significantly if you use a subscription plan or buy additional emails with the Pay-As-You-Go option. For example, with the Basic plan (25K emails), your bandwidth limit is 2500 emails per hour. If you buy 25K emails with Pay-As-You-Go, the limit will be 4000 emails per hour.  

SendGrid

SendGrid is a reknown email delivery service. We’ve already blogged about it in Sendgrid vs. Mandrill vs. Mailgun. So, you can read that for more about this email sending solution. In short, SendGrid is a cloud-based SMTP provider. It offers SMTP Relay, Web APIs, and Webhooks for sending transactional and bulk emails.

Features

  • reputation monitoring
  • email authentication
  • delivery optimization tools
  • email API
  • real-time analytics
  • event webhook
  • transactional templates
  • dedicated IP address (paid option)
  • subuser management (paid option)

Pricing

SendGrid’s free plan provides 40K emails for 30 days. Once you’ve run out of them, you get 100 emails per day. If your email volumes are big, check out one of the paid subscription plans: Essentials, Pro, and Premier. The prices differ mostly depending on the features you get rather than the number of emails. For example, 15K emails per month with Essentials costs $14.95, and with Pro it will be $79.95. By the way, the prices are estimated so taxes and overages may apply.

SMTP limits

An email to be sent to multiple recipients has a hard limit of 10K addresses. It’s recommended to split up large jobs to around 1K recipients. This improves load distribution. 

Amazon SES

Amazon SES (Simple Email Service) is a cloud-based platform for businesses that uses email to communicate with their users. It provides several email sending interfaces: 

  • Console
  • SMTP interface 
  • API via AWS SDK or AWS CLI

You can use the SMTP interface to integrate Amazon SES into your app, email client, ticketing system, or other software. 

Features:

  • Several methods to monitor email sending activity
  • Sender reputation dashboard
  • Flexible email receiving
  • Mailbox simulator to test email sending
  • Support for industry-standard authentication mechanisms: SPF, DKIM, and DMARC
  • Personalization of emails
  • High deliverability
  • Dedicated IP address for exclusive use (paid option)

Pricing

The pricing system includes no upfront costs or subscriptions. Users pay $0.1 for every 1K emails sent or received. Data in the emails is paid additionally: $0.12 per gigabyte. We promised a list of free SMTP services, right? Amazon SES provides a free usage tier for the first 62K emails sent each month. But these emails must be sent from an app hosted on Amazon EC2. The first 1K emails received are also free. 

SMTP limits

All new accounts are placed in the Amazon SES sandbox, which means there are sending limitations. According to this, you can send up to 200 emails at a rate of 1 email per second in one day (24 hours). You can increase your sending limits by moving out of the sandbox.

If you took interest in this SMTP service, read our Amazon SES guide for dummies.

Moosend

Moosend is the email service provider that allows you to send unlimited emails using their SMTP server. Oh, we forgot to mention that it’s absolutely free. This sounds fantastic, but it’s true. Moosend focuses on transactional emails and provides powerful email marketing features. Also, you can automate your whole marketing activities using Moosend API.

Features

  • real-time statistics for each email sent 
  • advanced editor to design transactional emails
  • TLS encryption across all emails
  • email marketing automations
  • Moosend API for seamless integration with your app
  • spam test
  • dedicated IP address (paid option)

Pricing

All emails sent through Moosend are free…only if the number of your recipients is below 1K. If there are more, then you’ll have to cash out. You may choose a Pay-As-You-Go plan and purchase a fixed number of credits (one email per recipient). For example, 5K credits cost $15. Alternatively, there are many monthly plans divided by the number of recipients you need. In this case, an email campaign for up to 5K recipients will cost $30.

SMTP limits

A free subscription plan is limited to 1K of email recipients. 

Which service allows you to send 10000 emails at once for free?

Let’s be realistic – none of the services will let you send 10K emails at once for free. Besides, such email volume sent from a single email address on the go will definitely trigger spam filters. So, the best way is to split the email campaign into five batches of 2K emails each. 

Out of all the services mentioned above, only five allow you to send such an email volume for free. These are Amazon SES, Mailgun, SendGrid, SendPulse, and Moosend. But all of them have daily sending quotas or other limitations. SendPulse could be an option, but with its limit of 50 emails per hour, you’ll have to spend 200 hours for the entire campaign! 

Thunder SMTP claims that they can do the job. Their free plan provides 15K emails per month and there seems to be no limitations on the contact list size. It’s hard to say whether it works, but they are the only free option at this point. 

When and why should I opt for a fake SMTP server instead of a real one?

A real SMTP server is meant to send your emails to the recipients. Why would I need a fake one then? Dummy or fake SMTP servers are useful for testing purposes – they check the email sending capability of an app. Let’s say you want to find out whether your web app functions well in terms of sending emails. For this, you need to send an email or multiple emails (for load testing) to real recipients. But you do not want to spam them, do you? So, you need to take care to set up several test email addresses. This is rather inconvenient to carry out all these manipulations manually. 

Instead, you can simply sign up for Mailtrap, tweak your app’s SMTP credentials, and do testing right away. None of your emails will end up in the recipient’s mailbox. Actually, you can think up a recipient’s email address and send your emails to it. All of them will be trapped, and you’ll find them in the Demo inbox. Mailtrap is a complex tool for safe email testing. Besides with a fake SMTP server underneath, it provides a bunch of useful features like email previewing, testing email addresses, and many others. Also, it has a forever free plan, so you can test your individual projects for free. To learn more benefits of using a fake SMTP server, read the Mailtrap Getting Started Guide

To wrap up

So, which of the free SMTP services would we recommend? Obviously, the one that will let your business scale seamlessly. A free trial plan is a good launching pad for your project. If you plan to grow and prosper, you’ll have to level up. In this case, take into account what each of the aforementioned services can provide in the long-term perspective. This way, you’ll figure out whether it is a good fit or not. Take care and good luck in your endeavors!