Comparing ESP/Newsletter Sender Free Tier Info

Wondering what the different restrictions and limits are on the free tier level available from various SMB-focused email service providers (ESPs) and newsletter tools? I was, too! Thankfully, "Intentionally simple email marketing and automation platform" Smaily put together a helpful chart that maps it out, and so I'm sharing it here, with their permission. (Having trouble reading the small type? Click on the graphic to enlarge it as desired.)

Here are a couple of things to keep in mind:

  • Of course, Smaily's goal is to sell you on Smaily. I don't know much about their platform and this is not an advertisement for that platform. Be sure to do your own research and testing. I will say that they were kind enough to put this chart together and allow me to share it here. I do appreciate them taking the time to pull this information together. It's got a lot of different sending platforms listed, more than a dozen. Some of these I haven't even heard of.
  • They had TinyLetter included it this list, but I've removed it, given that it's in the process of being shut down. (The timing, of course, suggests that it might have something to do with the new Yahoo/Gmail sender requirements.)

Click here to learn more about Smaily. (I've included that link at their request.)

Of most interest to me are the limits on number of subscribers/contacts and number of email messages total you can send per month. Most limit you to between 500-2000 subscribers/contacts and monthly message limits are all over the map; anywhere from 1,000 messages up to 15,000, with the only "unlimited" listed being ConvertKit.

Keep in mind, too, that your deliverability success might vary based on various characteristics of each platform -- how they manage email authentication, how they monitor for, prevent and react to abusive spam-related use of their platforms, how they might configure their infrastructure with regard to shared IPs and shared domains, and more!

If you have any corrections regarding the info above, please feel free to leave that info in comments and I'll update this post as appropriate. Similarly, if you have free tier information to share about other ESPs or newsletter sending platforms, feel free to leave that info in comments and I'll add it to this post.

Bonus (added 12/20/2023): If you're wondering what email newsletter platform is right for you, you'll want to read "Picking the Right Email Platform For Your Indie Newsletter" from Dan Oshinsky, last updated on December 16, 2023.

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