Today I’d like to publicly introduce my first ever premium extension, MageSend – simple, reliable email sending for Magento, tightly integrated with Amazon’s SES email service. I have applied my experiences supporting the popular SMTP Pro extension to remove as many pain points, and streamline the setup as much as possible. I have also taken advantage of the API functionality provided by Amazon SES to give store owners excellent insight into their email sending performance.
Background and Motivation
Over four years ago I released my first ever email extension for Magento, the purpose was super-simple transactional email sending via Google Apps and (later) SMTP for Magento stores.
In that time I have been supporting SMTP based email sending, and Google Apps as an email service (or other ESP’s) I have become increasingly frustrated with how brittle it is as a solution. There are several weaknesses with that approach that cause issues.
1) SMTP requires outbound connectivity on special ports. Many hosts block or tamper with this ability because it’s commonly used by spammers to send their emails.
2) It requires a robust SMTP service (which in the past had been Google Apps) or otherwise email deliverability suffers as your email IP’s have no ‘trust’ on the internet. Increasingly I have been getting reports of Google blocking or limiting emails, or requiring CAPTCHA solving to ensure continued email delivery.
Some users try to send their store transactional emails form the host provided email service, or worse, their company exchange server. Both options often lead to terrible deliverability.
3) There’s no facility for feedback with Google’s SMTP service (and many others) – so once an email is sent, you really have no idea if it arrived, or if there were problems. Amazon’s SES service provides web hook based feedback through their SNS notification service – something I was able to utilise in my new extension.
So with those limitations in mind, I’ve written from scratch a new email sending extension that seeks to address all of the common problems I see user’s facing when using SMTP based sending. In addition to the SMTP issues, the general Magento pains such as extension clashes have also been dealt with. I have also taken advantage of the API’s provided by Amazon SES to give a clear picture of email sending to store owners and admins through the Magento admin panel.
You can read all about the extension on the product page, but in this post I’d like to run through the top features of my new extension in a little detail.
Self testing, Clash detecting
One of my favorite features of SMTP Pro has been the self test – it gives store owners and admins and easy way to quickly test that their emails are working, and it gives me a way to quickly identify what’s not working and why. The new self test, does everything that the SMTP Pro self test does, and more – offering specific solutions to common errors (such as non-verified emails) and detecting Magento extension clashes, and which classes are at fault.
Shopping on the internet is hard, and try-as-you-might to help, some users just struggle with the internet, how often have wee seen Jenny (email@example.com), Bob (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Dave (email@example.com) buy something on the internet and then complain that they never received confirmation of their order? With MageSend you can track email bounces right from the Magento Admin, so your support team can monitor email issues, and take steps to help customers early, stopping the support requests before they happen.
The error logging comes with it’s own section in the setup guide and a convenient test button to ensure the Amazon SNS functionality is working.
Stats in the Magento Admin Panel
The Amazon SES service provide a way to fetch recent email send, bounce and error stats. MageSend fetches that data and presents a table and graph of the results in the Magento Admin panel. Store admin’s can monitor their error rates and watch for any sort of problems without logging in to the Amazon SES console (and without needing credentials for console access).
Easy to follow, complete setup guide
There’s a lot to sending a good email, and even more to making sure it gets delivered. The setup guide walks users through (with screenshots) the entire setup process, starting with Amazon SES, Amazon IAM account security, installation via FTP or SSH, testing and configuration. The guide also covers extra setup steps such as Amazon SNS and DKIM/SPF DNS records.
Coded for integration
Email sending, or manipulating is a key ara of customisation in Magento. One of the common issues I see users face is integration of more than one email customisation. The extension uses recently adopted event-based best practices from the Magento core code to ensure easy integration for other email sending changes. Pre and Post-send events pass all the required elements so that the email, transport or template can be modified by other extensions without class re-writes being required.
My Email Guarantee
In four years supporting SMTP Pro, I have seen it all when it comes to email problems, this extension will simplify or alleviate all of the common problems I have dealt with. I’m confident that any user who purchases this extension and follows the clear, step by step setup guide will have their store emails up and running – if not, I promise a complete refund. If you’re not happy with the extension, you get your money back, no questions asked.
If you’re a non-technical user, I can offer a full professional installation, everything from Amazon SES setup to DKIM and SPF DNS record settings for $250. Please email me on firstname.lastname@example.org to book this service.
If you want a reliable, simple solution for sending emails from Magento, please take a look at MageSend, the best way to send emails for Magento.