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Amazon Dropping Simple Email Service (SES) Free Tier, Here's a Better Alternative

Amazon Trending DownAmazon has announced that they’re dropping their Simple Email Service (SES) free tier.

As is usual with corporatespeak, they phrased it in the most obfuscated way possible.  “We are also lowering the free tier limit for outbound messages and reducing the duration of the SES free tier to 12 months.”

Now I think this means that new subscribers will get the free tier for 12 months only, but the way they phrase it could also be interpreted as “reducing the duration” to the next 12 calendar months and then it will go away forever.  If Amazon isn’t clear in what they’re saying, then they can suffer an aggressive LowEndBox headline.

More from the announcement:

On August 1, 2023, the free tier for the Amazon Simple Email Service (SES) will change. We are adding more features to the SES free tier: it now includes more outbound email message sources, SES’ new Virtual Deliverability Manager, and a higher limit for receiving inbound messages. We are also lowering the free tier limit for outbound messages and reducing the duration of the SES free tier to 12 months.

This may affect your bill starting in August 2023. Since you are already using SES, you will be able to take advantage of the revised free tier for another 12 months (until August 2024). Based on your SES usage in May 2023, this change would not have affected your SES bill.


The revised SES free tier goes live on August 1, 2023, and your account(s) will be enrolled automatically. As part of this change, you will see the label you see on your SES bill for the pricing unit for inbound messages change from “Message” to “Count” – this matches the same way we label outbound messages. We are not able to offer an option to remain on the previous SES free tier model.

Pricing is:

  • Sending from EC2: free for the first 62,000 emails per month, $0.10 cents per 1,000 emails after that with a $0.12/GB charge for attachments
  • Sending from non-EC2: No free 62,000 per month, $0.10 cents per 1,000 emails after that with a $0.12/GB charge for attachments
  • Inbound is free for first 1,000 emails, $0.10 centers per 1,000 emails after that

Amazon’s SES service works as promised but that’s ridiculously expensive.  If you have super-low volume, perhaps you don’t care.

Though like all metered cloud services, you have to be careful.

I used SES to send emails from my home scripts and jobs to my Gmail.  Since I’m sending under 1,000 emails a year, I don’t care if Amazon bills me a dime (and it probably costs them more in transaction costs than they ever make in profit).  However, I had a script with a bug where I thought it’d email me once a day but it ended up emailing me nonstop in a loop.  I went out to the store and when I came back I had 75,000+ emails waiting for me.  Now a $7.50 bill wasn’t a big deal but the potential for anything charged on a per-email basis is obvious.

Fortunately There’s a Much Cheaper, Better Solution

Our community has long been in love with MXroute.  We just posted a special offer that LowEndTalk administrator emeritus @jar is running:

  • Unlimited domains
  • Unlimited email addresses in those domains
  • 100GB online storage for mailboxes
  • 300 outbound emails/hour/account
  • $40/YEAR!

Oh, and if you have a problem, you can actually get support instead of talking to Amazon robots.

Note: no per-email charges here!

Sure, if you’re doing tiny amounts of email maybe SES still pencils out.  But if you need email service, you’re likely paying $5/user/month at one of the hosting companies and even if you have only one user, MXroute is already cheaper.




  1. Diego Perez:

    MXroute it’s not a AWS SES alternative.
    Also, MXroute are going to block your account instantanly if you send emails like users usually do on AWS SES.
    MXroute are very clear about their restrictions all over their website.

    June 26, 2023 @ 9:23 pm | Reply
  2. Roger:

    Bro, MXRoute IS NOT a SES alternative. If you think that, you missed out the point of AWS SES.
    Please fix your article as it’s really misleading.

    (Don’t get me wrong, MXRoute is amazing for mailboxes and it’s what they really do)

    June 28, 2023 @ 10:56 am | Reply

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