Handling Incoming Email With Your Web Application

Handling Incoming Email With Your Web Application

This morning I was looking for a way to handle incoming email in a web application (similar to the way Highrise and Evernote let you email things to a special email address and have them put into their system). There are a number of ways to do this via procmail, or by using something to connect to your mail server using POP or IMAP and reading emails, but I was looking for a way to do this without having to host my own email infrastructure. Ideally, I want something like Twiio, that will receive the email and then do an HTTP POST to the endpoint of my choosing.

Here’s what I found.

CloudMailIn

Still in beta (and free while it is), this looks robust. It’s also available as a Heroku addon, if that’s how you roll.

(A tip of the hat to @peterc for pointing me to this one)

APInbox

Looks similar to CloudMailIn, though not in beta. There’s a free plan for up to 100 emails a day, and then it goes up from there. Their site was down when I first went to it this morning, which makes me a tad nervous, but that may well be an isolated thing.

SendGrid

SendGrid is a heavy hitter in the email space, mostly doing outbound delivery. They do however have a Parse API that seems to perform the same function as the other two services. I’m not sure on the pricing here, their basic plan is $9.95 per month for 10,000 emails, but I’m not sure if that includes incoming or not. UPDATE: I heard from SendGrid. Their plans cover both incoming and outgoing, so for the in the case of the $9.95 plan, it could be a mix of both, up to 10,000

(thanks to Twilio’s @johnsheehan for the pointer to SendGrid)

I haven’t used any of these yet, so I can’t make an endorsement of one over the other, but I thought I’d post it here in case anyone else is looking for this kind of provider. If you have experience with any of these, please comment with your opinion.

Note that I would advise anyone who is not experienced with this to hire a professional webmaster who is skilled at handling mailing apps and web apps as this process can be quite complicated, and the last thing you want to do is mess this up!

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