sendy SES on t2.micro AWS EC2 – cheap as chips!

Screenshot 2016-02-10 20.41.27

I simply couldn’t get the cron jobs to run reliably in my hosting VPS at siteground – they have a very strict security model that was not compatible with sendy’s reliance on cron.

So I created the following to run my list of almost 3,000 members using sendy and Amazon SES.

Amazon EC2 Instance N. Virginia.

t2.micro free instance for 1 year. Can get 1Gb RAM if you choose the HVM version of Bitnami.

Using the Bitnami HVM AMI

bitnami-lampstack-5.5.25-0-linux-ubuntu-14.04.1-x86_64-hvm

https://aws.amazon.com/marketplace/pp/B00NNZUY96/ref=srh_res_product_title?ie=UTF8&sr=0-8&qid=1439775790029

Use System Log under Actions in the AWS console to see the root password that is echoed at startup. This will allow you access to mysql to create the sendy database etc.

I created a new subdomain for sendy so the EC2 instance just handles the subscribe/unsubscribe web impressions and also sends the actual emails to SES when sendy runs. Sendy license worked just fine in new subdomain off my existing domain without needing to ask for a license update.

For easy of managing mysql, I installed adminer as I can’t stand phpmyadmin’s installation craziness anymore. (www.adminer.org)

This is what my crontab entries look like

*/5 * * * * /opt/bitnami/php/bin/php //opt/bitnami/apache2/htdocs/MYINSTALL/scheduled.php > /dev/null 2>&1

*/5 * * * * /opt/bitnami/php/bin/php //opt/bitnami/apache2/htdocs/MYINSTALL/autoresponders.php > /dev/null 2>&1

I just tar’red up my sendy install and used ssh copy to move it and adminer to export the DB and import it back again on the new site.

I underestimated how important a well functioning cron is to sendy – you have to have cron working well for sendy to work properly. EC2 gives you so much more freedom to control your server now compared to a locked down hosting environment. Mind you, you are responsible for the security of it all now.

It seems that I can send the maximum rate of around 14 a second, so campaigns go out quite quickly.

Compared to paying $30 a month to mailchimp, sendy and SES are a much better option. Especially for a low volume list – and for a year for free with AWS too.

It takes quite a bit of setting up to get sendy.co running and to configured Amazon SES, but it is so much cheaper than mailchimp for lists over 2,000 members.

[update:] not sure exactly why, but now the sendy installation is telling me that I can send 20 emails a second, so I updated the configuration and it can cope quite fine with the slightly higher send rate.

Screenshot 2016-07-11 19.52.36

copied the value to here

Screenshot 2016-07-11 19.54.10

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sendy SES on t2.micro AWS EC2 – cheap as chips!

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