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Jon Goldberg, 05/05/2015 01:46 PM

Amazon SES for CiviCRM

Pre-requisites: DNS access

  • Have client sign up for Amazon AWS, which involves credit cards, identity verification, etc.
  • Ideally, have them click on "SES" at the AWS console, to do the phone verification.
  • Log onto AWS, select SES. Note that you only have sandbox access at this time.
  • Click on "SMTP Settings" on the left, record the server info, generate SMTP credentials and record those too.
  • Click on "Verified Senders: Domains". Click "Verify a new Domain". Enter the client's domain name; also click "Generate DKIM settings".
  • Download these credentials, don't just copy/paste from the screen, because they tend to get cut off.
  • Update the DNS with the verification credentials.
    • NOTE: This will take several hours (3-4?), even after DNS has propagated.
  • Also add your own e-mail address the the verified sender - email address list. This just requires receiving a verification email. You need this because while you're still in sandbox mode, you can only send to verified addresses. Note that if your normal mail account has greylisting, you'll probably want to use an alternate account here, like GMail.
You now have two options for SMTP setup:
  • Set up the SMTP Outbound settings in CiviCRM to use the Amazon SMTP server. If you do this, know that STARTTLS isn't supported, so prefix the SMTP server with ssl:// and select a port of 465.
  • Click "Save and Test".
  • You may not see an error on the page - so check the ConfigAndLog log for error messages if necessary.

Alternatively, set up Postfix to relay through SES. I've done this successfully but neglected to document it, but know that it's possible.


  • To test bounce processing, set up a test group made up of at least one verified address and a test contact with the e-mail address "".
  • Send a mailing to that group. You can speed up testing by manually running the "Send Scheduled Mailings" and "Fetch Bounces" scheduled jobs.
  • Don't forget to request production access when you're done!

EC2 severely throttles outgoing mail on ports 25/465/587. You need to submit a request to Amazon to have this throttle lifted. This is separate from any user-configurable firewalling! You can do that (and set up PTR) here:

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