Sendy - a cheap and comfortable solution using PHP / AWS SES / MySQL

Sending a lot of e-mails in short time is a headache for most of the business owners, fighting SPAM, monitoring delivery, managing mailing lists and last but most important factor - cost of this process, is it worth paying monthly or per e-mail fees if you don't sell anything in the mail? I run a website with 16 000 users and every time I send newsletter, it is non-commercial, but I found a solution to low cost sending of commercial and non-commercial.

Cost $150 vs less than $2, a huge difference

Using Sendy in combination with Amazon AWS SES (Simple Email Service) and PHP/MySQL enabled server or hosting. For $59 (in y.2013) one time fee, good e-mail support (I had a chance to try) and with almost zero cost of sending e-mails from Amazon SES ($0.1 / 1000 e-mails), my campaign now costs me just $1.7 when actually sent instead of $150 / month I paid to MailChimp. 

How it works

I will start with pricing and costs, it is the most important aspect, then look for requirements and features.

Pricing and real cost of real customer

One time fee to authors of Sendy, $59, you will get updates until next major version upgrade. I already went through on update and it was easy with straight forward instructions. You have to pay for hosting, but it works fine on the cheapest hosting and you may use the existing on, that hosts your website. Then you pay to Amazon for using Amazon SES, it is a very transparent tool, Sendy shows exactly how many mails were send, you may verify it afterwards with some delay (in hours) on Amazon AWS Management Console, go to My Account > Account Activity and select a statement period, under that go to details and see under Amazon Siple Email Service 

Amazon Simple Email Service » $1.61
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Cost per recipient of SendEmail or SendRawEmail - 16,001 Count - $1.60
Cost per recipient of SendEmail or SendRawEmail sent to the Mailbox Simulator - 2 Count - $0.01
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Total $ 1.67 + around $0.33 VAT to be collected. 

I think, this is self explanatory, there are no other costs to this e-mailing system.

Requirements - server vs. hosting, demands on resources

You need an Apache server running a Unix like operating system (ex. Ubuntu) with PHP & MySQL support. I tried myself on a regular hosting company, they had Debian, worked fine, i tried on AWS EC2 t1.micro free tier instance, worked just fine, now I run one on large instance on Amazon and one in another location on dedicated server, no problem at all, but check your it with your hosting company first, it is very easy now to replace them if they do not support it, on the Sendy forum I read that GoDaddy works too. Resources and speed depend on how fast is your server, how well did you set up using InnoDB database, because with good settings, it may all reside in RAM. My 16 000 users, imported multiple times, with few other smaller mailing lists were not a problem even on a shared hosting for $4 a month, if you have more than hundred thousand e-mails, it may be a little bit slower, because you import stuf through .cvs files, I personally use my own unsubscribe links, so I have to import the list  every time I use it, but Sendy supports it's own unsubscribe, so If you have a static user base, you do not have to do this more than once.

Hosted solutions

Check out flyCampaign.com service, it uses Amazon SES and Sendy to send marketing e-mails, hosting, server setup and updates are done for you automatically.