Would like to use AWS SES as the SMTP service for CiviMail. The AWS SMTP is set up and authorized but not working with CiviMail.

Has anyone done this successfully? Are there any special requirements?

  • 1
    Can you provide more info on how you have proven AWS SES is working (eg sending from command line on CiviCRM server) and what the symptoms are when CiviCRM fails to send to AWS SES? Can you check if the CiviCRM has queued the messages into its MTA?
    – Joe Murray
    Apr 21, 2015 at 1:03

3 Answers 3


The thread Lobo is referencing is out of date IMO. I've set up AWS SES with CiviMail multiple times in multiple configurations. My personal documentation is here.

I've also successfully set up Postfix locally on a VPS as a smarthost to relay to SES - this is nice because then all e-mail from your VPS (e.g. backup notifications, cron failures, etc.) go through SES. I don't have good docs for that, unfortunately.

Finally - note that my biggest pitfall with SES wasn't SES itself but EC2 - Amazon severely limits outgoing traffic on SMTP ports from EC2 unless you request they manually lift their throttle!

EDIT: A bunch of us discussed our mailing tool at CiviCon today. Mandrill seemed very popular, for a number of reasons - like subaccounts and the strength of the CiviCRM integration. I wasn't the only SES person - but there was a strong argument that if you do, you must relay through Postfix. If Amazon throttles you, CiviCRM won't retry - Postfix will. You could lose e-mails. Also you can lose e-mails when exceeding quota. So it works - but I may try Mandrill next time!

ANOTHER EDIT: Forget Mandrill, SparkPost is the third-party mailer of choice in Civi-world these days now that Mandrill jacked up the prices.


It was pretty easy to setup and use and have the sending rates increased by Amazon - my average bill for sending about 10k emails a month from 2 domains is about $1 and using the service with domain keys in place has improved my open rate over php mail of my web server- although the first month I had a few more unsubs then normal - I think because email was moving out of spam folder to inboxes.

One other interesting point - Those using tell a friend options in email will need to rethink this as SES only allows the from to be from the sending domain - not from the tell a friend person...

  • I have been using AWS SES for several months now for several non profit clients. It works quite well and allows for domains and individual from addresses to be authorized. Also, I have had no problem getting sending rates increased when requested.
    – Dave T
    Jan 29, 2018 at 2:39

There is a pretty detailed thread (a few years old) about CiviMail and SES here:


Bottom line, it does work for some folks with a local mail relay but most folks seems to prefer mandrill or some other solution. Seems like some more work needs to be done to get it to work seamlessly

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