Sendgrid vs. Mailgun [2021] (Which is Better?)

Sendgrid and Mailgun at their core offer transactional mail delivery services, allowing you to replace your in-house mail servers. Mail servers are not costly or difficult to set up. However, it’s tough to keep them off blocklists and maintain all the required security and spam control features in today’s spam-conscious world.

The primary difference between Sendgrid and Mailgun is that Sendgrid offers a wider range of features and is backed by a much larger company, Twilio, that can offer even more in a combined account. Mailgun is much simpler to get running and is often better for transactional mail delivery with no spam blocks.

Read along as we compare the two services, you can make the decision yourself based on the features you want, but we’ll give a recommendation at the end to help you decide which option is best for you.

SendgridMailgun
Sending OptionsSMTP or REST APISMTP or REST API
Email to REST API ConversionYes (Limited Support)Yes
TrialLifetime free account
40,000 emails sent for 30 days
100 emails per month for life
3 Months Free
5,000 emails sent for 3 months
Per email costs after 3 months
Dedicated IPsSome plans get 1 for free
You can buy more
Some plans get 1 for free
You can buy more
Domain AuthenticationSPF, DKIM, DMARCSPF, DKIM, DMARC
IntegrationsZendesk
Salesforce
Zoom
Webex
Google Drive
Zendesk
Salesforce
Zoom
Webex
Dropbox

Sendgrid and Mailgun have very comparable standard features for transactional email usage. At this early stage in the comparison, Sendgrid takes the win because they offer a lifetime free plan, even though 100 emails is quite limited for any kind of business use.

Sendgrid vs. Mailgun: Pricing 

Sendgrid and Mailgun have similar prices and jump around with each being better than the other in different ranges. As you reach the higher level of pricing Sendgrid levels out to be the cheaper option over Mailgun. Sendgrid also has better prices for low-end plans. So overall Sendgrid is the winner in the pricing comparison.

SendgridMailgun
Free40,000 emails for 30 days
100 emails per month for life
5,000 emails for 3 months
40,000 Emails$14.95+ / Month$50+ / Month
100,000 Emails$29.95+ / Month with limited features.
$89.95+ / Month with comparable features.
$75+ / Month
300,000 Emails$249+ / Month$200+ / Month
700,000 Emails$449+ / Month$500+ / Month
2,500,00 Emails$999+ / Month$1,250+ / Month

It will be essential to review your current needs and the features you get in each package from each company. As you can see, sending 100,000 emails from Sendgrid can be as cheap as $29.95 but can go up to $89.95, and this is due to the additional features you may need, which we’ll discuss below.

Who is Sendgrid Best Suited For?

Sendgrid is for customers that want a more advanced service with many additional features for integrations and marketing. It can also handle email delivery at a much larger scale if you’re sending a huge number of marketing or transactional emails.

Sendgrid is also backed by Twilio, its parent company, which is slowly improving all services and adding more features with integrations into Twilio products natively. If you’re already using Twilio then Sendgrid may be a better option from a pricing point of view. 

Sendgrid Pros
  • Lifetime free plan
  • Multiple support channels, even for free, including email, web portal, online chat.
  • Easily integrate with multiple systems, including your own custom systems.
  • It is starting to be taken over by Twilio, which provides access to Twilio features.
Sendgrid Cons
  • The free tier gives spammers a home, and you may be caught in blocklists due to this.
  • Viewing logs is extremely difficult, and in some cases, you have to manually scroll through 100’s of pages of data even to find the log you want.
  • They are known for overloading systems, which can cause delivery delays.
  • Outdated and unintuitive user interface

Who is Mailgun Best Suited For?

Mailgun is best suited for businesses that want pure transactional emails without a large number of additional features. Mailgun offers a superior email delivery service with fewer delays and outages. It also excels at keeping IPs off blocklists and spam filters, even when sharing IPs.

If you’re looking for a simple user interface, easy integration with your system, and fantastic documentation that helps you integrate your own systems in various languages, then Mailgun is also the superior choice.

