Free SMTP Servers: The Top Providers To Improve Your Email Campaigns
Effective email communication between a company and its customers is essential for any successful marketing strategy. Behind the scenes of every sent and received letter lies the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP), helping to manage large numbers of newsletters and transactional messages.
Let’s discuss the best free SMTP servers, including how they work and how to pick the right one for your email, even if you craft perfect ones.
What is an SMTP Server?
SMTP is like a post office, ensuring your email gets to the right place through routing from the sender (you) to the receiver. When you send an email, your email client connects to your SMTP server first and then to the recipient’s SMTP server to deliver the email.
An SMTP is used for the following:
- An SMTP server transports messages from your email client to the recipient’s email server.
- An SMTP server determines the most effective email path, navigating through different servers and network configurations.
- An SMTP server demands authentication before allowing you to send an email, safeguarding the system against spam and fraud.
- An SMTP server sends back an error code if there is a problem with the email delivery, explaining the issue.
The best SMTP server should:
- Keep a stable relationship with top ESPs, ensuring your newsletter reaches all or most recipients
- Offer flexible plans to meet your mailing needs
- Be easy to set up and work with all major email clients and software
- Provide accurate email analytics
- Offer support around the clock
Benefits of an SMTP Server
The main factors when sending an email are:
- Your SMTP server setup and configuration
- Your email sender reputation
- The content of your email
Speaking of the content, avoid spam triggers in the subject lines and content, and ensure your copy is free of typos and not linked to low-quality or downright fraudulent content.
As for the email infrastructure and your sender reputation, these can pose a challenge. For example, you can set up and run your own SMTP-free email server if you have a solid understanding of the technology and can monitor and resolve deliverability issues.
That said, it’s much easier to leverage email SMTP services to improve your email deliverability without worrying about the technical aspects.
Let’s take a closer look at the advantages of SMTP services.
1. Routing Emails Infrastructure
Internet service providers (ISPs) consider both the reputation of your domain and the reputation of your IP address when deciding to deliver your emails to your recipients’ inboxes or to move them directly to the spam folder. Good SMTP relay service providers will include your company in a pool of reliable senders with a strong reputation. They will use various tools to protect the IP reputation of the sending domain.
If you manage your own SMTP mail server on a shared Virtual Machine (VM), you won’t have full control over your sender reputation, potentially leading to your IP address being blocklisted by the ISP.
2. Protection from Spam Emails
Many ISPs and webmail providers have limited how many emails users can send to protect from spammers and fraudsters. Luckily, you can grow your email volume with the help of an SMTP service.
SMTP service providers are experts at sending, monitoring, and improving how email is sent. You have access to top-notch email infrastructure and an experienced support team to help you with deliverability problems.
When you run your own email SMTP server, things are different. You’ll need to know how to fix problems, whether your server goes down or legitimate emails bounce for no reason.
4. Comprehensive Statistics
SMTP services provide valuable deliverability data: emails sent, bounced, spam notifications, spam complaints, detailed error codes, and more.
5. User-Friendly Interface
In contrast to self-managed servers, most SMTP services come with an intuitive and pleasing user interface (UI), so you don’t have to hunt for information.
How to Send Email via SMTP Server?
When you send an email, it may not seem like anything is happening behind the scenes. From the technical point of view, though, you must have an SMTP server to be able to send email messages outside of your domain.
Here’s how SMTP servers work:
- To create an SMTP connection, a mail user agent (MUA), which might be your email client or an app, connects to the SMTP server associated with your domain. A standard SMTP port number 25 is usually used. After a successful connection, the SMTP session will start.
- The server receives the email addresses of the sender and recipient and the email itself.
- The SMTP server examines the sender and recipient domains and delivers the email if everything is OK.
- When you send an email, it goes from your email provider’s server to the recipient’s one. These servers communicate using SMTP to exchange the email. If the recipient’s server is not accessible, the email waits in a queue until the issues are resolved.
The SMTP server checks if their email address is real. If it is valid, the SMTP server sends the email to the person’s email server.
A Beginner’s Guide to Setting Up an SMTP Server
Setting up an SMTP server includes the following:
- Pick a cloud or physical server to run your SMTP service
- Decide on the SMTP server software that resonates with your goals
- Follow the instructions from the software’s guide
- Edit configuration files with info like domain, ports, security (TLS/SSL), and authentication
- Update the domain’s DNS with MX records pointing to your SMTP server’s domain.
