AWS News Blog

Mailbox Simulator for the Amazon Simple Email Service

Our customers have found Amazon SES to be straightforward to use, powerful, and cost effective. They are making heavy use of it!

Amazon Simple Email Service (Amazon SES) greatly simplifies the task of sending bulk or transactional emails. You can send the same email to millions of recipients within minutes. Or, you can send personalized or customized emails to one person at a time. Regardless of the option that you choose, Amazon SES will do its best to maintain high deliverability for your messages.

When you build your email sending application, you probably want to test the way it handles common scenarios like bounces and complaints. However, Amazon SES monitors the number of bounces and complaints generated by the emails that you send, and uses this information to control your sending quota. Therefore, until now, building such an application hasn’t been easy. You would probably find yourself creating external test addresses and perhaps even generating manual bounces. Unfortunately, this test data and test activity counted toward your sending quota and had the potential to affect your reputation.

Today we are introducing the Amazon SES Mailbox Simulator to allow you to test your application without affecting your sending quota or the bounce and complaint metrics that drive it. You can now send test emails to specific email addresses hosted by the mailbox simulator. Each address has a specific, defined response. You can send email to these new addresses even if you are still running in the Amazon SES sandbox.

With this new facility, you can now make sure that your application responds as intended in each scenario. Here’s what we have for you:

Mail sent to will be treated as delivered successfully. You won’t receive any confirmation other than the usual return value from SendEmail or SendRawEmail.

Mail sent to will be rejected with an SMTP 550 (“Unknown User”) response code. Amazon SES will send you a bounce notification by email or by SNS notification, depending on how you have it configured. The mailbox simulator’s address will not be blacklisted as would normally occur in the event of a hard bounce.

Mail sent to will be treated as delivered successfully. In addition, the mailbox simulator will reply with an out-of-the-office (OOTO) message to Amazon SES, which will be forwarded to your application in the usual way (email or SNS notification).

Mail sent to will simulate the case in which the recipient clicks Mark as Spam within their email application and the ISP sends a complaint response to Amazon SES. Amazon SES forwards you the complaint notification by email or by SNS notification, depending on your configuration.

Mail sent to will cause Amazon SES to block the send attempt and return a MessageRejected error containing an “Address Blacklisted” error message.

Mail sent to the mailbox simulator will be limited by your maximum send rate, but it wont count toward your sending quota or affect your deliverability metrics. You will be billed at the usual rate for each email except for those that generate the “Address Blacklisted” error message.

— Jeff;

PS – Learn more about Amazon SES in this video interview with Chris Wheeler, Product Manager:

Jeff Barr

Jeff Barr

Jeff Barr is Chief Evangelist for AWS. He started this blog in 2004 and has been writing posts just about non-stop ever since.