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Mailgun Review: Is It the Best Transactional Email Service?

June 29, 2023
Irina Maltseva

In the rapidly changing world, businesses need reliable and efficient solutions for processing transactional emails. 

Mailgun is a powerful email service created by Rackspace, a San Antonio-based company. Many users love its ability to send, receive, and track emails easily. 

However, if you still have doubts about choosing a tool for transactional emails, stay tuned. In this review, we will delve into product functionality and the software. 

What is Mailgun?

Mailgun is an email SaaS designed specifically for software developers. Its main goal is to ease the rapid sending of mass emails while increasing engagement. 

Mailgun's functionality is based on the SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) service and RESTful API. It provides companies with efficient email management and campaign optimization capabilities.

Mailgun's user-friendly interface makes it accessible to both technical and non-technical users. And features like email parsing and send time optimization can help companies with automation and boost the effectiveness of their email campaigns.

It's also worth mentioning Mailgun's seamless integration capabilities. This allows the tool to be easily integrated into existing systems without disrupting workflow.

Mailgun review: Summary

  • Offers more than 65 API integrations
  • User-friendly UI
  • Live chat with support is limited for free, and Foundation plan users
  • Easy and convenient template editor
  • Reliable email delivery and analytics

How does Mailgun work? simplifies the process of sending and managing emails for businesses and developers. Users can integrate Mailgun into their applications using SMTP or RESTful API. These integration options ensure seamless contact between the user's system and the platform.

Once integrated, users gain access to various features. Companies can automate email processes, enhance recipient experience, and optimize their campaigns using them. 

Robust infrastructure, advanced features, and a user-friendly interface made Mailgun valuable for effective email communication.

Mailgun features

Easy SMTP integration and RESTful API

Mailgun provides users with two powerful options for integrating email functions into third-party applications: SMTP and API. Both methods play an important role in email development and deployment.

Easy SMTP integration and RESTful API

Mailgun's SMTP provides a straightforward approach to sending emails, similar to traditional email providers. SMTP is a reliable option for basic email-sending needs and is compatible with many email clients and applications. This helps you bypass traditional email providers' limitations and obstacles. 

SMTP may be easier, but the API platforms are much more efficient. Mailgun's API supports programming languages like Ruby, Java, Python, PHP, and C#, making initiating email sending from your app effortless. 

Mailgun provides instructions for starting with it, no matter your chosen method. 

Mailgun instructions for smtp

Email parsing

Mailgun Parsing helps extract specific information from an email's headers, subject lines, body, or attachments. This makes automating tasks easier and increases the efficiency of processing incoming messages.

You can configure parsing rules based on various criteria. For example, the recipient's address, subject line keywords, or specific patterns in the email content.

When an email matches the defined parsing rules, Mailgun extracts the necessary data and makes it available for further processing. You can access the parsed data through the Mailgun API or view it in the application dashboard.

Deliverability services

With Mailgun services, you can optimize your email deliverability and improve your sender reputation. The platform provides features such as dedicated IP addresses, email verification, bounce management, and spam complaint handling.

Email verification API

The feature of email validation right in the app makes Mailgun really convenient.

Using the Email Verification API, users can validate email addresses in real-time. This ensures that messages reach the intended recipients and reduces bounce rates. The API performs comprehensive checks, verifying email address format, existence, and deliverability.

I liked that I could upload a single email or an entire list in CVC file format. This saves me a lot of time and reduces the risk of sending emails on invalid emails.

Send time optimization

Another impressive feature that I liked was the Send Time Optimization. It allows you to determine the best time to send emails to your recipients, which results in higher engagement and better response rates.

Mailgun analyzes recipient behavior and interest to determine the most appropriate email delivery time. It also considers recipients' time zones, open rates, and click-through rates.

This feature eliminates the need to schedule emails and improves email performance. By sending emails at the right time, you increase the chances that recipients will open them and engage with your content.

Email testing tool

The email testing tool is a valuable feature that allows you to test your email content and ensure its optimal delivery and appearance. This tool lets you view how your emails appear across different email clients and devices. 

Also, the email testing tool provides spam filter testing, allowing you to assess how likely your emails will be marked as spam. By simulating the behavior of various spam filters, you can identify potential red flags and make necessary adjustments to improve email deliverability.

Email templates builder

Mailgun allows you to build an email template in the app. You can do it in two ways: through the HTML editor or the drag-and-drop editor. 

Both options come with pre-made basic templates that you can fill with content or modify to suit your purposes.

Email templates builder

I enjoyed working with the drag-and-drop editor. The functionality is very intuitive and not overloaded with details.

mailgun drag-and-drop editor

Transactional emails in Mailgun

Transactional emails are vital for effective business-to-customer communication. In Mailgun, they are triggered by specific user actions like registrations, password resets, order confirmations, and shipping notifications. Unlike promotional emails, transactional emails provide essential updates relevant to user interactions.

Sending transactional emails through Mailgun has benefits, including improving your sending reputation. Email service providers monitor sender's reputation to determine email delivery. Consistently sending relevant transactional emails establishes a positive reputation, increasing inbox delivery rates.

Mailgun integrations

Mailgun offers a wide range of integrations with various categories of services. Among them are CRM, platforms, e-commerce, marketing, CMS, and contact management. Mailgun's integrations are built through Zapier, which allows you to connect the platform with over 65 popular tools like Asana, Airtable, Amazon, and more.

Mailgun integrations

I was surprised by how simple the integration process is. You need to choose the integration from the available options and select its purpose. 

mailgun integration process

If the suggested integrations are insufficient, Mailgun also offers a webhook feature. Mailgun webhooks offer flexibility and customization options.

