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As we transition our TEN7Care clients to our own DigitalOcean and Kubernetes powered hosting, we’re reviewing all aspects of our infrastructure. One of those components is the email routing application used by sites. The email routing application acts as the middleman, passing along email messages from our client’s website to the email server of the recipient. Our previous hosting service relied on using Sendmail, a de facto standard for delivering email.

With Kubernetes, we have to find a different solution. Kubernetes’ highly dynamic environment makes it difficult to use a sending solution such as Sendmail. When considering using an SMTP server that the client already has access to, daily email message limits become an issue. For example, G Suite accounts have a sending limit of 500 emails per day. On a bigger site, it’s easy to burn through that limit very quickly. It also didn’t make sense for us to spend time setting up separate email accounts for each client. There’s value to offloading projects to other companies that specialize in the services required. In this case, we went shopping for a transactional email delivery service.

Our initial search produced a list of five products to consider: SendGrid, Mailgun, Amazon SES, Postmark and Mandrill. We judged on criteria like pricing, email limits, and whether we had API access. But aside from those practical considerations, we also judged by another factor, something we call “ethical read.” We believe it’s important to have a values match with companies we buy from.

The ethical read considered several factors, including reviewing their existing partners, clients and business practices. We examined their own job listings and descriptions of their company culture. A lack of a company culture statement can be a big red flag. Finally, we looked up each organization on, a site where employees may rate the companies they’ve worked for. After putting together the ethical read, we were left with two companies: Mandrill, a product owned by Mailchimp (a company we like and are familiar with), and SendGrid. SendGrid had one particular feature we really liked: the ability to have subaccounts. They are owned by Twilio, a culturally astute company we already trust. But what really sold us on SendGrid is that they were so confident about having great company culture that they linked to their Glassdoor reviews right from their own website.


We’ll be setting up the SendGrid service in the coming weeks, and we hope that our real-life relationship with SendGrid will be as good a match as we hope.