Mailgun Alternatives

I’ve been self-hosting Ghost since v3 and using Mailgun for bulk emails during that time as well. When Mailgun got rid of their free plan, I was disappointed but given that my utilization remained under 100 emails per month, relatively unaffected.

However, it looks like you cannot sign up for their Flex tiers any more, and free accounts are being turned into “Foundation” accounts. I am now hit with bills for minimum $35/month even when I send zero emails. While I can switch to Ghost + Zapier and use a different mail provider, I end up losing a lot of native capabilities to manage users, memberships, and content within Ghost. There are hacky solutions available to solve this problem, but most of us move from Substack or Wordpress or Mailchimp or other solutions to Ghost because it’s an all-in-one solution.

Why can’t bulks emails be a self-selected provider the same way that transactional emails are? There are plenty of competitors that offer more reasonable pricing and services than Mailgun and it’s silly to either be locked in to Mailgun or lose a lot of value that Ghost has been building.

Raising this as a new topic given that the information provided here about pricing tiers (Why do I have to set up Mailgun for newsletters?) is incorrect. A self-hosted ghost installation now costs you $35/month if you want to send bulk emails, on top of hosting costs (already $5-15 depending on providers).


Additional Discussion:

A quick search of the forum would confirm that you can sign up to their Flex plan.

Why can’t bulks emails be a self-selected provider the same way that transactional emails are?

You already posted the link the contains the overview of how the architecture works. So the broader answer is that you can’t send newsletters with SMTP, and while it is trivial to support multiple SMTP providers, it is not at all trivial to support multiple bulk mail APIs.

A self-hosted ghost installation now costs you $35/month if you want to send bulk emails, on top of hosting costs [for ~100 emails/mo]

Or you could use Ghost(Pro) and pay $8 for both? There are lots of good reasons for self hosting Ghost, but “it’s cheaper” is generally not one of them. When you add up all the costs of running a Ghost installation that makes active use of newsletters, Pro is almost always lower in cost.

As @mjw mentioned, you can also switch to the Flex pay model on Mailgun, which is less than $35/mo.

it’s silly to either be locked in to Mailgun or lose a lot of value that Ghost has been building.

Is it though?

We have a small product team, and we have to very carefully choose where to spend our energy and resources. When deciding what to do next, we try to look at what would benefit most users, in most ways, most of the time.

Building a complex system to support multiple bulk mail API providers would take a huge amount of time, only benefit a handful of specific self hosted users sending low volume email who don’t like Mailgun, and increase the future-maintenance burden of having to support every new email feature across multiple providers. So the economics of working on it don’t make a lot of sense for the core team. Instead we try to prioritise things that hundreds/thousands of people all want, like all the things that you see on Ghost Changelog — The latest feature updates

We can’t do both. We don’t have tens of millions in VC money and hundreds of developers. So we have to choose.

It’s certainly possible for Ghost to support multiple bulk mail providers, but the most likely way that’s going to happen is via open source contributions from the community to add support for it, because they need it themselves.

The beauty of open source is that if enough people want something, they can easily get together on GitHub and make it happen themselves (or fund someone else to) - no need to wait on a company to deliver it. But if nobody is contributing something you want, then it’s likely that there isn’t enough demand or interest from the broader community to make it happen at the moment.

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