Mailgun Pros
  • Excellent spam control and trust from their IPs, so limited blocklisting.
  • Log searching is fantastic for all components in the system, incoming, outgoing, API requests.
  • Fast delivery with limited delays and outages.
  • Amazing and responsive support team, even for the free option.
Mailgun Cons
  • Features outside of transactional emails are limited.
  • More expensive than many similar services
  • Free accounts only get three months to trial the product
  • Less advanced pre-built integrations than other similar services.

Sendgrid vs. Mailgun: Features

Sendgrid and Mailgun have almost identical features, and in many cases, you can use them interchangeably with your service without any real development efforts. If you’re looking for advanced marketing features though, then Sendgrid is the clear winner in that category.

Sendgrid marketing offers a full suite of features to ensure you can design marketing campaigns. These features include the design of emails and even use prebuilt templates, automation of sending, mailing lists to add and remove and remove bounced emails, a/b testing, and advanced stats on how your campaigns are doing.

The even better feature if you have a Twilio account as well is that Sendgrid seamlessly adds voice, SMS, WhatsApp, video, and all other notification channels to your marketing campaigns with automated integration already done for you. 

Sendgrid vs. Mailgun: Reliability

Sendgrid and Mailgun both offer 99.99% uptime, but that just means their servers are available for that time and don’t guarantee delivery. From my personal experience using both Sendgrid and Mailgun for 7+ years, Mailgun has superior reliability and delivery rates. So, Mailgun wins the reliability comparison.

Both services are reliable when sending transactional emails; the most significant issue I find with Sendgrid is that they overload their systems so that busy neighbors impact you. This can result in delayed email, which causes your own customers to contact you and take up support resources, which costs you money and time.

You can also review actual reported outages from each company on their status pages:

Sendgrids Status Page

Mailguns Status Page

Because Sendgrid allows free accounts for life and no checks on people having multiple accounts, you get spammers on systems that paying customers are also using. This results in more issues with blocklists and being put on spam lists. 

Sendgrid itself can also be an issue with corporate mail systems blocking all Sendgrid IPs due to it having a large percentage of spammers using it.

Sendgrid vs. Mailgun: Customer Support

Sendgrid and Mailgun have similar support systems, offering email, phone, chat, and web portal to log tickets. Unfortunately, neither company is fast in responding to tickets, though the responses from Mailgun are more helpful and faster in resolving your issue. Mailgun is the winner for customer support.

Sendgrid takes the approach of asking for more examples and delaying a resolution to the point that logs are gone will make you go away. In contrast, Mailgun provides clear steps to resolve your issue in most situations as long as you’ve offered enough information.

One good thing with Sendgrid is that their chat support is available on most plans and can let you jump the queue to get faster details on minor issues. This level of chat support would be great if Mailgun included it as well.

Sendgrid vs. Mailgun: Verdict

Sendgrid and Mailgun have tied, so I can’t provide a clear winner in comparing these mail providers. Instead, you will need to review the features available from each company and see which is more important to you and make a decision based on that.

Luckily for most companies, switching between Sendgrid and Mailgun is simple, requiring almost no development work. So if you’re using Sendgrid and decide you want to switch to Mailgun, then it’s a simple change.

You can even use both if you want redundancy in your email delivery. Either send email simultaneously from both systems round-robin style, or you can use one as the backup for the other.

Sendgrid vs. Mailgun: Which is Better?

While the comparison between Sendgrid and Mailgun was inconclusive, if you’re looking for a transactional email provider for your application, then Mailgun has superior reliability and trust with other mail systems, so your best option will be to go with Mailgun.

Mailgun is also my personal recommendation based on actually having used both systems.

Click here to sign up for Mailgun.

If you want more advanced features, especially around marketing emails, then Sendgrid will be a better option for you. You may also find that Sendgrid is improving quickly now that Twilio is actively taking them over and combining their services and support into the Twilio systems. 

Click here to sign up for Sendgrid.