We recently announced some changes to SparkPost pricing plans for our email delivery service. We’ve been absolutely thrilled with the response—it shows we’ve gotten the pricing model right.
Still, I know any change is sometimes confusing. So, I thought it might help to round up some some answers to questions I’ve been seeing on Twitter and in the SparkPost developer community Slack channel.
What are my pricing plan options for using SparkPost?
SparkPost offers several tiers of service, including a starter plan that offers 100,000 free emails per month. We also offer paid service plans for volumes above 100,000 messages per month or for senders who require customized services. Our pricing page has the details.
Are there any limitations to the SparkPost Free plan?
Customers who are subscribed to the SparkPost Free plan are capped at 100,000 emails per month and do not have access to a dedicated IP address. To send more than 100,000 emails per month, or to add the option of a dedicated IP address, you’ll need to upgrade to a paid sending package.
What if I exceed the monthly sending limit in my plan?
For paid subscribers, an overage fee will be incurred for each email that exceeds the sending volume monthly limit as stated on our pricing page and in your service agreement. If you know you are going to exceed your limit prior to sending, simply go to the settings tab in the control panel and choose “Upgrade” to select the new plan that best meets your increased sending volume needs.
Note that SparkPost Free customers are capped at 100,000 messages per month. To send more than 100,000 emails per month, you’ll need to upgrade to a paid sending package. Also, if you exceed the 100k free tier, SparkPost will stop accepting and return an error. Those messages are not queued. We provide a usage report in the UI so you can keep an eye on it.
Is the SparkPost Free plan a temporary promotion?
No. We’re in this for the long haul! We think the SparkPost Free plan is a win-win for our customers and for us. In fact, our CEO Philip Merrick has committed to honoring the free plan for any customer enrolled at that tier, for the life of that account.
Why is SparkPost offering such a generous free tier of service?
The short answer is that we love developers. We want to make is as easy as possible for up-and-coming businesses to get started with our service. Moreover, high-performance email delivery is core to SparkPost’s DNA. We know how to do it efficiently and at a scale no one else can match. Our CTO Alec Peterson recently explained how we can do it, and why SparkPost is uniquely suited to offer this level of free service.
What is SparkPost Elite?
SparkPost Elite gives the most demanding senders all the power of the SparkPost cloud email service in a dedicated environment with white-glove service and guaranteed peak sending rates. It also adds mobile text messaging or push notifications to the mix to extend your reach beyond email. If you send more than 2 million messages per month or have other specialized needs, please contact us to learn more.
I’m an existing SparkPost customer. Will my current plan change?
If you had been enrolled in an earlier version of SparkPost’s free service plan, your account automatically has been upgraded to the increased sending limits of SparkPost Free. If you are a customer on any of our paid tiers of service and wish to change to any of our current plans, please use the control panel in the SparkPost web app or contact SparkPost’s customer service team for assistance.
What are my options if I use the SparkPost Heroku email add-on?
Heroku developers can get the same, great 100,000 free emails per month as direct customers of our SparkPost Free plan. We’ve also added additional pricing tiers just for Heroku developers. You can learn more about the SparkPost Heroku email add-on in the Heroku Elements marketplace.
Who can I contact for more information?
P.S. Our pricing page gives answers to even more questions about account options and billing procedures.
Did I miss something or a question you’ve been wanting answered? Please let me know. I’d love to hear from you!
Whether you take us up on our 100K free emails per month plan, or a paid level of service, we’d really like to have you as a customer. Our entire SparkPost team is excited to help you to build something awesome with email!
As our CTO Alec Peterson wrote on the blog last week, this is an interesting time in the transactional ESP market. Mandrill (operated by MailChimp) recently announced that they were eliminating their stand-alone offering and instead will be incorporated as an add-on feature of MailChimp’s paid, flagship email marketing service.
We have a lot of respect for MailChimp. They’re a great company, and we admire the work they do making full-service email marketing accessible to all kinds of customers. We also understand what their CEO said in his announcement letter about a “fit” issue with the Mandrill product. Transactional email isn’t the business they’re in.
This sort of change always is a hard decision for a company to make. Understanding that not all of Mandrill’s customers have a need for the full-service offering, MailChimp is recommending SparkPost as a Mandrill alternative for developers looking for a transactional email provider.
In fact, SparkPost announced last week a previously-planned change to our pricing structure, notably increasing our free tier to 100,000 free emails per month (as well as incredibly cost-effective rates for higher message volumes). I’m really excited about this pricing model. It’s a win for our customers, and it’s a win for our business model.
