Deliver Email With Amazon SES In A Rails app

Amazon SES came out last week and… you know… shiny.

Why use Amazon SES

Right now, price. At our current email rates, we would save more than $10,000 in 2011 using Amazon SES over SendGrid for Airbrake.

However, SendGrid’s a reliable entity with more features (analytics, spam reports, etc.) so even with those savings, we’re leaving SendGrid yet on Airbrake.

In the meantime, we’re trying Amazon SES on another project that is in private beta to see how well it performs in terms of deliverability, blacklisting, etc.

Open source library

A week after Amazon announced the service, there were plenty of libraries on Github for Amazon SES. I chose drewblas/aws-ses (the aws-ses gem).

Comparing SendGrid implementation in a Rails app

How to use SendGrid in a Rails app:

MyRailsApp::Application.configure do
  config.action_mailer.smtp_settings = {
    address: ENV['SMTP_ADDRESS'],
    authentication: :login,
    domain: '',
    password: ENV['SMTP_PASSWORD'],
    port: 25,
    user_name: ENV['SMTP_USERNAME']

You don’t need a special gem: it’s just SMTP.

Using the aws-ses gem in a Rails app

Amazon SES requires some HMAC‘ing and other stuff, but when using a library, it’s still pretty easy and it has the same dependencies as Rails.

Add the gem to your Gemfile:

gem 'aws-ses', '~> 0.4.4', require: 'aws/ses'

Extend ActionMailer in config/initializers/amazon_ses.rb:

ActionMailer::Base.add_delivery_method :ses, AWS::SES::Base,
  access_key_id: ENV['AMAZON_ACCESS_KEY'],
  secret_access_key: ENV['AMAZON_SECRET_KEY']

Set the delivery method in config/environments/{staging,production}.rb:

config.action_mailer.delivery_method = :ses

That’ll do it. Happy emailing!