- Set up firewalls, authentication, and spam filters to enhance security
- Send test emails internally and externally to ensure proper functionality
- Regularly watch the server’s performance, apply updates, and maintain security measures
- Consider load balancing or more servers as email traffic grows
- Refer to guides or seek help for common issues like mail delivery problems or security breaches
Best Free Email SMTP Services
Choosing the right SMTP server service can improve your email outreach, ensuring every email reaches the right inbox and is well-crafted and relevant to the recipient.
Below are the 10 best free SMTP server services to choose from.
Brevo is perfect if you’re searching for an email marketing solution that seamlessly integrates SMS, live chat, CRM, transactional emails, and landing pages. When creating an email, you can choose from ready-made layouts and templates or upload your own template.
Here’s what Brevo offers:
- Drag-and-drop email editor. Besides text editing, you can insert your brand’s colors, fonts, and logo by entering your website’s URL.
- Workflow editor. The workflow editor lets you set up campaigns based on contact data, email engagement, web behavior, and e-commerce activity.
Overall, the platform runs relatively smoothly, barring possible slowdowns when loading certain pages. For example, when you try to access automation for the first time, it can take up to a few minutes to load.
SMTP2GO gives you access to all the tools required to configure and manage your outgoing email messages. Even if there is a problem with the internet, the delivery of your emails will be guaranteed because the infrastructure is spread across multiple data centers.
Here are the main SMTP2GO characteristics:
- User-friendly API
- Email validation with DKIM and SPF
- Email data tracking: bounces, clicks, opens, and unsubscribes
With SMTP2GO, you can test your emails in over 40 email clients to ensure they pass spam filters.
Marketers use SMTP.com to send transactional and marketing emails to large numbers of recipients.
SMTP.com can assist you with the following:
- Customizing email delivery to reach inboxes
- Monitoring ISPs and IP addresses to optimize email sending
- Helping custom systems integrate with SMTP server
- API setup and technical support
Moosend is an affordable SMTP server service with a drag-and-drop email builder for instant email creation.
Speaking of instant email creation, here are your best eight tools for no-code email design.
With a 98% delivery rate, SMTP easily passes spam filters and also:
- Enables real-time email campaign tracking
- Provides analytical reports
5. Google’s SMTP
Google is probably the best free email server, allowing you to send a maximum of 500 emails daily through a free Gmail account or during the trial period of Google Workspace.
To avoid spam detection, Google’s SMTP works without using port 25. Likewise, it requires two-factor authentication and a secure connection to have an opportunity to send emails.
Sendpulse is a marketing automation platform providing an SMTP server for sending bulk and transactional emails. It also includes a drag-and-drop email builder, landing page templates, CRM, and chatbots. To kick things off with Sendpulse, you should set your sending software to use the required protocols.
The key benefits are:
- Tools to personalize emails, conduct A/B tests, and track email campaigns
- Text message notifications about upcoming sales and events
- Performance reports: delivery rates, open rates, click-through rates, etc.
7. Amazon SES
Amazon SES is a flexible SMTP server service for app developers and digital marketers. It streamlines user notifications and transactional emails and can be used to integrate Amazon SES into your app. Amazon SES easily bypasses spam filters, having email intelligence to track email delivery, bounce rates, and rejections.
SendGrid is a cloud-based SMTP server service that delivers bulk emails quickly and reliably, with an API supporting sophisticated email programs.
- Email sending integrations
- Analytics and metrics reports
- Real-time feedback
Likewise, SendGrid’s Pro Email API and Enhanced Marketing Campaigns plans offer dedicated IP addresses for email delivery.
9. Elastic Email
Source: Elastic Email
Elastic Email’s cost-effectiveness and transactional capabilities suit small to medium email volumes.
Elastic Email provides:
- A swift and straightforward setup for SMTP relay
- Support for 11 programming languages, ensuring compatibility with a wide spectrum of software
- Storing up to 15 distinct SMTP credentials per account
SMPT Server Service Comparison.
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Is SMTP important?
SMTP is a necessary part of email communication. If you use a free SMTP mail server, finding your email address on the blocklists maintained by the major email providers will not be difficult. It’s especially important for businesses that send hundreds of emails daily, as there is a good chance that those emails won’t be successfully delivered if you do not have an SMTP server.
What should SMTP relay servers offer?
- Strong company reputation
- Reliable infrastructure
- Proven delivery record
- Simple interface.
- High support availability
Are free SMTP services reliable?
Free SMTP services can be reliable for personal use and a small number of emails. However, for businesses with higher email requirements, it’s advisable to consider paid options that often provide better deliverability rates and support.