AWS Integration: How to answer questions when moving from SES Sandbox to production

AWS (Amazon Web Services) will ask you a few questions when you want to move from their sandbox to production. Amazon has said they do this to prevent fraud and abuse of their services. Before you start sending email using AWS you need to answer a few questions they have so they are sure you aren’t going to abuse their services.

You may get stumped on how to answer these questions so we are here to help guide you and provide suggestions. Please change the wording as you see fit to fit your business.

Enable production access

Yes (as you want to stop being in the sandbox)

Mail type

Choose the type of email you will be sending most often, we have a help document on What Is Transactional email, if you are unsure which one to choose. There are many people who will say just choose transactional even if you plan to send mostly marketing emails, don’t do that as Amazon will see that and will disable your account from sending emails.

Website URL

Give the link to your website, as an example if Groundhogg was applying it would be https://www.groundhogg.io/. This allows Amazon to understand what type of emails you plan to send. This is also to see if you are using a risky domain, as risky domain’s are more likely to have their emails go into the spam filter.

How do they determine if it's a risky domain?

  • They check to see where you are hosting your website: if you use a western company that has a good reputation then it’s not as risky. Some examples would be Siteground, Cloudways, WPEngine, Kinsta, Coste, Pagely, WPX. If you choose a Russian host, or a free hosting then you are more risky.
  • They check to see what TLD (what your domain ends with) you are using: if you use a common and reputable TLD you should have no problem. Some great ones are .com, .ca, .net, .org. There are tons you should avoid at all costs, of which Spamhaus keeps an updated list.
  • How recent was the domain registered? Some spam filters automatically filter out domains registered within a certain time period. The exact time period is determined by each spam filter. If you want to use a domain just for sending emails, we would suggest applying using your current domain and buying the new domain today then in a couple of months going into AWS and changing the domain to your recently registered domain.
You can do some checks yourself to see if you have a slightly risky domain. These checks you do won't be the exact same results that AWS gets, so you may get rejected when one of the check you do says it's ok. If one of these checks says there is problems then go ahead and fix those before applying to have a better chance of getting approved. Some online checks you can do are at RiskIQ, IPQualityScore, and MXToolbox.

Use case description

How do you plan to use AWS SES? Tell them how, in as short and concise as possible. Many people suggest keeping it under 2 sentences. An example would be “Sending followup emails and website notifications to our customers who subscribe to our website”.

Additional contact addresses

If you aren’t the only person who manages the website, or the email then this is where you will put the email addresses of those other people who should be notified about this AWS account. You can enter up to 4 other email addresses here, each separated with a comma. This is an optional step, so if you are a small business or you are the only one doing all of this then don’t enter anything.

Preferred contact language

AWS gives you the option of getting communication from them in English or Japanese. You can choose whichever language you understand better.

Then agree to the AWS service terms and acceptable use policy. Before submitting for review look over all the questions and your answers as you don’t be able to change them until you get approved (or denied). If you are all satisfied with everything then submit it for review.

How long will it take before it's approved?

Amazon says they try to approve requests within 24 hours, and if they need additional information from you it may take longer.

How do I check my status?

If you are curious what the current status of your application is, you can check it yourself.

Go to the SES console at https://console.aws.amazon.com/ses/.

Under the navigation pane, go to Email Sending, then Sending Statistics. Then Your Account Details, there you can see if your account is under review.

If the production status access is enabled, then you are good to send emails.

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