I’ve just verified my SES domain and am ready to start sending and receiving email. What are some best practices and steps I can take to ensure I’m prepared to use the service?

This article assumes the following:

  1. Your SES service is in the production environment. If you’re not sure if you’re in the production environment or not, consult Moving Out of the Amazon SES Sandbox.
  2. You have a verified domain with Amazon SES.
    Note: As a best practice, ensure you have a verified domain, rather than a single email address.
  3. Your sending limits must match your quota. If you frequently approach your sending limit, request a limit increase by following the instructions at Increasing Your Amazon SES Sending Limits.

SES has features that help ensure email delivery, as well as tracking when email isn’t delivered successfully, such as custom MAIL FROM domains, Easy DKIM, and SPF Records. SES Notifications Through Amazon Simple Notification Service (SNS) can also help to track bounces, complaints, and successful deliveries.

Factors that can affect the reception of email include the reputation of the email server, the way email is addressed, and the content of the message. The content of a message can cause your email to be marked as spam, so it’s important to send high-quality email that the recipients find valuable. For more tips on sending high-quality email, see the Amazon Simple Email Service Email Sending Best Practices whitepaper.

Most email servers have rules requiring the email be delivered from verified senders. Easy DKIM and SPF Records can be used to help you build a positive reputation with the receivers of your email.

Occasionally, email servers block messages if the MAIL FROM address doesn't match the sender of the email. Using a Custom MAIL FROM Domain with Amazon SES allows you to verify a subdomain of your verified domain for use in the MAIL FROM header, which meets the requirements for some email servers of allowing sending to the address on that server.

Tracking deliveries, bounces, and email marked as spam by the recipient is important to making sure that your email is delivered successfully, and your reputation as a sender is protected. SES monitors your sending statistics, and bounce rates above 5% can result in your SES sending being suspended. It’s a best practice to set up Amazon SNS topics to track bounces, which can help you fix potential issues with your sending. For information about implementing SNS topics for your bounces, see Configuring Amazon SNS Notifications for Amazon SES.

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Published: 2016-08-17