Mailgun pricing plans

Mailgun offers flexible pricing plans to meet the diverse needs of businesses and developers. The pricing structure is designed to give users a choice depending on their email volume and specific requirements. 

To get acquainted with the service, Mailgun offers a one-month free plan that allows users to learn and test basic features. This plan includes 5,000 free emails. All extra emails start at $1.00 per 1,000 emails.

Mailgun pricing plans

In addition, Mailgun offers 3 tariffs: Foundation, Scale, and Custom.

The Foundation plan offers 50,000 emails for $35. This plan provides access to basic features such as reliable email delivery, analytics, and basic support. With the Scale tariff, you receive more email volume (100,000 instead of 50,000), dedicated IP addresses, and advanced support.

As well, organizations can use the customization option to adapt their plan. In addition to the personalized email and verification volume, users of Custom plans receive priority support, comprehensive onboarding, and early access to new features and products.

Mailgun customer support

If it's important for you to be in touch with a company representative, Mailgun is not the right service for you. At least if you're not a premium customer. 

I tested the free version of Mailgun so that I couldn't access a real-time chat or a phone call with the support team. Instead, the company offered to check out the Help Center to solve problems on my own. 

Mailgun customer support

The Help Center itself is divided into categories: API Issues, Deliverability, Email Verifications, etc. Each category contains several articles that answer common questions. The information covers the issue thoroughly, which may be enough to solve your problem.

Mailgun customer support

During the test, I faced a complex problem. A ticket was the only way to contact the support team. By the way, this option is available for users of any tariff plan.  

The company notes that support responds to them within 24 hours. Surprisingly, Mailgun support answered me in 5 minutes. However, the response time increased, and I had to wait more than a day to fix my issue.

Mailgun help center

Mailgun alternatives and competitors

While Mailgun offers a robust set of features and capabilities, it's always a good idea to explore other platforms. This will help ensure you find the one that best suits your needs.

In this section, we'll look at some notable alternatives and competitors to Mailgun. Once you understand the options available, you can make an informed decision that will meet your needs.

Mailgun vs. SendGrid

Mailgun and SendGrid are two popular email delivery services. Although they share many features, there are significant differences between them.

Mailgun is focused on developers, emphasizing a powerful API and SMTP integration. It offers extensive customization options and advanced features like email parsing and routing. 

SendGrid, on the other hand, has functionality for both transactional and marketing emails. Its interface offers many tools, such as templates, campaign management, and contact segmentation. 

Comparing the functionality of Mailgun and SendGrid, it's impossible not to notice the lack of a bulk email verification feature in the second service. 

SendGrid's pricing is mostly based on the number of contacts in the mailing list. While Mailgun's pricing structure is focused on the number of emails sent and the features desired.

Both services have robust infrastructure and good delivery speeds. So your decision depends on your unique needs and preferences. Mailgun might be more suitable for developer flexibility and advanced customization options. However, if you're looking for a convenient interface and comprehensive marketing tools, SendGrid is a better fit. 

Mailgun vs. Mailchimp

It is complicated to compare MailChimp and Mailgun. After all, these services have a completely different purpose. MailChimp is mainly categorized as an "email marketing" solution. Meanwhile, Mailgun is considered the best choice for "transactional email" needs.

MailChimp focuses on simplifying the creation and distribution of email campaigns. It offers intuitive tools for creating visually appealing email campaigns and seamlessly integrating various social networks. It acts as an all-in-one publishing platform that meets your email marketing needs.

In contrast, Mailgun is explicitly built for developers. It provides email APIs that make sending, receiving, tracking, and storing emails easy. With features such as optimized queue management, scheduled delivery, and MIME parsing, Mailgun ensures reliable and efficient delivery of transactional emails.

To sum up, MailChimp does a great job of simplifying email marketing campaigns and connecting with a broad audience. Mailgun provides developers with a reliable and efficient solution for transactional email campaigns.

Related: ConvertKit vs. Mailchimp: Only One Is The Best (See Results)

Mailgun verdict: Is it worth it?

Mailgun can be a great email service for your business, but you must consider several factors and preferences.

If you're looking for a service to handle transactional emails, Mailgun is a powerful solution for you. Its advantages are its user-friendly interface, seamless integration options, and delivery features. 

The service simplifies email management, increases engagement, and optimizes campaigns. However, if you are looking for a solution for marketing emails, Mailgun is unlikely to be helpful. 

Another disadvantage is the ability to contact support, especially for small businesses that need to resolve issues quickly. Mailgun also has the following features. 

Mailgun is a reliable and efficient solution for businesses and developers that provides easy integration, automation features, and tools to improve email efficiency and user engagement.

Have questions

How does Mailgun work?

Mailgun is a transactional email service that simplifies sending out emails. It provides the infrastructure for reliable and scalable email campaigns. Also, Mailgun ensures high deliverability rates and detailed analytics.

How to use Mailgun?

To use Mailgun, you must sign up for an account. Afterward, you can integrate Mailgun into your app using the API or SMTP services. You can start sending emails after setting up your domain and configuring the necessary email settings. 

Is Mailgun safe to use?

Yes, Mailgun is safe to use. It implements various security measures to protect user data and ensure email deliverability. Mailgun incorporates industry-standard encryption protocols and offers options for secure email transmission. It maintains a robust infrastructure to safeguard user information. Additionally, Mailgun provides features like spam filtering, bounce handling, and unsubscribe management to enhance email security and compliance.

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Irina Maltseva

Irina is a Founder at ONSAAS, Growth Lead at Aura, and a SaaS marketing consultant. She helps companies to grow their revenue with SEO and inbound marketing. In her spare time, Irina entertains her cat Persie and collects airline miles.

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