Mandrill Alternatives for WordPress and Drupal

The Problem

The default email systems in WordPress and Drupal are not optimized—they are designed to work on the widest variations of platforms and servers that WordPress and Drupal supports. While you can use a web server to send email, it isn’t reliable, on any host. The manual on PHP’s mail function says “It is worth noting that the mail() function is not suitable for larger volumes of email”. Since a web server isn’t the right tool for the job we recommend you use a dedicated email service. For more information please see our email on Pantheon article.

As you may or may not know, Mandrill will be discontinuing their free tier and “Mandrill users have until April 27, 2016 to merge their Mandrill account with a MailChimp account.” See Mandrill’s blog post or FAQ article for more information.

If you are using MailChimp already this may not be an issue for you. However, if you are using Mandrill’s free tier to send outbound email from WordPress or Drupal, this is a concern.

Mandrill Alternatives for WordPress and Drupal

If you are just using Mandrill to send outbound emails such as password reset requests or new user registrations, a premium service typically isn’t necessary. Since Mandrill is discontinuing their free tier let’s take a look at some alternatives:

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SendGrid is a great alternative to Mandrill with a free tier that lets you send 12,000 emails a month.

For small to medium sized sites this should be plenty. Check out our docs article on setting up SendGrid for WordPress and Drupal to get started.

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SparkPost is listed as a free alternative by Mandrill's official post about discontinuing their free service.

SparkPost’s free tier offers 100,000 emails a month making it a good option if your site sends more emails than the WordPress default—items like transaction receipts, downloads links, etc.

SparkPost also has a Drupal module, WordPress plugin, and PHP library available that make switching easy.

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MailGun is an outbound email service provided by Rackspace that also has a generous free tier, offering 10,000 emails a month.

MailGun has a Drupal module and a WordPress plugin to make setup a breeze.

MailGun offers RESTful webhooks, analytics and a jQuery plugin for validating email address fields.

Conclusion

There are a lot of email service providers—a lot more than outlined here. If one of your favorites isn’t on the list leave a comment below and let us know.

Keep in mind that Mandrill is stopping free service on April 27, 2016, so you need to switch by then if you want to stick with a free tier of service. Hopefully one of these solutions will make the transition painless.

If you still aren’t sure or need help with the transition, Pantheon partner Lockr is offering help to anyone who needs to make the switch.

Topics Website Technology, Drupal, WordPress