These pricing plans mean that SparkPost is matching (and even beating) the rates Mandrill customers have been paying. That’s really good news. But I want to make a further commitment to you today: should the terms of our free tier of pricing ever change in the future, I promise we will nevertheless honor it for any customer currently enrolled at that tier, for the life of that account.
And for anyone who wonders if it’s really possible for SparkPost to keep this promise, the answer, unequivocally, is yes. In his post last week, Alec explained why. I agree with his analysis one-hundred percent.
Giving developers the tools to do great things with transactional email is hard-wired in our DNA. It’s who we are, and our love for developers runs deep—most of us here are developers (or in my case, former developers) ourselves! I’m proud of how our team at SparkPost has risen to the occasion to support the Mandrill developer community, and I’m thrilled we’ve also gotten the pricing part of that right.
Whether you take us up on our 100K free emails per month plan, or a paid level of service, we’d really like to have you as a customer. I look forward to working together to build something awesome.
Hi. I’m Alec Peterson, the CTO at SparkPost. I’ve been building large-scale email infrastructure for a long time—in fact, I’ve been a member of the leadership team here for 10 years. I love this business, and I know how important getting it right is to our customers, including the developers who do such amazing work with our service.
The last few days have been interesting ones in the transactional ESP market. Mandrill (operated by MailChimp) announced that they were making major changes to their offering, including ending their free tier. Shortly afterwards, SparkPost announced a previously-planned change to our pricing structure, notably increasing our free tier to 100k free emails per month.
While we’ve been absolutely thrilled with the response, we did hear from a couple folks who questioned whether it’s really possible for SparkPost to sustainably offer such a significant free tier. The answer, unequivocally, is yes. I’d like to provide a few details on why we can do it, and why SparkPost is uniquely suited to offer this level of free service.
There are a few things that are important to understand about how we do things at SparkPost. Our history is not only in email infrastructure, but also in delivering the highest performance (meaning most efficient) email infrastructure on the planet. That’s not hyperbole. Before we were SparkPost, we were (and, in fact, still are) Message Systems, the leader in on-premises email infrastructure.
Our customers are the most demanding high-volume senders on the planet. We have several on-premises customers who individually send more email than the entire transactional ESP market combined, and they do so using the Momentum platform on just a couple dozen of servers. To service those customers, we’ve had to push the envelope in terms of performance for the entire existence of our company. In other words, building and optimizing email infrastructure that outperforms anything else on the planet is something that we always have done as an organization. And we’re really good at it.
The fact that our cloud infrastructure is built around the de-facto standard for high-performance email is an undeniably powerful position to be in, making all sorts of things possible. Like, for example, offering 100k emails per month for free.
Our deep experience, however, is only part of the story. We’ve also built a remarkable cloud architecture for our service. When we architected SparkPost, we made a strategic decision to build it upon cloud-based, fully virtualized infrastructure, notably Amazon Web Services (AWS). By leveraging AWS, we’re able to forego worrying about managing our own physical plant with buildings, cages, man-traps, security guards, power, generators, UPSs, racks, servers, spare parts, networks, switches and various transit providers. You get the picture. But just as importantly, we have virtually instantaneous access to as much burst capacity as we could ever need—whenever we need it. And what’s more, when we aren’t sending bursting traffic, that elastic capacity goes away and we stop paying for it. That’s the best of both worlds: virtually unlimited capacity, combined with a highly efficient cost model.
Of course, even the most efficient business can’t run without revenue. And while the free plan we just introduced is a great fit for some senders, we also know that for businesses who need a dedicated IP address, or who need to burst beyond 100k/month, one of our paid service tiers is a better solution. In fact, when we crunch the numbers, our conversion percentages and analysis of customer volume overall tell us that we’re making a really sound business decision. Far from being a threat to our business, the 100k/month free plan is, in fact, a business driver that combines a great long-term option for some senders with a fantastic upgrade path for customers looking to grow their email presence even further.
By the way, I want to also point out that we are not in the business of selling data, and do not ever plan to be. We take privacy really seriously. Respecting it is one of our core principles. We understand that a natural reaction to a generous freemium offer is to assume the provider is selling data to outside parties. However, that’s not the case here, and you have our commitment we will not do this. Not now, not ever.
Our business at SparkPost is email infrastructure. We think MailChimp is a great company, and we have a ton of respect for them and the work they do. We also understand and believe what their CEO said in their announcement letter about a “fit” issue with the Mandrill product. Transactional email isn’t the business they’re in. But it’s the fundamental core of our business, and we’re here for the long haul.
Check us out! Whether you take us up on the 100k free emails per month plan, or a paid plan, we’d really like to have you. Our love for developers runs deep. I think you’ll be impressed.