18 May 2014
Comments: 2

How to send bulk emails for free

One of benefits of using Thunder Mailer is its ability to seamlessly integrate with various SMTP servers. Hence, you are not bound to just one service but are free to choose from different providers, depending on your requirements, preference and budget. This means that you can choose to use premium SMTP services like SendGrid or you can also choose free ones like Gmail.

However, you should note that free SMTP servers has its limitations e.g. Gmail limits the number of emails that you can send in a day and is less flexible than premium ones.

But what if you wanted premium features and have budget constraints? Perhaps you have just started a new business and are in the midst of building your email list. Or perhaps you are a small online store with a small capital? Well, the good news is that there are premium SMTP servers who offer full features services for FREE!

Two good examples are Mandrill and Mailgun. Both are cloud-based and can be used for sending and tracking emails sent from the Thunder Mailer mass emailer program.



Mandrill is a SMTP service offered by MailChimp. Just like other SMTP services, Mandrill helps you deliver your emails that are routed through them. It comes with a lot of features such as email tracking and reporting.

Another nice thing about Mandrill is that you don’t have to be a MailChimp account owner in order to use its services. This means that you can easily integrate Mandrill with Thunder Mailer. All you have to do is sign up on their website and you are good to send emails immediately through their SMTP servers.

Is Mandrill really free?

Yes, Mandrill has a free plan where you get to send 12,000 emails for free per month. You will also have access to all their features.

After the first 12,000 emails, subsequent emails are charged based on a pay-as-you-go basis i.e.

– $0.20/thousand for the next 1 million emails;
– $0.15/thousand for the following 5 million emails and
– $0.10/thousand for the remaining emails in the same month.

In other words, you will only pay for what you send. Sure, it is not entirely free but if you think about it, you will find that you are getting a great deal. By the time you have more than 12,000 emails (in a month), your business would have picked up and the business would be generating some income already. And don’t forget that you can still have free access to all Mandrill’s features when you are sending less than 12,000 emails per month!

Mandrill features

  • User-friendly

    Some SMTP servers are more complicated and seemed to be designed for application developers. But not Mandrill. It is straight-forward and simple to understand even for non-IT savvy users. This service is developed by the same team behind MailChimp and thus, you can expect the same level of user-friendliness!

  • Dashboard

    Their dashboard is easy to navigate and all important details (like statistics) are neatly arranged for easy access.

  • Deliverability

    As a marketer, it is important for you to be able to monitor your email campaigns. Mandrill provides reputation scores to its users and thus, allows you to keep an eye over how well your campaigns are performing.

  • Managing unsubscribes

    If you wish to insert an unsubscribe link in your emails, Mandrill provides a merge tag which you can readily use. Unsubscriptions (as well as bounced emails) are processed automatically.

  • Tracking

    Mandrill helps you to track your email campaigns and optimize them for better results.

  • Support

    So far, I have no major issues with Mandrill but the few times that I have contacted their support team, I receive professional response and immediate actions. It was very reassuring.



An alternative SMTP Server which we like is Mailgun. This popular SMTP service offers quite a lot of features. It also delivers emails fast and with a very good deliver-ability rate (emails will end up in your recipients inboxes rather than the spam folders).

Is Mailgun free?

Like Mandrill. Mailgun’s pricing is also based on volume rather than features. Yes, there is also a free plan.

You can send up to 10,000 emails for free every month. Though the number of free emails is less than Mandrill, it is still a very good offer. If you go beyond 10,000 emails, you will be charged based on the number of emails:

– $0.00050 for next 500,000 emails;
– $0.00035 for next 1,000,000 emails;
– $0.00015 for next 5,000,000 emails and
– $0.00010 for additional emails in that month

Mailgun features

  • Multiple domains

    Mailgun lets you create multiple domains and you can choose the domain you want to send the emails from.

  • Tracking

    Like most other leading SMTP server providers, Mailgun too offers tracking services where you can use to track and manage your email campaigns i.e. monitor their performance based on open and click rates.

  • Deliverability

    Mailgun has incorporated cool features to help you maintain a better deliverability rate. For example, it automatically queue your emails where necessary to reduce the possibility of triggering anti-spamtools.

  • User-friendly

    Details can be easily found from the dashboard. Whether you want information regarding your campaigns or your mailing lists or the number of unsubscribes, they are neatly categorized in related tabs.

Mandrill vs Mailgun

So, how is Mandrill compared to Mailgun? Since both have almost similar features, let’s check out their affordability.

Free SMTP server Mandrill

It will cost a little more if you were to send using Mailgun. Each of them has a pricing calculator on their pricing page and you can use it to gauge how much you would need to fork out if you exceed the free emails limit. For an example, sending 500,000 emails per month costs $245 at Mailgun while Mandrill charges only $97.60 (after taking into account the free emails in both cases). A dedicated IP costs $59 at Mailgun and $29.95 at Mandrill.

  • Less than 10,000 emails

    If you have less than 10,000 emails to be sent every month, you can use either of them for free. You do not need to pay any monthly fees!

  • More than 12,000 emails

    If you are sending more than 12,000 emails per month, you can still take advantage of the free accounts by sending emails via both these SMTP servers. This would give you a combination of up to 22,000 free emails per month (10,000 from Mailgun and 12,000 from Mandrill).

    That’s the great thing about using Thunder Mailer, since you can use it with different SMTP servers!

When the number of emails gets beyond 22,000, you can then decide which SMTP server to use. Since you won’t have to sign long-term contracts with either of these companies, you can easily switch from one to another.


The ability to reach a vast number of people is essential in businesses today. The faster and more accurate the information reaches the receiver, the better. Many businesses and even bloggers have opted to communicate with their customers through emails, for many purposes such as promotional emails, newsletters and even notifications. Emailing is instantaneous and easy to do. However, as email volume increases, management and deliverability may become a problem. That’s why many turn to bulk email marketing software like Thunder Mailer.

In order to send huge amount of emails quickly and efficiently, you will need the service of an SMTP server and there are many such services to choose from. Mandrill and Mailgun are just two such services. But they are worth looking into. They are feature-packed and reliable and on top of that, even offer free email delivery plans (albeit with a limited number of emails).

Both these SMTP servers integrate easily with Thunder Mailer and you can immediately send emails once you have added the settings in Thunder Mailer’s “Connection Settings” window. If you are looking for a free SMTP server to send your emails from, do check out Mandrill and Mailgun.

2 responses on “How to send bulk emails for free

  1. Damon Za says:

    Bulk email service is the best way for reaching a large number of people, and cost effectively also.

  2. Budy K says:

    Im using Mailgun….the the API is abit complicated