AWS Messaging & Targeting Blog

Amazon Simple Email Service adds email delivery features to revised free tier

On August 1st, 2023, Amazon Simple Email Service (SES) will launch a revised, more flexible free tier that allows AWS customers to try more SES features without commitment or cost. SES customers will be able to send or receive up to 3,000 messages each month for a year after they begin using SES, free of charge[1]. Customers can now try advanced SES capabilities, like deliverability analytics and optimization through Virtual Deliverability Manager (VDM), in the free tier. With access to these new features, customers can use the free tier to build full proof-of-concept workloads to experiment with SES’ powerful tools.

How did the SES free tier work previously?

Previously, the SES free tier only covered outbound messages sent from AWS compute services such as EC2 instances. Customers using other types of computing services for sending outbound messages had no SES free tier available. Customers could also receive up to 1,000 inbound email messages free each month. Customers evaluating SES had to pay to explore more advanced features like Virtual Deliverability Manager, a suite of tools customers use to improve delivery rates for outbound emails. This made it difficult to avoid charges when exploring advanced SES use cases, such as when building prototype email sending workloads to explore ways to monitor and optimize email delivery success and engagement rates.

New email deliverability features in the SES free tier

The revised SES free tier offers a more flexible model, introducing a shared limit which applies to pay-as-you-go message charges including inbound email messages, outbound email messages sent from any source, and email charges for Virtual Deliverability Manager. This model makes it easier to choose the right combination of features to fit your use cases when exploring SES features end-to-end without commitment. The revised free tier includes up to 3,000 messages each month for 12 months after you start using SES, which are shared across the features included in the revised SES free tier (note that Virtual Deliverability Manager counts separately from outbound messages). Here are some examples to illustrate the revised free tier (all numbers are messages per month), note the 3,000 message free tier is applied first to more expensive charges (e.g. outbound messages) in situations where multiple products are in use (inbound, outbound, Virtual Deliverability Manager):

Amazon SES free tier email sending scenarios

What can you do with the revised free tier?

The revised SES free tier makes it easier to build proof-of-concept workflows to demonstrate SES’ advanced deliverability optimization capabilities without commitment. For example, you could set up a pilot workload to show how SES can help you interpret the results of A/B testing using configuration sets. Imagine creating a few versions of a marketing email, then sending each version to a sample set of recipients to test response rates. You could track each version of the email separately in Virtual Deliverability Manager using configuration sets (essentially a campaign), then use VDM to analyze the differences in deliverability metrics for each campaign. You can look at the bounce rates, open, and click rates of each campaign to determine which version performed best before sending to all your target customers. This helps you see what SES can do, before deciding whether you want to build production workloads on SES.

What’s next?

The revised SES free tier will be active on August 1st, 2023 for all SES customers; no action is required. Customers who are using SES today will benefit from the revised free tier for one year (until August 2024). Customers who start using SES after August 1st, 2023, will benefit from the revised free tier for one year from the month they start using SES. The revised free tier replaces the current free tier, and we are not able to offer an opportunity to continue using current free tier. To start using the SES free tier, just create and verify an email address to send outbound email messages, and/or set up a receipt rule for receiving inbound email messages. To see advanced analytics with deliverability recommendations and traffic shaping through Virtual Deliverability Manager, just click on “Virtual Deliverability Manager” in the SES console navigation and follow the steps to enable it.

Get started with SES free tier at

[1] Data transfer charges for emails sent and attachment charges still apply.