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SendGrid vs Mandrill: Free vs Paid Add-on to MailChimp

MailChimp does away with the free Mandrill email service. Elevates to MailChimp paid add-on for paid MailChimp accounts, starting March 16th.

You heard that correctly folks! Starting today, Marc 16th, Mandrill (previously a free service offering to send up to 12,000 of your precious emails to newsletter subscribers) has become a paid add-on for paying members of MailChimp. That means, in addition to shelling out at least 10 bucks a month for 500 subscribers (more per month if you have more subscribers), mandrill will no longer be a free service. You have until April 27th to merge it with a paying MailChimp Account or export out your data.

If you have been using MailPoet on your WordPress site, using Mandrill to send out your newsletter, effective April 27th you will have to pay. This was an announcement made by the parent company behind Mandrill, MailChimp. What this means is that if you do not merge your Mandrill account into a paid MailChimp account (yep, the free MailChimp account won't cut it) by April 27th, you will be out of the loop.

Keep in mind, as an add-on to a paid mailchimp account will mean you must pay for MailChimp and the add-on as well. So, if you are paying for MailChimp (starting at $10 a month for 500 subscribers and unlimited emails, what's the point of paying for the add-on? Simply the way I see it, this is a marketing strategy by the good folks of MailChimp to get you to stop using your free (in most cases) mailpoet WordPress plugin and use MailChimp instead.

So, what are your options? Glad you asked. Upon visiting the MailPoet site, I clicked on Support up top and the top question under knowledge base articles is one titled “How to setup SendGrid on your website”. I even put the direct link to that article right there for you. Just what is SendGrid? They are a top email provider, much like what Mandrill was. They simply provide a means for you to send out email. Now, you must go through a provisioning process (link provided below to explain just what that means), but once you are up and running with them, you can head over and configure MailPoet to use their service.

What is the provisioning process with SendGrid? (Complete with video, which you should watch)

SendGrid Costs

SendGrid offers a free package, which allows for up to 12,000 emails per month, much like Mandrill. Much like Mandrill is (until April 27th), SendGrid does not care how many subscribers you have. They are just there to send on the emails. Now you can upgrade to send out up to 40,000 emails for $9.95 or any of the other available sending limits (link right there, bam). Plus, under the compare plan details section at the link above, you can see the cost per email if you go over your plans limit. For example, with the 40,000 emails for $9.95, emails over that 40k are charged at $0.0010 per email. Remind you of any? Cough Cough Amazon Cough.

So what are you waiting for? Choose either MailChimp, which will let you send unlimited emails for $10 a month, but only up to 500 people a month (all while using their service) or SendGrid, which limits you to 12,000 emails a month for free, with whatever size list you have or just $9.95 a month for up to 40,000 emails a month (no rollovers, mkay) and an insane 1/10th of a cent for each email over that 40k. The choice is yours and yours alone to make.

Note: The free MailPoet caps you at 12,000 subscribers. This is a limit placed by the free version. If you need more than that, grab the paid upgrade.

Other Items of Interest

How to Setup SendGrid on Your Site (walks you through the entire process)

SparkPost Offer a Free Email Sending Option with 100k Emails Per Month