Why You Need a Transactional Email Provider and How to Choose the Right One

Rohan Mathew

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What is a transactional email? Why do you need another email provider or an external platform when you can use the Send Mail method on your server or other similar functions and plugins? Remember that you will have to pay a transactional email provider their fees while the other option is free.

We will go over the details of what a transactional email is and why you should get one.

What are Transactional Emails?

A transactional email is one that is sent whenever there is a transaction that needs to be facilitated. It is not a commercial email, per se. For instance, in universities, emails are considered transactional when they meet any of the following conditions:

  • Non-marketing messages
  • Messages from Google groups and listservs
  • Event confirmation emails
  • Purchase receipts
  • Notification emails
  • Account creation notifications
  • Transaction updates and confirmations
  • Official training communications
  • Social media updates
  • Password reset emails
  • Timely warnings

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Why Hire the Services of a Transactional Email Provider?

So why get the services of a third-party email provider? The problem with the approaches mentioned above is that they usually have difficulty when it comes to mail delivery. The emails are sent from your server, which most likely has an IP address that has not established itself as a source of quality emails.

On top of that, hosting companies usually place very strict limits on the number of emails sent from their servers. Their goal is to prevent their hosting services from being used and abused by spammers.

Important Factors to Consider

Before you partner with any transactional email provider, you need to consider several important factors. There are several differences between each provider such as APIs, troubleshooting capabilities, levels of customer support, and delivery quality among others.

You should also consider the types of emails that you will be sending out. Some of the emails that you will be sending out will be transactional while the rest would be promotional. Note that email providers will be proficient with one or the other.

Let’s go over the different essential factors you need to consider:

  1. Delivery Speed and Rate

One transactional email provider can have a different delivery rate compared to others. However, when you check out their offers, they will all claim to have excellent delivery rates and speeds. Of course, not everyone can be the best in that category.

Some providers don’t live up to such a huge claim. This is true for those that use shared IP pools. They may claim that their delivery rate is pretty fast when you measure the inbox rates. But that is not an accurate way to measure the speed of delivery, since the mail may even be a few minutes late.

So, how do you determine the delivery rate? Here are several key elements:

  • Check their IP addresses with publicly disclosed blacklists. If theirs is on these lists then you know that they have mail delivery problems.
  • Check the documentation regarding IP address warmups. If the burden for it is on you then they have delivery problems and not as fast as they claim.
  • Check if there is an extra charge for dedicated IP addresses. This is a bad sign since you’re hiring the company to deliver the email not just sending the email. A dedicated IP should only be offered during aftersales. It should be offered when you, the client, need to send incredibly huge email volumes.
  • Check customer reviews and social media buzz
  • Test the delivery speeds on your own. If they give you a free trial, use it to test the delivery rate. Send emails out to your staff and see how fast it gets delivered.
  1. Documentation and API

You will need to use the API of your selected transactional email provider. However, one common problem is in the documentation that they provide. Some providers create very organized and well-composed documentation, while others are nearly incomprehensible.

Request for a sample of their documentation to help you judge whether it will be worth working with them or not.

Here are a few things you should ask yourself:

  • Is the information on their documentation easy to find?
  • Do they have client libraries that you can use? Are the libraries current?
  • Are documents searchable?
  • Is there a way to monitor deliverability using the API that they have provided?
  • Are the templates easy to use or it seems that you will have to recompose everything yourself?

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  1. Troubleshooting

Another thing that you should check with your transactional email provider is the level of troubleshooting that they can provide for you. Check how extensive is their message history and find out how long they maintain that history.

If it is only 30 days, would it be possible to extend it? Find out if they accept the burden of deliverability or you will have to do it yourself.

  1. Customer Support

It would be ironic if your provider doesn’t respond to your support emails in a timely manner, right? You should also test their support team especially if the technicians know the answers to technical questions.


After checking out all the key factors to consider, you need to determine whether a provider gives you good value for the price. Some of them have pricey rates but if it is worth it then you’re better off with that company than one that has a more affordable monthly rate but is less reliable.